During the course of FY17 HFH SA, in collaboration with the Isandla Institute and the Palmer Development Group was contracted by the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) to develop a strategic guiding document to outline a sector-wide approach to informal settlement upgrading and settlement formation. The resulting document, called the Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP) provides guidance to provincial departments and local municipalities (as the primary implementers of settlement upgrading initiatives) in the Western Cape.
The ISSP was formally adopted by the Western Cape government early in 2017, and the DoHS thereafter initiated a process to roll-out the ISSP in 60 informal settlements in the rural municipalities of the Western Cape. Coupled with this, the DoHS put out a call for all interested NGOs in the region to register on the provincial services database to be able to participate in the roll-out of the informal settlement support programme (ISSP). In response to this call HFH SA took the necessary steps to register and was formally accepted as one of eight NGO’s to act as the Department’s service providers in the roll-out of the ISSP early in 2018.
Following this registration process, the DoHS initiated a series of meetings with representatives of the eight NGO’s that were registered to discuss timelines for selecting municipalities, planning interventions and deploying the service providers (NGO’s) in a manner that is aligned with the ISSP. Habitat SA has been represented at each of these meetings and contributed to the development of the rolling-out process. Each of the eight NGO’s has been allocated to a number of rural municipalities in the Western Cape and over the first few months of 2018 an intensive consulting process between the NGO’s and the DoHS took place to discuss and determine the best way to successfully roll-out the ISSP in the informal settlements of the selected municipalities.
The objectives of the ISSP
The ISSP document contains a set of guiding principles. These guiding principles characterise the new orientation, and direct the objectives, strategies and actions required for the rolling-out of the ISSP:
- Advance health, safety and dignity: Support and enable communities in improving their quality of life in a manner that instils self-respect and pride.
- Encourage in-situ incremental development: In as much as possible, improve living conditions and tenure security where people reside and use a participator neighbourhood development planning process to guide phased development.
- Scale up current interventions: Current programmes must benefit a larger number of informal settlements and rapidly improve living conditions.
- Minimise relocations: Avoid disruptions to existing community networks and relocate only those households located in high risk and hazardous areas.
- Accept that land has social value: Look beyond the economic value of land in ways to benefit the land investments for the whole society and in the public interest.
- Involve and invest in people: Support community agency and improve socioeconomic and political rights.
- Adopt a systems- and municipal-wide perspective on informal settlements: Planning must be undertaken with a long-term strategic perspective linked to integrating settlements into the spatial fabric of the municipality, in a manner that enables municipalities to plan in advance for land development, and in a manner which does not compromise the principles of spatial justice, spatial sustainability, efficiency, resilience and good administration.
- Plan for climate change, sustainability and resource efficiency: Reduce strain on natural resources and incorporate climate change adaptation and resilience in all upgrading interventions.
- Implement and act through partnerships: Enable community groups, civil society organisations and private sector institutions to co-create and support neighbourhood development initiatives.
- Incentivise good practice and build on lessons learnt: Develop a robust monitoring and evaluation framework and learn from mistakes of the past, while recognizing and replicating successful interventions.
- Safeguard the rights of vulnerable groups: Ensure that the rights of all, and in particular socially marginalised groups, are respected and protected.
- Utilise progressive instruments: Use rights-based instruments to secure tenure and improve the quality of life in informal settlements.
- Encourage co-financing: Use public funds wisely and encourage further investment from the private sector, civil society and households living in informal settlements.
- Recognise the contextual realities: Recognise that all settlements have unique characteristics and potential and require a contextually specific approach.
How the ISSP aims to improve people’s housing conditions
The objective of upgrading is to improve the quality of life of people in informal settlements through an array of interventions which include (but is not limited to) improving access to land, providing secure tenure along a continuum of rights, providing basic services and social infrastructure, stimulating economic opportunities, finance and incremental housing opportunities. Since the ISSP is focussed on outlining a progressive and transformative approach to upgrading informal settlements in the Western Cape, this strategy will have a direct impact on people’s housing conditions.
The vision encapsulated by the ISSP is that by 2030, informal settlements in the Western Cape Province are transformed into liveable, integrated, vibrant and resilient neighbourhoods. The goal is to ensure that marginalised people will have a better and secure place of residence by 2030:
- In liveable neighbourhoods that offer basic conditions that allow people to inhabit the settlement with dignity and security;
- In integrated neighbourhoods that offer a wide variety of public services to people from different social, cultural and economic backgrounds, who see themselves and their neighbours as part of the same neighbourhood;
- In vibrant neighbourhoods that have a thriving socio-economic environment, underpinned by good quality urban infrastructure, public space and services; and
- In resilient neighbourhoods that are able to withstand natural shocks and stresses, such as flooding and climate change.
Langeberg Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP)
In partnership with Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (DoHS), Habitat for Humanity South Africa (HFH SA) has been appointed to facilitate the participatory development process in Boekenhoutskloof and Mandela Square, Langeberg, Western Cape.
As Community Resource Officer, HFH SA is required to ensure that the Langeberg community is involved in very step of their development from project design to implementation and sustainability. HFH SA will facilitate the establishment of the community based participatory planning with these two communities, the capacitation of the elected leadership structures and facilitation of social scoping process.
Objective 1: HFH SA will facilitate the election of leadership structure(s) and their capacitation
Objective 2: HFH SA will facilitate the mechanism that will promote community based participatory planning.
Objective 3: HFH SA will facilitate the community profiling process
Objective 4: HFH SA will facilitate the establishment of a Community Registration Office and capacitate a municipality and leadership structure to manage the centre.
Alignment to Habitat SA’s strategic vision
HFH SA’s strategic vision is based on a People-Public-Private partnership approach to its overall programmatic activities. This approach is premised on the need to build a nation of active citizens who can work collaboratively with communities in both formal and informal settlements to address shelter poverty. The approach recognises the principles of people-centred development, which places the community at the centre of development to ensure ownership in the development process. This means that the people must be able to drive any intervention to improve their access to affordable shelter.
In terms of Habitat SA rolling-out the ISSP in the Langeberg Municipality, it is clear that Habitat SA’s strategic goals are well aligned with the objectives of the ISSP.