An assessment of sustainable human settlement strategy in creating a quality living environment: a case of EThekwini municipality.
Mvuyana, Bongekile Yvonne Charlotte.
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Various factors complicated the process of urban transformation in South Africa – these included the legacy of apartheid, legislation and settlement planning, private sector investment decisions, political and economic transition, and inter-governmental relationships, government capacity, and financial constraints. The lack of service delivery, more particularly, at local government sphere, is one of the conflicts among policymakers and development planners. Different strategies have been implemented by the South Africa government to address this lack and absence of service delivery in housing provision. The main objective of the study was to identify the interventions that the eThekwini Municipality has engaged in, and whether or not they have contributed to improving quality living environments of poor households. The Housing Act of 1997 defines housing development as the establishment and preservation of houses fit for human habitation, and secure and sustainable public and private residential environments to ensure viable households and communities. These houses should be built in areas enabling suitable access to economic opportunities, health, educational and social amenities. The study examined the processes and procedures for promoting integrated housing strategy in local government in order to create a quality living environment in post-apartheid South Africa. The study is in qualitative in nature and data was collected from members of the Cornubia community and officials from the eThekwini Municipality and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements. The study was able to indicate problems that the municipality has encountered and strategies embarked on to ensure that the right to adequate housing is fulfilled. The study, through its findings has reflected the challenges that the Municipality is facing in the provision of houses, as some of the houses provided do not have facilities as expected, to complete human settlements. Against this background, the study recommends the need for a change in the processes followed by municipalities in housing provision, in order to ensure that the human settlements mandate is achieved. Hence, the new framework proposes that an appropriate legislative and policy framework for planning be developed to support the operation of an efficient, effective and transparent planning system. This framework can afford departments an opportunity to align their vision, mission, strategic plans and operational plans. The framework further provides for the importance of awareness programmes amongst communities and in building capacity in communities. Housing policy reforms are a key in addressing human settlements problems in South Africa and meeting the current backlog.