South Africa will conquer its informal settlements problems, Sisulu tells the United Nations
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has assured the world it is possible for South Africa to eliminate informal settlements and provide an opportunity for every citizen to live in a decent house or have proper accommodation.
Minister Sisulu was speaking at the opening of the UN Habitat III conference in Pretoria which, will for two days, discuss how countries would tackle the problems of informal settlements and eradication of slums especially in urbanised areas.
Minister Sisulu told the conference that the South African Government was on course in dealing with the problem citing that since 1994, Government has provided at least 4.3-million housing opportunities which has benefited more than 20-million people.
She called on Government, the Private Sector especially financial institutions and communities to work together to devise better methods of dealing with the problems associated with urbanization such as homelessness and deepening of poverty. She said this was due to the migration of poor people who move into the cities looking for a better life and better opportunities for themselves and their families such as jobs and access to schools.
Minister Sisulu told the conference which is attended by at least 700 delegates from various countries around the globe that she was optimistic South Africa would conquer the problem. She said her confidence was bolstered during a visit to Algeria recently where she learnt from the Algerian Government that it had succeeded in eliminating informal settlements. The Algerians expected to get rid of the last shacks atleast by August this year, she said.
This was the first United Nations meeting dealing with slums and informal settlements since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with stand alone goal to make cities and human settlements, safe, resilient and sustainable.
“We as the South African Government remained very committed to the development of sustainable human settlements. We have emphasized informal settlements upgrading, and whatever possible in-situ as way to ensure to improve people lives where they live.
“We have created a national upgrading support programme to assist provincial and local governments where they may lack the capacity to implement the programme.”
South Africa is hosting the International UN Habitat III Conference which was opened today by Gauteng Premier David Makhura under the theme: “Leading Change in the City”. About 35 countries are attending the conference and there are 14 Ministers representing various governments.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, UN Habitat III Secretary –General Dr Jon Clos urged the governments to prioritise planning of human settlements because that brought value to lives of people and it improved peoples incomes. Clos added he was however happier that more people had been taken out of informal settlements in the last 15 years.
Issued by the Department of Human Settlements. For more information, please call Ndivhuwo Mabaya on 083 645 7838