The Kennedy Road informal settlement west of Durban is one of the townships earmarked for "de-densification". Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
The Kennedy Road informal settlement west of Durban is one of the townships earmarked for "de-densification". Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Planned de-densification of informal settlements must put human rights first - Amnesty International

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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Durban - Plans by Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, to "de-densify" some of the country's most crowded informal settlements must prioritise human rights, Amnesty International said on Tuesday. 

Sisulu announced on Monday that five areas has been identified to relocate people from high-density informal settlements in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19. The areas are Dunoon in the Western Cape, Duncan Village in the Eastern Cape, Kennedy Road in Durban, Stjwetla in Alexandra and Mooiplaas in Tshwane.

Amnesty International's executive director for South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, said the de-densification process must not lead to forced evictions and "must include human rights safeguards including genuine consultation with affected people".

"Relocation can be extremely disruptive and at a time when social networks and community support are key, governments must explore all alternatives to de-densification including equipping informal settlements with protective measures such as facilities in the vicinity where people can self-isolate if necessary.

Amnesty International has warned that plans by minister Lindiwe Sisulu to "de-densify" five of South Africa's most crowded informal settlements, should include prioritising of human rights. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

"The government must ensure that all those living in informal settlements as well as those who are relocated as part of the de-densification process are not cut off from their sources of livelihood and have immediate access to adequate housing, safe and reliable water and sanitation facilities, access to health care and food in line with national and international human rights laws and standards."

Government should prioritise human rights and "leave no one behind", said Mohamed. 

African News Agency (ANA) 

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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