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City of Cape Town’s budget for informal settlements’ upgrade an insult, ANC says

Of the human settlement department’s total budget of R2.8 billion, the City had set aside R370 million for upgrading projects in informal settlements. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Of the human settlement department’s total budget of R2.8 billion, the City had set aside R370 million for upgrading projects in informal settlements. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 21, 2022

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Cape Town - Following the recent fire in the Joe Slovo settlement and in light of the continuous informal settlement infernos coupled with a lack of service delivery, the City has been criticised for allocating an “inadequate” budget for the upgrade of informal settlements.

ANC city council chief Whip Xolani Sotashe has taken a swipe at the City’s allocation of informal settlement upgrading projects in its 2022/23 draft budget, describing it as a “mess”.

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Of the human settlement department’s total budget of R2.8 billion, the City had set aside R370 million for upgrading projects in informal settlements.

Sotashe, who committed to submitting a proposal to the City for to reconsider the budget, called for a deliberate programme of action for informal settlements.

“Our approach currently as a City is reactive, we don't avert and plan for these incidents. Numerous informal settlements have experienced devastating fires on more than one occasion including Dunoon and Imizamo Yethu but we apply the same strategy expecting different results.

“Part of what we need to do is to decant these informal settlements because currently they have no access roads and when disasters happen something happens, emergency services can't get in,” he said.

Sotashe said in Joe Slovo, fire victims had already rebuilt their shacks with no guidance from the City. He said this was a lost opportunity for the City to decant the area.

Sotashe also warned the City about not recognising the newly established informal settlements in the metro.

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Social Justice Coalition community organiser Bonga Zamisa said the state of basic service delivery had deteriorated and had exposed community members to crime, especially women and children.

EFF chief whip Mzubanzi Dambuza said with more than 835 informal settlements in the city, the allocation was inadequate.

“The challenges of these informal settlements vary, there are many still looking for provision of the most basic services like toilets, water, sanitation, electricity. The City should ensure that it provides an adequate budget for informal settlements.

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“Especially after Hellen Zille, who dared to attack black people, again, after calling them refugees now comes out to say they are in better conditions. This allocation is a joke, does not reflect the needs of our people,” Dambuza said.

Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the City was unable to cater to unplanned settlements as recognised informal settlements are prioritised based on available resources.

“Assessments of all unlawfully occupied areas are being undertaken and will continue to be undertaken across the metro. The majority of the settlements have been established on unsuitable land or land with great constraints for service delivery and land where the installation of bulk services for servicing was never planned,” he said.

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The City was committed to providing services, but this must be possible and be done in a planned manner.

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Cape Argus

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