Remarks by the Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi at the launch of the Global Action Plan Framework on Informal Settlements and Slums, CSIR, Pretoria, 16 October 2022
UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif;
Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development in Uganda Hon. Obiga Kania;
Minister of Works and Housing in Ghana, Hon Francis Asenso-Boakye Minister of Urbanism and Housing of DRC Hon Mbayu Muabilu;
Deputy Minister of Malawi Hon Deus Gumba;
MEC Lebogang Maile, Dukwana, MEC Lusithi, MEC, Miga Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Cllr Dada Morero;
Members of parliament;
Panel of Experts;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am honoured to welcome you to South Africa and to the launch of the Global Action Plan framework on informal settlements and slums in this historic conference on behalf of our Government and her people. Our government and the people of South Africa are very pleased that together, as countries of the world, we have gathered to take a bold step towards achieving sustainable development goals in particular Target 11.1 of the SDGs. This launch will give impetus to a political engagement process towards a joint Global Action Plan Framework for Transforming Informal Settlements and Slums globally.
The Global Action Plan Framework Initiative is anchored in the Slums and Informal Settlements Network (SiSnet) launched during Habitat III in Quito as part of the global Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), initiated by the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), financed by the European Commission and implemented by UN-Habitat.
The intention of the Global Action Plan Framework is to take coordination, collaboration, commitments and partnerships to the next level. It consolidates and amplifies efforts for accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) in the Decade of Action. It provides a joint vision to inform actions framed by partnerships and is the basis for Member States to elevate commitments in form of a resolution to be pledged in the UN-Habitat Assembly process.
For as long as we live in a world characterised by inequality, inequity and exclusion, we should never tire in our efforts to relegate all these to the dustbin of history. Now These social and economic injustices are e sharply expressed than in the slums and informal settlements. This means that the implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda is a necessary step towards the achievement of the global development agenda.
In our country, the apartheid spatial development our cities which is characterised by segregation continues to weigh heavily on the development pattern of our country. The majority of South Africans who are now urbanizing at a rapid rate find themselves relegated to slums and informal settlements as the fail to find decent dwelling in our cities that are unwelcoming for the poor.
The slums and informal settlements are a breeding ground for social ills the burden which is often carried by women, girls and children. These settlements often lack basic services such as sanitation facilities, health, education and recreational facilities. The UN Habitat III Pretoria Declaration on Informal Settlement Upgrading signed in South Africa in 2016, recognizes that informal settlements challenge must be tackled through an integrated approach to sustainable urban development taking into account the national policy frameworks, legal, financial resources and spatial issues. Our country has embraced these approach.
Thus as a country, through an inclusive process, we have made tremendous progress in implementing this policy and our approach includes the following steps which I would like to share with you:
1. We started by identifying and verifying informal settlements in the country gathering real-time data, monitoring the growth patterns, so that we could get a better understanding, and planning for, the extent of the challenge we are faced with. Presently, informal settlements are estimated to over 2600 informal settlements and counting accommodating about 1.4 million households according to Statistics South Africa estimates.
2. We completed a baseline assessment of informal settlements whereby we defined variables for monitoring and evaluating informal settlements.
3. We have established Provincial Forums on Upgrading of Informal Settlements in all 9 provinces of the country. The forums facilitate alignment of upgrading processes with all municipalities and monitor progress in implementation, as well as knowledge exchange with various stakeholders in each province.
4. To entrench an understanding of informal settlement upgrading among practitioners and public representatives we have developed a 13 module course called Introduction to Informal Settlement Upgrading that unpacks the critical processes required for undertaking informal settlement upgrading.
5. We are rolling out an intensive capacity development programme to all our provinces, municipalities, civic organisations and communities. Furthermore, we have undertaken activities to ensure that the modules are accredited and incorporated into our tertiary institutions.
6. The majority of our informal settlements have access to services. Moreover, municipalities have implemented various methods for security of tenure, such as a Letter of Occupation to informal settlement dwellers. This affords the dweller the opportunity to engage in economic activity and entrenches government’s commitment to dignity for all South Africans.
7. We have established our Community of Practice to engage with our civic organisations and academia and share good practice, exchange knowledge, and disseminate information.
As you are well aware, the time for us to achieve the sustainable development goals is quickly running out, and I have shared these actions with you to encourage knowledge sharing to help us accelerate our pace of implementation. For us to achieve our commitments, it is important for each country to share experiences in the implementation of these policies.
Indeed, the time remaining for us to be able to meet our goals demands that we scale up on our implementation taking into consideration the following critical actions:
• Accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and the NUA “leaving no one behind” and targeting “the most vulnerable first”
• Transform from exclusion, inequality and poverty to our desired destination with equality for all.
• Enable diversity to prosper and empower governments and all of society to transform.
• “Make the Decade of Action go live” for inclusive development of cities.
We, in South Africa, have learned that upgrading can have a profoundly positive effect on social cohesion, resilience, and safety, especially when there are targeted interventions to protect vulnerable women, youth, children, the elderly and the disabled. We have also learned that when we involve the community in their development, they respond and adapt more positively to change. Thus our approach to Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme has evolved to entail extensive community participation and consultation in the provision of emergency basic services, permanent services, and security of tenure.
We acknowledge, however, that with the rapidly rising urbanization our government is still battling to keep pace with the demand, and we are ever more aware that we need to create more partnerships to respond to the needs of nearly 1.4 million households living in informal settlements across South Africa. It is a national priority to respond systematically to the increasing rate of urbanization. Thus the upgrading of 2600 informal settlements is a central objective of our urban management strategy.
For sustainability, the upgrading of slums and informal settlements will have to be coupled with the creation of economic opportunities for the affected population. Speaking at the launch of the “Cities Without Slums Action Plan” at the inaugural meeting of the Cities Alliance in Berlin, Germany in 1999, former president Nelson Mandela said that “Poverty reduction and upgrading of informal settlements will not be possible unless cities are productive and efficient, and capable of providing the poor with economic opportunities to build their assets and incomes.”
The launch of the Global Action Plan Framework on Informal Settlements and Slums is a great milestone in the preparation for the development and tabling of a Global Action Plan at the United Nations’ Habitat Assembly in 2023.
The Global Action Plan Framework on Informal Settlements and Slums is a necessary tool for the world to achieve SDG Target 11.1 which is to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums”.
I thank you!
Source: Government of South Africa