Cape backyarders still without basic decent services, says anti-eviction campaigner

Backyard dwellers have been left in the dark about whether the City will be rolling out decent services by Christmas. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Backyard dwellers have been left in the dark about whether the City will be rolling out decent services by Christmas. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Reprinted from the Cape Argus, by Marvin Charles – 2020-12-01

At the beginning of the year the City said it had allocated R2.1 billion for formal housing and R4bn for informal settlements and backyard dwellers, but according to a number of communities not a cent was used.

Twalo said the poorest residents who stayed in backyards were most at risk of Covid-19 because they had no proper water or amenities.

“They have not prioritised backyarders, this government, and next year for local government elections they will make more empty promises.”

The City said that it had allocated about R2.1bn over the medium term for formal housing opportunities on suitable, well-located land, close to public transport, jobs, government services and public amenities, and more than R4bn has been allocated for formalising informal accommodation, such as informal settlements and backyard dwellings. At the time it was gearing up to implement its housing strategy, which at present is going through public participation.

According to a report by the City, rapid urbanisation is making it difficult to provide services to backyard dwellers. It also said it was unable to deliver services to some areas effectively as they were too densely populated.

Gatvol Capetonians’ Fadiel Adams said: “We reject the City’s provision for services because that makes backyarders’ living arrangements permanent. The City should rather use that money to provide land to the people.”

“They (the City) don’t feel accountable. People are being evicted and the lockdown and Covid, for them, has become a blessing,” said Adams.

Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “The City was the first city in South Africa to introduce basic services provision to backyarders. The backyarder programme entails the provision of water, sanitation, refuse and electricity services to backyarders residing on council-owned property, such as rental units, where it is possible to do so.

“At times the services are rejected by the residents or community leadership; space is also a challenge to install services, as the backyard dwellings are generally densely populated. Over the medium-term more than R4bn has been allocated to the upgrading of informal settlements which includes basic service provision to backyarders.”

However, Booi did not say how much of the budget announced at the beginning of the year has been spent.

Links added by SD Law

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers,  now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our attorneys on 0860995146 or if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

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