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SA SDI Alliance Update from CORC

The South African alliance of community organizations and support NGOs affiliated to Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) has pioneered people-centered development initiatives by and of the poor since 1991. Acting as a core partner within the Alliance,  the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) provides us with an update on what they've been up to....

“The most important thing is to live our data. When we know our community statistics [settlement data] we can answer any questions about informal settlements in the city. In this way we can have an impact on how the country is run. Our data can be used as a tool of navigation. If the government wants to talk about anything, we have the most updated data."

In 2016 and 2017, the SA SDI Alliance collaborated with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements and the City of Cape Town, to conduct a Rapid Appraisal of 106 informal settlements in the province, and to enumerate 18 282 structures in 11 informal settlements in the Airport Precinct along the N2 highway in Cape Town. The Alliance is also collaborating with Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Muncipality to profile informal settlements in the metro.

In the Western Cape, the Rapid Appraisal and Airport Precinct Enumeration present  instances in which data collection by informal settlement residents directly informs government planning. Through this collaboration, the Alliance was able to adapt the scope of profiling and enumeration questionnaires used. Therefore, these yielded comprehensive and accurate data that is relevant to informal settlement residents and opened avenues for residents to engage government around “next steps” regarding plans that concern their settlement.

The data gathered in the Rapid Appraisal was designed to feed into the provincial Informal Settement Support Plan which is linked to budget allocations for human settlements. The task now is to follow up what kind of budget shifts have occurred in municipal business plans and to monitor whether and how these are impacting the settlements profiled and enumerated.

Due to the Rapid Appraisal and Airport Precinct Informal Settlements enumeration, the SA SDI Alliance, together with SDI is co-hosting the Cape Town leg of the Digital Impact World Tour with the Stanford Centre of Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS). The event will take place on 7 September 2017 in Langa, Cape Town and presents an opportunity to illustrate the value of community gathered data for collaboration between informal settlement residents and local governments to a wider audience. For HERE for more details. 



 TB community hall in TB section, Khayelitsha was succefuly completed on 24 June 2017 and the community had an inauguration event to launch the new structure and to show it to the surrounding communities.

“The building of a hall for us was very important because the hall that we used to have before was in a very poor condition, especially during the winter season. We can use this one to relocate people when they need temporary houses during the rain or if we experience fire in the settlement. We can also use it for community meetings” (Community leader).


 The open space project of TT, UT Litha park, UT and TB section in Khayelitsha is also entering into its final stages. In its initial phases the community negotiated for additional toilets, water taps and revamped drainage. Residents are now engaged in a process to develop their park to be used for multiple purposes including a play area for children.

“The reason the community wanted this project was because this place used to be an undesirable place. People used to be killed in this area. Even children were struggling to pass this area because it used to be a dangerous wetland. As a result we decided as the community to convince the City to allow this project because of the above reasons” (Community leader). 

The TB community hall and open space project represent building blocks of incremental upgrading in the broader area. They contribute to a changing view of public space as a starting point for informal settlement upgrading, an approach that is broader than primarily approaching informal settlement upgrading in terms of basic service provision.


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Sharing the common goal of promoting participatory, effective, accountable and pro-poor local governance, the network strives to provide an interface for civil society organisations to network and share information towards strengthening local democracy in South Africa.