Assessing the link between the provision of basic municipal services in informal settlements and the creation of sustainable human settlements : case study of Redcliffe and Magwaveni informal settlements.
The provision of basic municipal services to informal settlements in South Africa has been vital in bringing much need services to poor households and addressing hazardous living conditions prevalent in informal settlements. The research evaluates the provision of municipal services to informal settlements by the eThekwini Municipality. It highlights the challenges which are experienced by informal settlements dwellers, due to the lack of services such as roads, water, sanitation and electricity. The study then looks at the current housing backlog and sets out the approaches applied in South Africa and internationally to address the challenges that are experienced by residents in informal settlements. The broad aim of this dissertation is to evaluate how households in informal settlements attain basic services and whether the provision of interim services has assisted such households in meeting their housing needs incrementally. The qualitative approach method was used to collect data on the provision of basic municipal services to informal settlements and the study involved the use and collection of empirical data, two case studies, personal experiences, direct observation and interviews. Two specific housing policies relevant to this study are the Comprehensive Plan for Human Settlements or commonly referred to as the Breaking New Grounds (2004) and the National Housing Code (2009). The study’s findings showed that residents had high levels of access to housing even though they were still occupying informal houses as many households were generally satisfied with the essential municipal services provided and had embarked on making improvements to their currently occupied informal dwellings. The high levels of dissatisfaction with sanitation provided were recorded as residents found it socially unacceptable to be sharing toilets with other settlement dwellers and the study revealed that in both the case study areas there were high levels of access to electricity provided and this was due to the provision of prepaid electricity by the municipality. The study also found high levels of satisfaction with the power supply provided as residents were able use the electricity for household activities and more importantly they no longer had to worry about disconnections as the electricity was supplied by the municipality. The study found that there were high levels of satisfaction with access roads and footpaths provided as the infrastructure provided vehicular access to those residents who owned vehicles and as well as for mini bus taxis transporting residents. The provision of basic services to the study areas was a clear indication by the municipality of laying the building blocks for future houses to be constructed by the municipality and this was in line with the Housing Policy.