DAG hosted the ‘My home’ dialogue and exhibition at Lookout Hill, Khayelitsha. The event was attended by over 35 community based organisations, social movements, civil society organisations and built environment practitioners. The key focus for the discussion was how best can various stakeholders complement the existing urgency in communities so that they can be able to build at scale?
Some stakeholders at the event believed that government on its own, given the limited resources and capacity will never effectively resolve the housing crisis in South Africa anytime soon. Therefore, it is important to start engaging on a conversation focusing on key levers that can allow communities to build at scale. There was also clear sign of growing interest by various stakeholders to co-create innovative policy and programmes that facilitate the realisation of people’s immediate aspirations and or rights to housing.
Some of the important highlights or lessons emerging from the discussion included but not limited to the following:
- Tenure security for residents: Communities are worried about formalising their structures for the fear of demolitions. With a much broader framework for tenure rights and community based urban land administration will enable residents to build at scale;
- Reforming the financial instruments: The housing programme is currently based on logic of income and dividing communities as qualifiers and non-qualifiers. A serious reform of the financial instruments is needed for addressing ‘what will get built and for whom’;
- Planning norms and standards: current planning and building regulations will not apply for the high density and land constraints within informal settlements and backyards. A revision of these norms and standards, that are local applicable will assist in developing community centred solutions;
- Enabling small scale developers: The building skills in informal settlements and backyards are currently operating as ‘labour brokers’. The entire value chain of the construction sector needs to be inverted to support small scale builders instead of large construction companies;
- Putting communities at the centre of development: Community participation and collaboration has been reduced to lip service. Enabling community knowledge and issue based organising is a critical lever to move forward.
There was clear emphasis on the need for collaborative action to address the above issues/ problems. DAG is committed and looking forward to collaborating with different stakeholders. Our next dialogue will be focused on rental tenure alternatives, currently being delivered through micro developers in Du Noon, Khayelitsha and Delft. Watch this space for the next dialogue, publications and exhibitions!