Upgrading of informal settlements crucial for development

The Informal settlement upgrading programme continues to play a pivotal role to create a sustainable human settlements and restoring the dignity of eligible households who still reside in slums in Mpumalanga. This sentiments emerged at the recent virtual Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP) quarterly meeting.

Acting Forum Chairperson, Mr Charlotte Poulten stated that the Department has ring-fenced R162 million solely for this purpose to help bring about estimable new upgrades in many underlying informal settlements in the province. “We have agreed at provincial level that we will work close with municipalities to implement the adopted strategies we have all formulated to boost the improvement of informal settlements,” she said.

However, she admitted that regardless of some many assessable progress they have made as a province, there are still some few challenges along the processes with regards to financial constraints. She pleaded that despite these challenges, it is appropriate that all stakeholders including municipalities must have management processes and strategies in this regard in line with their Integrated Development Plans (IDP) to continue with the baton and work with the little they have.

The forum recorded a number of improvements made in the province including servicing of sites and the acquisition of land in various districts which assisted to start with the implementation of projects in various municipalities. Ms Silindile Mabuyakhulu from the Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality restated that with the current pace and reputation the team is working at, the three remaining townships could be done before the end of the current financial year.

“With so much determination and the efforts all role players are putting in I am quite certain that it is just a matter of time before we are done with the establishment of the other three earmarked townships,” confidently said Mabuyakhulu urging all stakeholders not to drop the ball despite the current challenges of Covid-19 and its deadly implications on work and the carrying out of projects.

The Department has thus far utilised 40 percent (R25 million) of its allocated budget for township establishment and has been able to establish 16 approvals of the planned 23 since the last financial year. Poulten concluded by commended all stakeholders including municipalities for their commitment and corporation towards this great achievement. Some municipalities still raised concerns about land invasion, charging that it perpetually continues to impede proper planning. Launched in 2016, the provincial forum aims to tackle the ever increasing informal settlements and is supported by national.

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