For the first year (2016/17), it is proposed that the Human Settlements Directorate will spend approximately R134 million on backyarder and informal settlement upgrade projects across the city

For the first year (2016/17), it is proposed that the Human Settlements Directorate will spend approximately R134 million on backyarder and informal settlement upgrade projects across the city

The Draft Budget for the 2016/17 to 2018/19 financial year for the City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Directorate proposes more than R333 million spend on the provision of services to Council-unit backyard dwellers and the upgrade of informal settlements across the metro.

For the first year (2016/17), it is proposed that the Human Settlements Directorate will spend approximately R134 million on backyarder and informal settlement upgrade projects across the city, including in 8ste Laan (Valhalla Park) Kalkfontein (Kuils River) and Sweet Homes (Philippi).

This forms part of the Directorate’s total planned budget for the new financial year of R1.7 billion.

It also includes proposed allocations for new housing projects expected to start in the latter part of the year and the upgrade and maintenance of housing rental stock.

The City’s aim of increasing the successful roll-out of services to backyard dwellers and the upgrade of informal settlements over the next years will be absolutely dependent on the cooperation of the communities involved and the support from the beneficiaries and other partners.

In addition, the City’s Electricity Services Department plans to spend approximately R105 million over the next two financial years on the provision of electricity services alone for backyarders residing on Council property and informal settlement dwellers.

Backyarder Programme a successful innovation

Since the start of the first pilot projects of the Backyarder Programme in Factreton and Hanover Park in the 2012/13 financial year, the City has rolled out services such as toilets, wash basins, electricity and wheelie bins to thousands of households living in the backyards of City rental stock.

“There are approximately 45 000 backyard dwellers residing on Council property and we are doing everything in our power to extend basic services to these residents to improve their living conditions,” says Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements.

“The City is the only metro in the country that has a programme to extend services to backyard dwellers living on Council-owned properties. This is due to the growth of the number of backyard dwellers over the past decade,” she explains

“The housing need is acute. It is clear that the current delivery model where government is the sole provider of housing opportunities, which consist mostly of costly traditional brick and cement housing, is simply unsustainable.

“This is a fact recognised across the country. The increased focus on backyard dwellers, the upgrading of informal settlements and the expansion of services are therefore key shifts that are taking place in the human settlements sphere,” Van Minnen concludes.