The Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, has unveiled a global plan aimed at dealing with informal settlements and slums.
Speaking at the launch of the Global Action Plan Framework held at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria on Sunday, Kubayi said in South Africa, the apartheid spatial development of cities is characterized by segregation, and it continues to weigh heavily on the development pattern of the country.
She said the majority of South Africans, who are now urbanizing at a rapid rate, find themselves relegated to slums and informal settlements, as they fail to find decent dwelling in the cities that are unwelcoming for the poor.
“The slums and informal settlements are a breeding ground for social ills and the burden is often carried by women, girls and children.
“These settlements often lack basic services such as sanitation facilities, health, education and recreational facilities,” Kubayi added.
The Minister noted that South Africa embraces the UN Habitat III Pretoria Declaration on Informal Settlements Upgrading, signed in South Africa in 2016.
The declaration recognises that informal settlements must be addressed through an integrated approach to sustainable urban development, taking into account the national policy frameworks, legal, financial resources and spatial issues.
“In South Africa, we have learned that upgrading can have a profoundly positive effect on social cohesion, resilience, and safety, especially when there are targeted interventions to protect vulnerable women, youth, children, the elderly and the disabled.
“We have also learned that when we involve the community in their development, they respond and adapt more positively to change. Thus, our approach to Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme has evolved to entail extensive community participation and consultation in the provision of emergency basic services, permanent services, and security of tenure,” the Minister said.
The Global Action Plan Framework is intended to take coordination, collaboration, commitments and partnerships to the next level. It also provides a joint vision to inform actions framed by partnerships and is the basis for Member States to elevate commitments in the form of a resolution to be pledged at the UN-Habitat Assembly process.