Funds allocated to informal settlements

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By Proffesor Ndawonde

Ekurhuleni - The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has allocated millions of rands to improve the lives of people living in informal settlements.

Over R100 million has been allocated for the provision of basic services and emergency assistance to communities living in informal settlements for the 2009/10 financial year.

These funds will be used to provide one chemical toilet per 10 residents with full maintenance.

A further amount of R17 million will be provided for solid waste removal and R17.5 million will be allocated for the continuation of the rollout of access roads in informal settlements. These will also be annual transactions until the need has been dealt with.

The municipality's Executive Council recently approved R7.2 million to be put towards kick-starting the provision of access roads in all informal settlements in Ekurhuleni. It has also put a plan in place to ensure that this project is not just a once-off but a sustainable one.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Housing, Councilor Ndosi Shongwe said: "It is our responsibility as government to ensure that [people living in informal settlements] are also provided with some basic services as they form a huge part of our society."

There are a number of informal settlements which fall under the Ekurhuleni municipality. Most of them exist due to the fact that the region is an industrial hub and as a result many people leave their homes and provinces to come to Ekurhuleni to seek job opportunities.

Most of the settlements mushroomed in the past 10 to 15 years are subject to a range of environmental problems associated with lack of basic services, unhygienic conditions, fire risks, smoke pollution and health problems.

The municipality said in a statement that while it has a clear long term plan to deal with the eradication of informal settlements and provision of sustainable housing settlements, the council believed that something needed to be done about the plight of informal settlement residents while the long term strategy is being rolled out. - BuaNews