Informal settlement upgrading in Cape Town's Hangberg : local government, urban governance and the 'Right to the City'

Fieuw, Walter Vincent Patrick (2011-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Integrating the poor into the fibre of the city is an important theme in housing and urban policies in post-apartheid South Africa. In other words, the need for making place for the ‘black’ majority in urban spaces previously reserved for ‘whites’ is premised on notions of equity and social change in a democratic political dispensation. However, these potentially transformative thrusts have been eclipsed by more conservative, neoliberal developmental trajectories. Failure to transform apartheid spatialities has worsened income distribution, intensified suburban sprawl, and increased the daily livelihood costs of the poor. After a decade of unintended consequences, new policy directives on informal settlements were initiated through Breaking New Ground (DoH 2004b). Local governments have nevertheless been slow to implement this new instrument despite more participatory, flexible, integrated and situational responsive policies contained therein. The City of Cape Town was one of the first applicants for Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (DoH 2004a, DHS 2009) funding in upgrading Hangberg’s informal settlement after effective lobbying by local civic Hout Bay Civic Association (HBCA) assisted by the Cape Town-based NGO, Development Action Group (DAG). However, in September 2010 the upgrading project came to a standstill when Metropolitan Police clashed violently with community members who allegedly broke a key agreement when building informal structures on the Sentinel Mountain firebreak. Using the case study research methodology, the study seeks to unravel the governance complexities elicited by this potentially progressive planning intervention. Four theoretical prisms are used to probe and investigate the primary case study (Hangberg) due to the different ways of ‘seeing and grappling’ and ‘narrating’ a complex tale. This is characterised by the dialectics of power and powerlessness; regime stabilisation and destabilisation; formalisation and informalisation; continuity and discontinuity. These prisms are: urban informality, urban governance, deepening democracy, and socio-spatial justice. By utilising these four theoretical prisms, the study found the Hangberg case to be atypical of development trajectories, on the one hand, and conforming to the enduring neoliberal governance logics, on the other. In the concluding chapter, the study critically engages prospects of realising post-apartheid spatialities by considering recent policy shifts and programmes with the potential of realising the poor’s ‘right to the city’.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ‘n Belangrike tema in post-apartheid behuising- en stedelike beleide is die integrasie van arm mense in die weefsel van die stad. Anders gestel, die nodigheid om plek te maak vir die ‘swart’ meerderheid in stedelike spasies wat voorheen vir ‘wittes’ uitgesonder is, is gebaseer op die uitgangspunt van regverdigheid en sosiale verandering in ‘n demokratiese bedeling. Hierdie potensiële hervormings-nosies is egter verduister deur meer konserwatiewe, neo-liberale ontwikkelings-trajekte. Die mislukte pogings om apartheids-ruimtes te omvorm, beteken dat inkomsteverdeling vererger is, wydstrekkende verstedeliking in meer intensiewe vorms voorkom, en die daaglikse lewenskoste van die armes verhoog het. Na ‘n dekade van onopsetlike gevolge is nuwe beleids-riglyne vir informele nedersettings voorgestel deur Breaking New Ground (DoH 2004a). Plaaslike owerhede was egter tot dusver traag om hierdie nuwe instrument te implementeer, ten spyte daarvan dat meer deelnemende, buigsame, geïntegreerde en situasioneel-aanpasbare beleide daarin vervat is. Die Stad Kaapstad was een van die eerste applikante vir Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (DoH 2004b, DHS 2009) befondsing om Hangberg se informele nedersetting te opgradeer, nadat effektiewe druk uitgeoefen is deur die Hout Bay Civic Association (HBCA), met ondersteuning van die NRO, Development Action Group (DAG), wat in Kaapstad gebaseer is. Maar in September 2010 het die opgradering-projek tot stilstand gekom nadat die Metropolitaanse Polisie gewelddadig met gemeenskapslede gebots het, omdat die gemeenskap na bewering ‘n belangrike ooreenkoms gebreek het deur informele strukture op die brandstrook te bou. Deur van die gevalstudie navorsing-metodologie gebruik te maak, beoog hierdie studie om die bestuurskompleksiteite te ontrafel wat deur hierdie potensiële omvormde beplannings-intervensie uitgelok is. Vier teoretiese prismas word gebruik om die primêre geval (Hangberg) te ondersoek in die lig van die verskillende maniere waarop hierdie komplekse narratief gesien kan word. Dit word gekenmerk deur die dialekte van mag en magteloosheid; stabilisasie en destabilisasie van die staatsbestel; formalisering en deformalisering; samehangendheid en onsamehangendheid. Die prismas is: stedelike informaliteit, stedelike bestuur, verdieping van demokrasie en sosio-ruimtelike regverdigheid. Deur van hierdie vier prismas gebruik te maak, wys die studie tot watter mate die Hangberg geval aan die een kant atipies tot ontwikkelings-trajekte is, en aan die ander kant konformeer tot die voortdurende neo-liberale bestuurslogika. In die slothoofstuk, is die studie krities bemoei met die vooruitsig om die post-apartheid-stad te realiseer deur huidige beleidsveranderinge en programme te ondersoek met die vergrootglas op hul potensiaal vir transformasie en om die armes se ‘reg tot die stad’ te bevorder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/17903
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