Kanana Land, Housing, and InfrastructureBack To Projects
This project focuses on land tenure, provision of infrastructure for 48 houses, construction of a Building Information and Training (BIT) Centre, and 27 houses in Kanana settlement, Sedibeng in Gauteng province. Project activity was pre-financed by uTshani fund with costs recovered for the BIT Centre from the Department of Housing. Infrastructure costs were not recovered and beneficiaries took housing loans to pay for construction costs and were supposed to be repaid by the Department of Housing but was not. The Federation managed to use its links with Government to bring the Minister of Land Affairs to the settlement in 1995, for the launch of the BIT Centre and the digging of the foundations for the first house. This event focused on state engagement and saw positive outcomes in the Minister’s commitment to assist residents in securing title for their land. This relationship continued to strengthen with the Ministry of Land Affairs securing land for urban poor communities across the country - in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Johannesburg, and Durban. Both the Federation and the Department of Land Affairs made serious efforts to develop institutional arrangements, establishing protocol for redistribution of urban land. The Federation and Kanana community constructed an initial 10 houses to demonstrate their capacity for the project. Yet contracts were given to consultants to redesign the settlements - design changes amounting to the moving of 50 shacks built under electricity pylons. This meant that community members were not given jobs through the project. Despite impacts across the country through project activity it did not match the scale of need. Although positive steps include the use of political advocacy on part of the Alliance and strategic use of resources for housing, infrastructure, and public amenities to develop an entire formal neighbourhood for more than 2000 households. Communities in the Vaal region, Soweto, and Ekurhuleni got tenure security. Kanana is seen as a centre of learning for the Federation from which to replicate further projects, learnt through exchanges across the country. In 2006 Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu pledged 1000 subsidies per province to the Federation. Activity in response to this was strongest in Gauteng.
The project saw clear challenges in Government and local authority accepting community-led development as workable and cheap. There was conflict between residents wanting to build their own houses and councilors trying to impose contractor-driven solutions. This conflict stagnated development. There was also corruption within local authorities and finances were used for self-gain. Construction companies were able to take advantage of a subsidy-determined environment allowing private sector profit without risk. There was a clear campaign enacted by some politicians and private construction companies to undermine community-based development. This represents much of the stagnation and failure in housing delivery in the country. It has been reported that some politicians view democracy as a system that sees civil society forfeit its voice for the vote. Additionally, despite success in affecting redistributive dimensions of policy the Government did not complete their legal obligation.Location: Kanana, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
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Project information updated: 15 May 2014
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