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Citys historic move to advance informal settlements
​Sealing a deal that will realise a better future for people residing
in informal settlements is Mayor Zandile Gumede during the
signing of a memorandum of agreement with Shack Dwellers
International Alliance. Picture: ZAMANTUNGWA GUMEDE

IN BUILDING sustainable and integrated human settlements as well as viable communities, the Municipality has created an informal settlement upgrading programme to deliver basic services like electrification, safe drinking water, sanitation, showers, improved roads and footpath access.

This was revealed by Mayor Zandile Gumede after officially signing a historic memorandum of agreement with Shack Dwellers International Alliance (SDIA) on 4 September at City Hall. The aim of the partnership is to improve informal settlements and encourage communities to participate in their own development. “By next year January, we will have good stories to tell and show as a result of this partnership. We don’t just sign partnerships but we action our plans. In the past two months, we have been rolling-out electrification projects in a number of informal settlements,” said Mayor Gumede.

In addition, Mayor said to reduce the overcrowding in informal settlements, a housing project through provincial government and SDIA will be hitting ground soon. She said while they are proud of providing over 200 000 houses in eThekwini region since the dawn of democracy, they also acknowledge the fact that too many of City’s residents still live in informal settlements hence this partnership is critical to fast-track service delivery. Mayor Gumede said she wants people residing in informal settlements to live a normal life like any other residents, have access to social amenities and economic opportunities. “This is an important milestone in the history of our City as we can never achieve our vision of becoming Africa’s most caring and livable City alone. It is through strategic partnerships like this that we hope to draw in the greatest resource we have to improve the living conditions of our most vulnerable residents,” she said.

The Mayor vowed to be at the forefront of this partnership to ensure accelerated interventions, saying she fully understands the pain of shack dwellers caused by the poor living conditions. These include overcrowding, high incidence of disasters including fires, floods and landslides; poor access to basic services and communicable disease. She added that residents of informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of crime and are likely to bear the highest cost of climate change. Anna Mkhabela, 61, of SDIA said people living in informal settlements are also entitled to a better life. “We are happy to see the culmination of the long process of engagements and negotiations come to fruition.”

nonduduzo.ngcongo@durban.gov.za

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