Thursday, August 06, 2009

Protests will continue - Zille

I missed this one in the news - but I think it is relevant to the ongoing protests and is quite revealing about some of the issues involved. All emphases are mine.

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 15:43
So-called "service delivery protests" will inevitably continue in the years ahead, Western Cape premier Helen Zille said on Friday.

Writing in her weekly newsletter, the Democratic Alliance leader said, like most other labels, the phrase "service delivery protests" often disguised more than it clarified.

Citing as an example this week's "service delivery protest" which turned violent in Masiphumelele near Kommetjie in the Peninsula, she said the protest was not about "poor service delivery" or "broken promises", but about demands that could not be met.

"The irony in Masiphumelele is that the protests are a direct result of the recent escalation of 'service delivery'.

"The injection of resources in a poor community inevitably generates conflict because not everyone can benefit equally," she said.

Masiphumelele started as a series of dispersed sporadic land invasions during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and about ten years ago, the about 1500 families were consolidated onto the present location, and given serviced sites of between 100 and 150 square meters each.

Some families opted for the free "RDP" houses on their sites, others chose to take the subsidy and build their own homes.

Before the subsidies were approved, each site owner allowed up to six additional families to squat on their site, and charged them rent.

Today, there were an additional 4000 families living as "backyarders" on the sites provided for 1500 families.

Many of the new residents were relatively recent migrants to Cape Town, and municipal authorities were unable to prevent this facilitated "invasion" on privately owned sites.

Now that the site owners had received their subsidies and could start building, they were evicting the "backyarders".

These hapless people were demanding additional land in the area, or accommodation in other local housing schemes, such as the new flats under construction in the innovative public/private partnership called Amakhaya Ngoku.

They had refused relocation to land elsewhere, and the dissatisfaction had created a vacuum for demagogues with political agendas.

Now the backyard "evictees" were invading the surrounding wetlands and nature reserve, but while a small portion of this land was being developed for some families, it was impossible to provide sufficient land to house everyone in the immediate area.

"The tragic irony is that, if the site owners had not received subsidies, and the building of the flats had not begun, the current violence would probably not have occurred," she said.

These kinds of problems were often inevitable when development started, because not everyone could benefit.

"In Masiphumelele it is simply impossible to accommodate everyone who wishes to be part of a formal housing development in the immediate area.

"Nor can we enable people to leapfrog the 400,000-long waiting list by invading land.

"We can anticipate the same situation when we begin to build flats in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.

"Despite years of negotiation and planning, it will be impossible to accommodate everyone on the site following repeated invasions."

The densities were currently so high that it was impossible even to put in rudimentary services, let alone build houses. This had repeatedly been explained to the residents, Zille said.

The major challenge was to find enough land to house those who had to be displaced from shack settlements as they were upgraded.

Another major challenge confronting "service delivery" was the extent of the vandalism of infrastructure.

Two thirds of the multi-million rand budget for services was spent on repairing vandalised infrastructure, rather than installing new services.

The city could literally deliver at three times the current rate if it were not for the sustained vandalism of existing services, ranging from dumping in drains, to the destruction of toilets and taps.

The challenge of upgrading the hundreds of unserviced shack settlements across South Africa was daunting.

"The size of the waiting list, and the scale of in-migration is just too great," Zille said.

"We must continue the home-building programme, spending every cent efficiently and effectively.

"We will also have to continue upgrading settlements, where they presently are, and find new land for those who must move to enable upgrading to occur.

"We must learn how to consult effectively, how to reach agreements that are as fair as possible, and how to deal with the resultant anger from those who refuse to accept the necessary compromises.

"This will inevitably result in 'service delivery protests' in the years ahead."

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...


Who do these useless fuckers think they are?

Give them a plot they own with a water connection and a sewer line and let them sort out the rest themselves.

Oh... I forgot. Useless. Everything has to be done for them.

And when it all falls down again through neglect and decay we can just get more by "benning eet weeth fiya end danssing".