By Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)
Twenty years after Joe Slovo’s historic Botshabelo Housing Accord, Lindiwe Sisulu, incumbent minister of Human Settlements, invited stakeholders in the human settlements sector to the National Human Settlements Indaba and Exhibition, which was held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 16-17 October 2014. This included the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) on behalf of the SA SDI Alliance and Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI),
Aims of the Indaba
The Indaba not only marked twenty years of South African democracy but also ten years after the first social contract was signed in 2004 during Sisulu’s first term as Minister of Housing from 2004-2009. The first social contract, similarly, brought together a number of stakeholders in the housing field to discuss and sign an agreement regarding co-operative and collaborative housing practice which would pursue the aims of the then newly launched housing policy: Breaking New Ground (BNG): A framework for Sustainable Housing Development. BNG largely focuses on “promoting the achievement of a non-racial, integrated society through the development of sustainable human settlements and quality housing”. Click here for more on BNG policy. Ten years later, however, the implementation of BNG has been only partially successful.
Against this backdrop, the 2014 Indaba aimed to:
- Review progress in the implementation of BNG
- Review the impact of the Social Contract for Rapid Housing signed in 2005
- Commit stakeholders to a second social contract towards 1.5million housing opportunities by 2019.
Day 1: Pledges towards a second social contract
Amidst actors such as the South African Banking Association, the Chamber of Mines, construction companies and trade union representatives (to mention but a few), SDI and the SA Alliance voiced the interests of the urban poor and advocated for an inclusion of the urban poor in planning, decision-making and implementation.
During the first day’s introductions, Jockin Arputham, SDI President and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, shared a message of support ahead of the minister’s keynote address which is outlined here. In the afternoon contributors pledged their commitments to the second social contract.
The SA SDI Alliance Pledge
In response to the Department’s larger orientation, Rose Molokoane, national co-ordinator of FEDUP, powerfully shared the pledge of the SA SDI Alliance:
FEDUP pledges to work with national, provincial and local government to deliver 1000 housing actions every month, improving the life of 1000 households. These actions will include
1) Organising communities through savings
2) Upgrading services such as water, sanitation, drainage, energy and roads
3) Building bigger and better houses
4) Advising the ministry on how to work with communities and organise them to be full stakeholders
We also commit to draw other organisations of the urban poor into the pledge as equal partners. We cannot do this alone. You cannot do this alone. You need our help. “We know the minister is serious about supporting us. What about the MEC’s? What about the local authorities? Are you?
View Rose Molokoane’s speech here:[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/110123793[/vimeo]
Day 2: Reviewing BNG projects & the second social contract
The second day of the Indaba concluded with presentations by several MECs on the successes and challenges of implementing BNG projects in four provinces, followed by the reading and signing of the second social contract. The specifc commitments of the second social contract are documented here.
Throughout the Indaba the minister repeatedly referred to the value and experience of SDI and the South African Alliance’s work in forming an inclusive atmosphere that engages the urban poor around their own housing development.
Over the last twenty years the SA SDI Alliance has developed an ongoing partnership with the Department which spans from the signing of the Botshabelo accord in 1994, participating in the 2005 national housing accord, the signing of the first social contract in 2005, the 2006 MoU pledge with the Department for subsidies of R285million with which FEDUP has built over 2000 houses to the Department’s most recent pledge of R10million in August 2014.
Throughout FEDUP’s partnership with the Department its core vision has always been: “Nothing for us without Us”. This message is also at the heart of FEDUP’s pledge. As the second social contract is implemented in the next five years, it is the collective vision, experience and practice of the urban poor that is crucial to a truly inclusive implementation not only of housing but also of incremental, in-situ informal settlement upgrading as a vital step towards attaining housing and tenure security.
“We cannot do this alone. You cannot do this alone. You need our help.”