On Friday, SERI senior associate Michael Clark discussed our recent joint submission on informal settlements to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing on Valley FM.
In this discussion, Clark gives a general overview of informal settlement in South Africa, the challenges residents are faced with and policies that can be used upgrade informal settlements in order to improve living conditions within the settlements.
Statistics indicate that in 2016, approximately 1 in 7 households in South Africa lived in informal dwellings, this figure being higher in metropolitan areas, where 1 in every 5 households lived in an informal dwelling. Policies such as the Upgrading of Informal Settlement Programme (UISP) exist to address living conditions in informal settlements. The UISP provides for municipalities to apply for funding from provincial government to redevelop informal settlements by incrementally providing occupiers with infrastructure, tenure security, and access to basic services in an inclusive and participatory manner. The UISP policy is funded by Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG), which has unfortunately been consistently underspent by municipalities in the past five years.
Clark remarks “we hope that the UN Special Rapporteur finds the report helpful in developing her own report for the general assembly… and hopefully bring international attention to the lack of upgrading of informal settlements in South Africa”