By Kwanele Sibanda (on behalf of CORC)
According to how the Informal Settlment Network (ISN) demarcates Midvaal informal settlements; Sporong informal settlement falls under cluster 3. Sporong is a relatively small informal settlement with 17 households and holds a population of about 70 people. The settlement falls under Boltonwold that is about 10kms out of Meyerton. It is one amongst a number of Midvaal informal settlements located in secluded farm areas with residents living in abject poverty.
The first tenant of Sporong is Ntate Tladi Mokgobo. He has lived in the settlement for over 50years. He settled on the land when he was given permission by the owner to construct a shack and pay a monthly rental fee. The steady growth was experienced as more farm workers from nearby farms needed accommodation. Currently, all tenants pay R100 per month to the landlord, for the informal structures they reside in (shacks). The R100 per month rental fee might be viewed as affordable; however the recent eviction of one of the tenants suggests that affordability is not for all. The provision of informal structures by a private landlord to rent coupled with no basic services was insidious. The first settler expressed an in depth understanding of the alliance and its approach to ameliorating challenges in informal settlements. He furthermore asserted that any community’s failure to cooperate with such interventions makes a folly act.
From each one of the three clusters of Midvaal, one settlement was chosen for a pilot project. Out of the profiling exercise, prioritized projects were identified. The main objective of undertaking the pilots is that of demonstrating to the Municipality what is of interest to the communities and their efforts with the aim of negotiating and scaling up relevant service delivery.
In the context of Sporong, the prioritized project was that of toilets. The settlement of about 70 residents has been using a nearby bush as their toilet and they describe the situation as demeaning. The two pit toilets that were put up by the Municipality got filled up years back and have never been drained. The sanitation challenge is one that is mirrored in informal settlements across Midvaal.
ISN and FEDUP’s intervention was that of engaging the community leaders and community at large with the aim of motivating them to start working towards self-sustenance. Upon verifying with the leaders that the toilet project is a priority as indicated in the profile; the project was then scheduled. Community participation and resources in form of tools were put to good use and the top structures of the full pit latrines were repositioned. The toilet project ran concurrently with the savings mobilization. The savings team was led by Rosy and Nompi. With the women of Sporong, the two aforementioned; shared the history of the SDI alliance, savings and how they have personally benefitted from being members of savings groups. The FedUp leaders currently await a date for the savings implementation.