MAPS Provocateur Briefing Report Forum on Development and Mitigation - Informality, Urban Poverty and Community Organisation

"Urbanisation over the last four decades has created highly segregated and unequal cities. Neoliberal policies, through international trade agreements, have weakened rural and agrarian societies and created a strong pull factor to the cities, leading to a shelter crisis within cities. The burgeoning of informal settlements and slums was the people’s response to survival in search of livelihoods and social services. In South Africa, the apartheid urban form has exacerbated poverty by the location of informal settlements on the urban edge rather than in the centre of the city. The traditional response has been to strengthen National, Provincial and Local government to address informal settlements through eradication of slums, and housing policy instruments like the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). The RDP programme, later renamed Breaking New Ground (BNG) provides housing for the poorest of poor earning under R3,500 per month. This top down developer driven implementation strategy combined with poor land selection has led to poorly built houses with a lack of ownership from the residents. More recently, the Upgrading of the Informal Settlements Programme (UISP) has adopted a more nuanced incremental and in-situ approach to development. However, even the UISP policy is being implemented on greenfield rather than brownfield sites resulting in relocation of residents to alternative land (potentially outside the city)."