Citywide Slum Upgrading: Cape Town and Stellenbosch

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Focus Areas: Housing

This project is about upgrading informal settlements in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Activities included small upgrading projects such as water and sanitation, construction of a recreation area, re-blocking of settlements, and housing upgrades. 44 settlements have been enumerated. The shacks vary from 15 to 20 m2. The procedure followed was to upgrade shacks with new materials (of which the City of Cape Town supplied five sheets) as well as to reconfigure the settlement to open up spaces for services to be provided by the City of Cape Town. Both City of Cape Town and the Stellenbosch municipality have seen the benefits of reblocking as a viable option to upgrading informal settlements in situ. Stellenbosch locations include Langrug and Enkanini. Cape Town locations include Mshini Wam, where 156 shelters have been upgraded. Mshini Wam was the first priority upgrading site for the partnership with the City of Cape Town, the settlement having played a key role in demonstrating how re-blocking can be done and how space can be opened up for services to be provided (water, sanitation, electricity and access roads). Community members are in charge of demolition and construction of shacks and have their own supervising teams in place. The impact of people driving their own development plans, designs and implementation have attracted the attention of local, provincial, and national politicians and decision makers. In the re-blocking process, communities are divided into smaller 'clusters' which can be organised like cul de sacs or simply are closely located homes. 22 settlements were enumerated by CORC and ISN throughout the city of Cape Town, with the goal of re-blocking. A WASH facility was constructed through WPI in Langrug. Challenges for the project include savings – changing community perceptions of savings as for more than just the project as well as delays from municipalities. Uncoordinated city departments meant that the electricity department entered settlements and negatively affected re-blocking. Additionally, ISN leadership needs to be strengthened as the current core team of 5 is stretched and insufficient attention is being given to community mobilisaiton.

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Bunita Kohler (+27) 21 689 9408 View Website
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Project information updated: 20 March 2014

Project in depth

Detailed Information

The South African Alliance of Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) and uTshani, the national urban poor fund embarked on this project in 2012. MoUs were signed in July 2012 between the South African Alliance and the City of Cape Town and Stellenbosch Municipalities. The partnerships with Cape Town and Stellenbosch are the result of a concerted effort to invest in the networking of communities at the citywide level. This involved participation with various local officials, ISN, community members and CORC. In July 2012 the Alliance started engaging with the National Upgrade State Programme (NUSP). 
The Federation sees the introduction of savings beyond project contribution as a milestone for this project. This helps sustainability as funds are available for maintenance and day-to-day needs. Yet it has been a challenge to change community perceptions from seeing the value of savings as a means to be part of the project rather than as a long term answer to sustainable living and development. There are 25 savings groups. In Mshini Wam community savings have reached a 20% contribution from each family who will be receiving an upgraded shelter. Communities have been involved in the project through planning and management, increasing skills sets, and saving on maintenance and general. Funds have also been accessed through the relationship established with the Extended Public Work Program (EPWP). EPWP funds have been leveraged which provides a source of income for community members working in the project. Community members have also been trained in the reblocking process by iKhayalami.

Funding Information



Implementing Partners

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

uTshani Fund

The Rockefeller Foundation