Settlers put Burundi on the map of Cape Town

By Sothembela Siyo, Informal Settlement Network (ISN)

Plakker Areas Dvally,Jamestown,Cloetesville  10.03.2011 059

Burundi informal settlement is located in the Western Cape, situated between the informal settlement of the Eastern region and different places of Mfuleni. The nearest town is Kuilsriver, and the formal settlement is Extension 4, Ward number 108. The settlement is 13 years old. The people do not have title to the land on which their shacks are built. Burundi informal settlement has a total population of about 4 500 people. No more shacks are allowed to be built, according to the city’s stipulations, otherwise they would be evicted.

This amounts to 1 900 families whereby there are 1 600 shacks in Burundi .The settlement has 53 toilets and 18 water taps. The reason the community felt profiling is needed, was that the Burundi informal settlement was not known to the City of Cape Town, meaning it was not on the municipal’s database. Burundi joined the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), which deals with and addresses the basic needs of the shack dwellers.

After the application for profiling had been approved by ISN, a profiling team was sent to take all information related to the counting of toilets (bucket, chemical or flushed). The profiling team also took details of the history of Burundi, how it came about to be what it is today. The ISN team used an already compiled questionnaire that guides with questions such as, “To whom does the land you occupy belong to?” and “How far away is the settlement to the CBD (Central Business District)?”.

This kind of information assists the municipality, in terms of planned upgrading or development, so that it is well equipped and knows exactly where to start. Profiling is conducted by a few members of the committee, the community members and three ISN members who know all about profiling. Everyone participates and becomes part of the process. At the end of the profiling questionnaire, there is a page where all details of the three active committee members to be compiled, so as to contact them whenever there are more activities to be done at a community.

The process of profiling so far proved to be successful, for there are 220 informal settlements captured to date (the number is prone to increase, since there have been more communities identified, including the backyard network). The only challenge faced by the profiling team is when a committee member  refuses to disclose information of the community. In this case the team suggests to arrange a meeting with the whole community to clear up the issue.