EDITORIAL | Our challenge to government: get your housing in order
We’re sorry, but ‘empowering’ people to continue to live in poverty, only in better, self-built shacks, doesn’t cut it
The Western Cape government last week promoted an initiative called the “Better Living Challenge” (https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/better-living-challenge-blc) to address a growing housing backlog. In essence, the provincial government is acknowledging it would be near impossible to continue building and supplying RDP houses to catch up with a 400,000 backlog in Cape Town. In return, however, the government undertakes to provide residents in informal settlements with “serviced sites”, which in any functioning democracy should be a given.
“The growing housing backlog ... due to significant population growth has resulted in a shift in national government policy from the provision of RDP houses as the principle solution, to an incremental approach that supports the provision of serviced sites,” it explained in a carefully worded statement. “Practically ... the majority of people on the housing list will have to wait a very long time for a top structure.”..