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The City of Cape Town says it is making steady progress in providing basic water, sanitation and electricity services to more than 135 600 households in 223 of the metropole's worst informal settlements.
Mzwandile Sokupa, manager of informal settlements for the City of Cape Town, said the provision of services to the "top 30" informal settlements from the list, including areas where residents had protested due to lack of services, "were almost complete".
He said council would finish the upgrades within the two-year period it set itself last May.
Sokupa said major challenges the council faced were not from residents but government red tape in the release of state-owned land.
"The major challenge has been land scarcity. We have constraints because we can't relocate people to put in place pipes, roads, firebreaks and other services," said Sokupa.
He said the city had been expecting pockets of land to be released by the Department of Public Works but this had not materialised.
Since the announcement of the housing plan, no new informal settlements have sprung up. "The city has adopted a zero-tolerance policy to land invasions and the mushrooming of informal settlements. There are pockets here and there of resistance but these pockets are very few," he said.
He admitted though that the council was unable to contain the growth of an informal settlement located between the Goodwood train station and the Grand West Casino.
Mayor Helen Zille said in a recent opinion piece published in Die Burger that most of the national government's housing budget should go towards the upgrading of informal settlements through the provision of service infrastructure.
She said the city council would continue concentrating on upgrading informal settlements by trying to get a special dispensation from the national government.
"But national and provincial government are determined to block this accreditation in order to prevent the city from removing red tape and making real progress."
She said the city council was determined to "remove this blockage in 2008".
Vusi Tshoshe, spokesperson for Housing and Local Government MEC Richard Dyantyi, fired back at Zille, saying her claims were a bluff which was "unfounded".
"The accreditation process pilot is for all metros and not designed only for Cape Town... There's not a single metro building houses," said Tshoshe.
Zille's spokesperson, Robert Macdonald, said municipalities were better equipped to deliver housing and said that the decision, in the case of Cape Town, could be politically motivated to ensure the ANC continued controlling housing delivery as a form political patronage.