Human Settlements Minister Sexwale is listening to your cry
4 Aug 2009
Since his appointment, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has been very concerned about conditions in some of the 2 000 informal settlements that exist across the country and has set time aside to embark upon a listening process to confirm the true situation. These visits will be organised in close consultation with provincial MECs responsible for human settlements and with local government.
The Minister's national programme kick-started in Diepsloot outside Johannesburg, yesterday and it is the first in series of visits to settlements in the major metropolitan areas to listen of first hand from residents about their living conditions. Sexwale's choice of Diepsloot was in response to the violent protests that erupted two weeks ago when angry residents of the densely populated informal settlement home to an estimated 150 000 people torched a police vehicle, stoned cars and burnt tyres in the streets after being told they would be shifted to Adelaide, another settlement nearby.
The visit to Diepsloot is the first of many and the Minister's findings will be presented to Cabinet soon in the form of a report. There will also be discussions with other government departments in particular, the Departments of Co-operative Governance, Rural Development and Social Welfare to ensure a holistic response.
Although many shack dwellers who met Sexwale on Monday told him they did not want to move to another area, he was adamant that they would have to relocate because their shacks were built on top of a dangerous water pipeline.
Sexwale, himself born in an informal settlement in Soweto appealed to community leaders, including taxi associations, religious leaders and business owners, whom he met in Diepsloot on Monday to be patient with the government's roll-out of low-cost houses and services.
He told community leaders he wanted to see people's living conditions and talk to residents him so that the government could come up with a better plan for housing.
Minister Sexwale regards the upgrading of informal settlements as a priority, and these visits are part of a process of confirming the facts, rather than relying on hearsay.
Issued by: Department of Housing, Gauteng Provincial Government
4 August 2009
Source: Department of Housing, Gauteng Provincial Government (http://www.housing.gpg.gov.za/)
Issued by: Gauteng Provincial Government
4 Aug 2009
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