Saturday, December 31, 2005

Pledge to the poor

All South Africans must renew their pledge to do everything in their power to create jobs and fight poverty (Houseit!) to give renewed hope to millions in the country that 2006 will be a happy and prosperous year for them as well, said President Thabo Mbeki.

"Many of our fellow citizens could not join the festivities because of the poverty which still affects so many people. These are fellow South Africans who do not have enough to eat even on normal days, who do not have proper housing, and are everyday exposed to diseases of malnutrition and poverty," Mbeki said in his New Year message on Saturday. M&G

We agree with the President’s New Year’s pledge too 2006 and wish to get the message out in as many languages as possible. To find common ground in these languages, who have resolved their habitat problems and can assist us resolve ours: German Spanish French Italian Portuguese Japanese Korean Chinese May 2006 be prosperous for all who live on planet Earth.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rampant fires pose health risk

November December
12/29/2005 6:42:36 PM People have been urged to leave the Franschhoek area as firefighters battle a blaze that's run out of control.
In Cape Town, the Western Cape health MEC has warned residents to close their windows against a thick pall of smoke shrouding the city.

Firefighters have been hard at work all day trying to contain nine blazes in the Cape metropole and surrounding areas.

Health MEC Pierre Uys says there are concerns about people developing respiratory problems as a result of the smoke. Read More Photo: Andrew Ingram, Cape Argus

Cape fire leaves hundreds homeless December 29, 2005, 08:00 Hundreds of people have been left homeless following a fire in Ocean View in the Cape Peninsula this morning.About 100 shacks burnt down in the Site-Five informal settlement. Wayne Okkers, the South Peninsula divisional officer, says they had their hands full fighting two fires this morning. SABCNEWS

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

N2 Gateway under guard as allocation proceeds

Residents from the Joe Slovo community who are to be moved to the N2 Gateway Project, have become impatient and have threatened to invade the area as they believe the homes are ready for occupation.
Full Story....

Fires ravage Cape - 1 dead 250 homeless

A four-year-old child's body was found burnt beyond recognition after a shack fire in Site B, Khayelitsha, that destroyed up to 60 shacks and left 250 people homeless. Monday afternoon's blaze in Section TR was the latest in a series of shack fires at the weekend which also left hundreds of residents destitute.

Disaster Management's John Brown said they could not establish whether the child was a boy or a girl. Full Story

Monday, December 26, 2005

Another 200 Shacks razed in Cape township

Khayelistsha residents in Cape Town have once again fallen victim to negligence as a fire destroyed a section of the informal settlement, while firefighters have managed to gain control of the Blouberg fire that forced a senior's home to be evacuated.
Full Story....

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cape fires - Grim Christmas

It will be a grim Christmas for many Capetonians after raging fires burned down homes in some of the poorest and richest areas of the city on Saturday.Overnight flare-ups had occurred on the slopes of Devil's Peak, at Gordon's Bay and at Melkbos beach, the city's disaster management services spokesperson John Brown said.

Between 300 and 400 people were left homeless after a fire destroyed about 100 shacks at an informal settlement in Philippi on the Cape Flats, while by 7pm, a blaze still raging unchecked on the mountainside above upmarket Camps Bay had gutted one home and damaged nine others. Read More

Now Now - Just Now

In the statement Mbeki voiced serious concern about the growing housing shortage in the city and said that something must be done as soon as possible.
Build your own green home

Fire affects all - homes burn

Cape Town - Six homes in the upmarket Cape Town suburb of Camps Bay have gone up in flames as a fire rages on the slopes of Table Mountain.

Cape Town city disaster management spokesperson, John Brown, said two of the houses had been totally gutted and the blaze was threatening more homes in the area. Read More

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Lets occupy the box on Krismis

The City of Cape Town on Friday warned that would-be occupiers of the incomplete national housing project - the N2 Gateway complex - would be violating the law if they carried out their threat of occupying the units. Read More

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rasool's 'Krismis Box’ ?(

Houses ‘are paid up’

ANGRY Lentegeur residents are refusing to co-operate with the Western Cape government’s ‘Krismis Box’ plan which promises to scrap rental arrears.

