Mtshini Wam’ reblocking project wins a ‘GOLD’ Impumelelo award

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“The projects awarded have been selected according to the country’s needs” Rhoda Kadalie

Mtshini Wam Reblocking project was one of the 33 finalists that have been selected out of the 80 shortlisted projects. The finalist are from all over South Africa in a wide range of sectors such as Health, HIV/AIDS, ECD, Education, Skills Training, Environment, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Social Welfare, Community Development, Food Security, Job Creation, and Animal Welfare.

“The awards are seen as a break away from prevalent bad stories in our country (South Africa) to sharing positive inspiring stories.  The social innovators are people that have realized that the government cannot act alone but needs a strong civil society to achieve resilient communities and innovation is core. They have changed someone’s reality through innovative ideas and technical solutions, models that have impacted positively on people’s lives to achieve better livelihood results”  Derek Hanekom,  Minister of Science and Technology.

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The Mshini Wam project is an action-orientated partnership between the community of Mtshini Wam, Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Ikhayalami, Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and the City of Cape Town, which resulted in the incremental and in-situ upgrading of Mtshini Wam informal settlement. This project illustrates active and capacitated citizenship, innovative bottom-up community based planning, an improved governance relationship between the community and the City of Cape Town and a new model for delivering services in informal settlements.

With support from CORC and ISN, the community is networked to groups of informal settlements in the city, and has been sharing their lessons and methodologies with other groups. Mtshini Wam has become a “learning center” for a rich dialogue on possibilities for upgrading in South African informal settlements.

Impact of the project:

The project has been hailed as a success by multiple stakeholders such as the National Department of Human Settlements (Ms. Zoe Kota-Fredericks’ visit in March 2012), delegates at the Isandla Institute’s National Dialogue on Informal Settlement Upgrading (attended by the National Upgrading Support Programme), the Mayor of Cape Town Ms. Patricia de Lille, a visit by five African cities via the Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) in March 2013, and other influential figures in the City of Cape Town, such as Mayco members and executive directors.

Based on the work of ISN and CORC, the  City of Cape Town adopted the re-blocking policy on 5 November 2013 after an announcement by Councillor Thandeka Gqada, Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, City of Cape Town. Reblocking is now in the public sphere. The policy space now exists and the City can, after more than three years of lobbying and demonstrating innovative alternatives, commit resources to the projects and ensure departmental alignment.

  Gold Sponsorship

The Gold Prize from the Impumelelo innovation center will assists to further build the case of a people-centred approach in informal settlement upgrading. Such recognition will go a long way in supporting the case for such an empowering approach to informal settlement upgrading and improved governance.

Professor Jonathan Jansen said that the award winners are seen as givers to the nation and people give because:

a) There are many takers in the country – stealing in the country has manifested from the highest level of leadership to ordinary people, they steal what belongs to the poor b) others give because they have been given gifts and usually people who give are not rich but they are ordinary people c) some are consequential who believe that there is a true blessing in giving.

The Impumelelo Social Innovation Center is a body of knowledge that assist in celebrating ‘good things that have happen and continue to happen’, it unearths innovative projects that 1) assist in service delivery 2) influence government and private sector mindset 3) assist in raising funds for award winners to continue pushing the developmental agenda.

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