The Witsand Human Settlement Project : a participatory process to establish a sustainable human settlement

Magida, Litha Lincoln (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa is experiencing a number of challenges, which have led to developmental backlogs, housing shortages and growing informal areas. At the same time, the country is also experiencing sustainability problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and resource shortages. Strategies to address these challenges do not always provide adequate space for participatory structures as suggested by Local Agenda 21. Social sustainability (the ability of communities to collaborate in order to promote sustainability) is a fundamental component of sustainable development. An essential ingredient of social sustainability is to maintain and develop the stock of social capital (social bonds, relationships of trust, and connectedness in groups and networks). The existence of conflict and distrust in communities therefore makes cooperation for development and sustainability very difficult. The purpose of this study was to examine and evaluate a specific case study, namely the Witsand Integrated Energy Environment Empowerment Cost Optimisation (iEEECO) Human Settlement Project, situated near Atlantis within the City of Cape Town, with regard to lessons about the process towards sustainable human settlements and sustainability. This case study was chosen because it is a so-called People’s Housing Project that has also been developed as an ecological sustainable project. The study specifically aimed to establish whether and how participation was implemented as part of this project and how effective this had been in promoting social sustainability, since it had also been a conflict-ridden project. The case study methodology was used where interviews, direct observation and focus groups sessions were conducted. Finally, the study reports on the findings and formulates recommendations based on the case study on some of the ways to improve sustainability. The process of learning about this community was like unpeeling an onion, that started with the impression of a successful sustainable human settlement, but ended up with the knowledge that it is a project, which despite more than usual efforts made to implement sustainability principles and participation, remains conflict ridden and fragmented. The community is presently represented by two community organisations (of which one does not support sustainability principles). It also seems as if few community members felt that they had really been involved in the participation process, with many relegated to make up numbers in meetings, with no real involvement in the process. The level of illiteracy within the community is high and rumours abound, which at one stage led to houses of community leaders, as well as field workers employed by the municipality to monitor extension of shacks, being stoned and burnt. Municipal policies to use local people as gate-keepers to keep informal areas from growing are contributing to these problems. Changes in housing policies regarding contributory payments are also adding to conflict within the community, which adds fuel to rumours of corruption. In the context of a shortage of space where people can legally build their own shacks, a shortage of public facilities like schools and clinics, as well as employment opportunities, this project cannot yet be regarded as an integrated sustainable human settlement.The lessons that this case study teaches us is about the path towards sustainability, is that it is a complex process, which requires a bigger focus on social sustainability and on conflict transformation. Social sustainability requires more and better participation and transparency in policy-making, as well as changes in policies to promote more fairness, justice, and the building of social capital. Co-production, where state and citizens work together to provide basic services, has much to offer as a method of participation, especially if initiated and run by grassroots organisations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika beleef 'n aantal uitdagings, wat gelei het tot ontwikkelingsagterstande, behuisingstekorte en groeiende informele gebiede. Terselfdertyd ondervind die land ook volhoubaarheidsprobleme, soos klimaatverandering, die verlies aan biodiversiteit en hulpbron-tekorte. Strategieë om hierdie uitdagings aan te spreek, laat nie altyd voldoende ruimte vir deelnemende strukture soos voorgestel deur Plaaslike Agenda 21 nie. Sosiale volhoubaarheid (die vermoeë van gemeenskappe om saam te werk ten einde volhoubaarheid te bevorder) is 'n fundamentele komponent van volhoubare ontwikkeling. 'n Noodsaaklike bestanddeel van sosiale volhoubaarheid is om die voorraad van sosiale kapitaal (sosiale gom, verhoudings van vertroue, en verbondenheid in groepe en netwerke) in stand te hou en te ontwikkel. Die bestaan van konflik en wantroue in gemeenskappe maak dus samewerking vir ontwikkeling en volhoubaarheid baie moeilik. Die doel van hierdie studie was om 'n spesifieke gevallestudie te ondersoek en te evalueer, naamlik die Witsand Geïntegreerde Energie en Omgewing Bemagtiging Koste Optimisering (iEEECO) Menslike Nedersetting Projek, naby Atlantis binne die Stad Kaapstad, met betrekking tot lesse oor die proses na volhoubare menslike nedersettings en volhoubaarheid. Hierdie gevallestudie is gekies omdat dit is 'n sogenaamde gemeenskapsbehuisingprojek (People's Housing Project) is, wat ook as 'n ekologiese volhoubare projek ontwikkel is. Die studie is spesifiek daarop gemik om vas te stel of en hoe deelname as deel van hierdie projek geïmplementeer is en hoe effektief dit was om sosiale volhoubaarheid te bevorder of nie, aangesien dit ook 'n konflik-geteisterde projek was. Die gevallestudie metodologie is gebruik, waar onderhoude, direkte waarneming en fokusgroep sessies onderneem is. Ten slotte doen die studie verslag oor die bevindings en formuleer aanbevelings oor hierdie gevalle studie ten opsigte van metodes hoe om deelname te verbeter om volhoubaarheid te bevorder. Die proses van leer oor hierdie gemeenskap was soos om 'n ui af te skil, wat begin het met die indruk van 'n suksesvolle volhoubare menslike nedersetting, maar geëindig het met die wete dat dit 'n projek is, wat ten spyte van meer as die gewone pogings om volhoubaarheidsbeginsels en deelname te implementeer, deur konflik en fragmentasie gepla is. Dit word verteenwoordig deur twee gemeenskapsorganisasies (waarvan een nie volhoubaarheid beginsels ondersteun nie). Dit blyk ook asof min gemeenskapslede regtig voel dat hulle in die deelname proses betrokke was, met baie wat voel dat hulle gerelegeer was tot getalle by vergaderings, sonder regtige betrokkenheid in die proses Die vlak van ongeletterdheid in die gemeenskap is hoog en gerugte doen die ronde, wat op een stadium gelei het tot die steniging en verbrand van huise van gemeenskap leiers, sowel as veldwerkers wat deur die munisipaliteit aangestel is om die uitbreiding van plakkershutte te monitor. Dit blyk dat die munisipale beleid om plaaslike mense te gebruik as poort-wagte om die groei van informele gebiede te keer, bydra tot hierdie probleme. Veranderinge in behuising beleid ten opsigte van bydraende betalings dra ook by tot konflik binne die gemeenskap, wat gerugte van korrupsie aanvuur. In die konteks van 'n tekort aan ruimte waar mense wettiglik hul eie informele huise kan bou, 'n tekort aan openbare fasiliteite soos skole en klinieke, asook werksgeleenthede, kan hierdie projek nog nie beskou word as 'n geïntegreerde volhoubare menslike nedersetting nie. Die lesse wat hierdie gevallestudie ons kan leer oor die roete na volhoubaarheid, is dat dit 'n komplekse proses is, wat 'n groter fokus op sosiale volhoubaarheid en konflik transformasie vereis. Sosiale volhoubaarheid vereis meer en beter deelname en deursigtigheid in die maak van beleid, sowel as veranderinge in beleide om meer regverdigheid en geregtigheid te bevorder, asook die uitbou van sosiale kapitaal. Ko-produksie, waar staat en burgers saam werk om basiese dienste te lewer, het baie om te bied as 'n metode van deelname, veral as dit geïnisieer en gelei word deur voetsoolvlak organisasies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80271
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