“Because the Old House of Representatives didn’t do their job properly, we now sit with a housing problem that has to be solved,” Rasool said.

However, a few residents are refusing to be involved in the process.
Mr Ebrahim Jenniker, a resident, said they are calling on the government to “prove where the arrears are coming from”.

Jenniker said many of the houses, were valued at around R14 000, were bought in 1987 and through resident’s own calculations, “we have already paid our houses finished”.

“In 1993 we already paid R7 200 on our homes. We were then told that we would receive R7 500. So if you add it up, by that time our houses were finished paid,” said Jenniker.

He added that because local government did not have any records, they “can’t answer where the arrears comes from”. Read More

Monday, December 19, 2005

Heating up our health

WHO reports 150,000 deaths can be attributed to climate change. The health stresses are ultimately faced by economically marginal communities, and are expected to be hardest hit, as informal or poor housing is not insulated against the heat. Read More

Blaze leaves 1 200 homeless

Devastation: Alfredo de Carvalho, seven, stands on the burnt-out remains of his mother's mini car which was destroyed, along with their shack and all their possessions, in a blaze that levelled 450 shacks in the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi. Photo: Alan Taylor, Cape Times

A fire has destroyed 450 shacks in the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi - leaving more than a thousand people homeless. Supplemental with an average of 4 residents per shack this figure is probably closer to 1,800 people displaced by this fire. Full Story....

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Vrygrond residents up in arms over poor housing

The stand-off between the City of the Cape and the Vrygrond residents showed no sign of ending yesterday as 150 residents gathered at the Overcome settlement near Sea winds to demand houses, water, sanitation and electricity. Cape Times

2000 shack fires in '05

A fire destroyed more than 100 shacks and displaced hundreds of people in the Kosovo informal settlement in Phillippi outside of Cape Town on Saturday afternoon, Cape Town emergency services said. Mail & Guardian

"About 100 shacks were destroyed and 600 people displaced. No-one was killed in the fire."

Officials said this week that more than a hundred people had died in nearly two-thousand shack fires in Cape Town this year. - Sapa

Ready for the cannabis effect?

Refreshing: Drink it; Build It!

R1.7bn worth of provincial housing halted

THE Department of Housing has revealed that problems related to administrative delays, land invasions and fraud have resulted in provincial housing projects to the tune of R1.7-billion being blocked.

In response to a parliamentary question, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s department revealed that more than 469 projects were blocked countrywide at the beginning of October.

Housing spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the delays and blockages were due to administrative delays, inflation rendering original tenders insufficient, land invasions and/or fraud.

She said money intended for blocked projects, has been spent elsewhere. Build Your Own Home.

...The Housing Department could not provide the Sunday Times with the exact number of houses that had not been built due to blocked projects. e.g: Innovator seeks to build hemp homes - (Sunday Times)

James Masango, a DA MP and member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on housing, said in Mpumalanga there were abandoned foundations for government housing projects that had been built in 2000 and were now overgrown with grass. Sunday Times

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Urbanists

What is the New Urbanism? Emily Talen (Urban Studies 36, 8 [1999]: 1361) describes it as an “umbrella term” for an increasingly popular movement among planners that encompasses “neotraditional development” and “traditional neighborhood design.”

New Urbanists stress the importance of the built environment in fostering community but emphasize that there must be a change in mindset, design, and practice concerning how communities are physically constructed to overcome current civic deficits, loss of social -capital, and a diminished sense of community. They argue that the organization of physical space is intimately related to the way in which persons are understood both as individuals and as social beings.

New Urbanists claim that traditional towns and urban neighborhoods are more conducive to developing community and provide more life choices than contemporary suburban living. Read More

Who will be queen of the Cape?

