IOL: Cape shacklands mushroom to 240

IOL: Cape shacklands mushroom to 240

The number of informal settlements in the City of Cape Town has mushroomed to 240, with more than half a million people crammed into about 110 000 self-made shacks.The number of shacks is a 10 percent increase since 2005.And of the 240 settlements, only 89 can be upgraded into formal housing.This is the stark reality of the challenge facing the city council as it tackles the housing backlog of almost 400 000 desperately needed homes.The city council is working on a plan of action to deliver the most-needed services to all the in-formal settlements within its municipal boundaries.

The integrated plan is being led by senior city housing official Hans Smit. "The plan will carry the details of every informal settlement, what needs to be upgraded, what can be upgraded, et cetera," he explained. Mayor Helen Zille said that next to every recorded priority needed for every informal settlement would be a number showing where that venue was in the queue for that service. "So we'll know exactly where we stand with every informal settlement," she said.Smit said he believed the research would show that the city would need a minimum of around 500 hectares of available land on which to build the backlog of houses.This figure was derived by looking at which informal settlements were on unsuitable ground, such as near electrical pylons, on flood plains or where the current density of shacks is more dense than any future formal housing.An example of this is Enkanini in eastern Khayelitsha, bordering Baden Powell Drive near Monwabisi. About 10 000 shacks have been erected there in the past two to three years but there will only be room to build 5 000 formal houses. Other major informal settlements are Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, Masiphumelele near Kommetjie and Crossroads.Smit said typical density for low-cost housing was 60 to 70 per hectare. A Cape Argus visit to Enkanini revealed desperate poverty and appalling living conditions.In response, the mayor said: "People do not understand the extent of the challenge."Zille alleged that Enkanini had come to be populated after a "mass emigration" from the Eastern Cape a few years ago and that the ANC had not stopped this because it was "useful electorally" as the new voters bolstered the ANC's support.The ANC's Garth Strachan described the situation as "shocking and unacceptable", but denied that the settlement was "somehow condoned in return for votes". "The appalling poverty and social degradation of Enkanini is mirrored in similar conditions in many other informal settlements in Cape Town."There should be multi-government co-operation to alleviate (their) plight," Strachan said.He said: "The provincial government's Growth and Development Strategy seeks to ensure that there is a province-wide plan to marshal resources at all three levels of government to systematically attack poverty and create a trajectory of sustainable growth in the province."

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