Informal settlement workshops for the City of Johannesburg

  • December 09, 2013

In partnership with the national Department of Human Settlements National Upgrade Support Programme’s technical team and the City of Joburg, the HDA facilitated two workshops in Johannesburg in September and October.

About 30 officials who work in housing and play a role in projects aimed at upgrading informal settlements in the city’s various regions attended the first workshop, which was held on 11 and 12 September. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the challenges of informal settlements and highlight the policy intentions as well as share the lessons drawn from the upgrading programme.

An informal settlement in Protea south, Soweto. Photo courtesy of (H) Foto-gràfic

Steve Topham and Monty Narsoo from the national team started by presenting the policy context and other fiscal and financial policies relating to the upgrading programme.

Maki Thellane, HDA Senior Manager Informal Settlement Upgrading, presented the HDA perspective on informal settlement upgrading. The presentation was based on the work that the HDA has been doing in the North West, Limpopo and Northern Cape. Thellane highlighted the importance of the incremental upgrading approach if we are to achieve the scale, complexity and change needed to improve the quality of life of households in informal settlements.

The discussion and lessons from these projects demonstrated the
importance of:

  • Community participation
  • Working with informality
  • Approaching informal settlements as part of the city
  • Understanding that upgrading the settlements may be a lengthy process that might mean focusing on other community priorities such as providing basic services and an alternative form of tenure in the interim

Held on 9 and 10 October, the second workshop was an introductory one for councillors from the City of Johannesburg’s portfolio committee and was aimed at equipping political and community representatives with the relevant concepts, information and analysis to understand the need for adopting upgrading as an effective strategy to respond to the challenge of informal settlements.

Thando Madonsela, HDA Technical Expert: Informal Settlements, presented the HDA’s approach to informal settlements and offered key learnings and observations on the development of community upgrading plans from current activities undertaken in the Limpopo and North West provinces.

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