Court orders municipality to better Slovo Park
The 10,000 residents of Slovo Park informal settlement in Nancefield‚ south of Johannesburg‚ are one step closer having their homes upgraded to formal housing with services.
The Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday ordered the City of Johannesburg to apply for funding to make the upgrade happen‚ after Slovo Park's residents took the municipality to court.
The residents said in court papers that the municipality had been promising to upgrade Slovo Park for 20 years‚ but that nothing had come of it.
“Planning schemes were developed‚ environmental impact assessments were completed and steps were taken to formally declare Slovo Park a township. However‚ nothing was actually done‚” the residents' legal representatives‚ The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI)‚ said in a statement.
The residents accused the municipality of failing improve their living conditions while they “continue to be housed in wholly unhealthy and unsanitary conditions”.
Slovo Park‚ spanning 47‚5 hectares of public-owned land‚ has no electricity‚ no refuse removal services and all the residents share seven communal water standpipes. The average income of its residents was R1 500 per month in 2013.
The residents asked the court in 2014 to compel the municipality to get the ball rolling and apply for funding to make improvements to Slovo Park under the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme set out in the National Housing Code of 2009.
In response‚ the City of Johannesburg unveiled plans to evict the Slovo Park community and move it about 11km further away from the centre of Johannesburg to a housing development called Unaville in Lenasia South.
But the court set aside the municipality's plan to relocate the community and ordered it to apply to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements for a grant to upgrade Slovo Park.
After the judgment‚ Dan Moalahi of the Slovo Park Development Forum said: “The residents are very happy. This is what they've been waiting for.”
The municipality had yet not responded to a request for comment.