A housing initiative is under way to reduce the number of people living in congested informal settlements, in a bid to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
Department of Human Settlements spokesperson McIntosh Polela said a team of senior officials is planning to move some residents to ease population density in some areas; in the plan currently in consultation phase.
There are 29 informal settlements which have been identified for the project, including in four metros in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
“Some residents might resist the move, but consultation with the communities is key to the success of this initiative. We are trying to convince them that it is in their interest to relocate. Historically, residents have resisted moving, hence the need for consultation, and moving them not far from where they live. We shall move them not far from their current places of residence,” Polela said.
He said the move will last longer than the current national lockdown, and government will start by providing temporary accommodation.
“The plan is to ease congestion, preferably for the long term and even permanently. For any emergency, it will make it easier to access settlements once congestion has been eased. The department is working with municipalities to co-ordinate the move, and avoid duplication,” Polela said.
He pointed out that municipalities are welcome to have their own plans. “But they need to have the budget and inform national government, so we don’t cater for communities already catered for. National government is overseeing the process, working with civil society organisations and municipalities,” Polela said.