ATT: Premier Nomvula Mokonyane
Gauteng Provincial Government Building,
30 Simmonds Street,
11 September 2012
We, the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) in Gauteng, place the following before the office of the Premier:
- The Gauteng Government must be the first Provincial Government to declare that it is an “informal settlement friendly Government” and that there shall be no evictions in the Province. Evictions destroy not only people’s shelters, but also people’s livelihoods, dignity and social support networks. Where evictions are absolutely unavoidable, relocations need to be done in consultation with the affected community and to suitable land, mutually identified by the people and the relevant authorities.
- Relocations must be an act of last resort. Instead Provincial Government must develop with us, the poor, proper master plans and specific settlement plans for the in-situ upgrading of communities.
- In order to achieve these objectives the Provincial Government must create a proper executable working relationship that create strong partnerships between the Organized Poor and local governments, so that the voices of the poor come from the poor themselves.
- There must be a formal partnership between Government and the Organized Poor, linked to a Memorandum of Understanding, and Joint Working Groups consisting of organized urban poor representatives, local and metropolitan government officials, support NGOs, other relevant stakeholders, and provincial and national government (when possible), that meet on a regular basis, a joint action plan for the upgrading of all Informal Settlements in the province and a Finance Facility to fund these initiatives.
- The Provincial Government must do away with consultants whose vision of city growth makes them anti-development in the living environments of the Urban Poor.
5. a) The establishment of a broad based representative forum of the urban poor as proposed by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) must create a space for a real partnership to emerge which will allow us, the Urban Poor, to speak for ourselves and to develop and plan as equal partners.
5. b) The Joint Working Group must be accountable to the broad based representative forum.
- The nature of engagement outlined in the proposed MoU between the organized poor and local government should be premised on frequent and meaningful engagements, such as monthly meetings which include multiple stakeholders and where the agendas of the poor are respected and acted upon. These political spaces must have the ability to influence resource allocation and can be integrated with formal participatory processes. It is recommended that a senior political figure with executive power such as the MMC and/or the Mayor chair the forums.
- This Joint Working Group must be allowed to formulate policies that:
- Enable the rapid delivery of interim and emergency services such as water, sanitation, electrification, waste removal and other infrastructure development priorities in Informal Settlements;
- Enable the creation of sustainable and integrated human settlements which integrates Informal Settlements with the formal cities, including transport, job and livelihood creation, and social and economic amenities;
- Develop a realistic, pragmatic and acceptable plan to jointly assess all Informal Settlements that are regarded as being on dolomitic soil and create proper and acceptable plans to rehabilitate the land;
- Ensure that the Provincial Government re-adopt the National Housing Policy supported by the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP), and by doing multiple practical upgrading pilot projects with the people that will help inform the National Government and NUSP how Informal Settlement Upgrading can be improved and scaled up;
- Train Communities and Government, including city Governments to work together with organized communities of the Urban Poor to develop and implement these projects;
- It is crucial that municipal officials, project managers, and field officers understand and come to grips with community processes. A continual learning environment must be created. This can occur through peer-to-peer learning exchanges between municipalities and poor communities.
- The Government should support the establishment of city-wide pro-poor finance facility co-managed by organized communities, supportive NGOs, and local and metropolitan governments. These facilities should be able to give rapid access to incremental initiatives identified by informal settlement communities.
- The local and metropolitan government and organized communities use the community based enumerations and household surveys, mapping, biometric and photographic information system as a primary instrument for development prioritization, planning and implementation, which is co-managed in Geographic Informal Systems (GIS) databases.
- We support the international launch of the World Urban Poor Forum (WUPF) which was recently inaugurated by Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and endorsed the Executive Director of the UN Habitat at the World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy held in September 2012.
We, the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) in Gauteng, expect to hear from the Premier’s office on the issues raised by no later than Wednesday 10 October 2012 in writing and arrangement for a meeting and discuss the details. Contact us at:
ISN Gauteng, 1st Floor, Arcacia Grove, Houghton Estate Office Park, 2 Osborn Road, Houghton, Johannesburg 2192 (tel: 011 483 0363).