Media: Mabuyakhulu misrepresents policy, legislation

4 03 2009

March 02, 2009 Edition 1
Source: The Mercury

We welcome MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu’s public commitment to national policy and legislation, and indeed to temporary shelter being time-bound (The Mercury, February 9).

However, he misrepresents applicable policy and programmes, and this must be corrected.
Chapter 13 (the Informal Settlement Upgrading Programme) does not provide for relocation to temporary shelter, it only provides for “permanent relocation nearby”.

Under this programme, any amount of funding can be applied and motivated for, for the purchase of land for permanent relocation nearby.

However, the programme seeks to minimise relocation, and explicitly discourages creating a “relocation burden”.

Only Chapter 12 (Housing Assistance in Emergency Housing Situation) allows, under quite restricted circumstances, “relocation to temporary settlement”.

Slum clearance, pioneered by KwaZulu-Natal in 2000 and later adopted by the national government through its drive to eradicate informal settlements by 2014 (promoted throughout South Africa through the country’s commitment to 2010) is an approach that is not supported by national legislation or policy.

The latter sets out to achieve slum elimination only indirectly, by working towards the conditions that make it unnecessary for slums to form or exist.

As with KZN’s 2007 Slum Elimination and Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Act, the Slum Clearance Programme in 2000 was a case of provincial bravery in reverting to terminology and approaches used by the apartheid state.

Both the programme and the act have blinded politicians in the national government to their constitutional obligations.

Finally, on the size of housing, it is inaccurate to suggest that matchbox township houses were for migrant workers only.

They were explicitly designed as four-roomed houses for families; a man typically had to be married to access one. While they certainly did not provide urban security at first, many were eventually sold to families.

Along with countless RDP beneficiaries, we ask why they were bigger than RDP houses.

Marie Huchzermeyer & Mark Hunter

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