In 2000, Cape Town voter turnout reached 52%, above the 48% nationally, according to election statistics, but service delivery bottlenecks, particularly over housing and employment, may trigger voter disinterest and apathy. Read More

Court sanctions Cape's Du Noon evictions

Families from a fire-ravaged area in Cape Town, who moved into another area in protest against the government's alleged failure to house them, will soon be evicted. Full Story....

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Build a better habitat for all

The council receives a national housing grant of about R325-million a year, which can build an average of 7 750 housing units a year.

By building your house from this proven green-construction technology ,

We Can deliver 21 670 fire proof, evironmentally friendly homes and sustainable rural agrarian empowerment.

That is THREE times the amount of homes, for the same R325-million, while channeling money to the rural areas which would slow rural to urban migration easing the burden on urban housing.

This green-technology is in line with Kyoto protocols and acts as a buffer to environmental damage by earning carbon credits.

...The existing backlog of 260 000 units, with about 16 000 new families arriving in the city annually... Read More

Don't flush away a precious resource

Waterborne sanitation is a luxury destined to be replaced by a more environmentally-friendly alternative. The 'e-loo' might just be a viable solution. Read more

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Closed Housing Imbizio

President Thabo Mbeki heard suggestions (eg. Build your own home) from the City of Cape Town on Wednesday on how central government could help accelerate housing delivery so that the metropolis eradicated slums by 2014.

She mentioned frequent fires in informal settlements as a serious setback to the challenge of providing homes for all. “The cost in human lives and disruption cannot be calculated.”

Mfeketo said the leadership of the city would be the first to acknowledge and apologise if they did something wrong as it sought to transform the city and change mindsets.

The media were unable to hear Mbeki’s input and were requested to leave the hall immediately after Mfeketo’s input.

Founder member Daphne Jansen said the government was not sticking to its own batho pele (people first) principles by refusing the group entry.

“If the president is saying women must find their voices and be self-reliant, this is not the way. Read More

'Green & Black' Construction & Development

The Western Cape government launched four hard-hitting policy documents yesterday that are designed to ensure that future development in the province does not damage the natural environment by developers out to make a quick buck.

The documents, which focus on resorts, golf estates and putting a brake on urban sprawl, say development in the province must in future be both: Eg. Build your own home

"green and black" - environmentally sustainable and empowering to the black community... [join in and discuss this article here: IA EnviroSust ]

Tasneem Essop, MEC for environment, planning and economic development, said yesterday if the province did not address "the way we develop, we are going to push the province into further crisis".

Considering the facts regarding the previous environment, planning and economic development minister and former premier shown here in System Failure: IA JAM it is clear all development needs to be beyond reproach. All documents and spending should be publicly available.

Shack Attack turned Golf

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Paris - Sydney - Cape Town

OUR finance minister recently claimed that if the inequalities between rich and poor in Cape Town weren’t rapidly addressed, this seemingly laid-back city could see the kind of social upheaval that Paris has been experiencing from marginalised minorities. The difference between these two cities, though, is crucial:

Here the marginalised are in a massive majority. Business Day

Monday, December 12, 2005

Housing list project fails to get off ground

The government's pilot project which aims to formulate a single housing waiting list for Cape Town failed because of poor communication and shoddy planning, organisers of the three-day campaign said. Full Story....

Chaos as fires ravage Cape leaving 4 dead 1,248 homeless

Raging: A couple watch as flames engulf Signal Hill high above the city centre in Cape Town, where a huge fire came dangerously close to homes near Bo-Kaap. Full story Photo: Andrew Ingram, Cape Times

Fires continued to ravage the Western Cape over the weekend with blazes claiming another life and forcing the closure of the Huguenot Tunnel. Fires around Table Mountain also kept city firefighters battling flames for most of the weekend.

The fatal fire occurred early on Sunday morning when a person was killed as 17 shacks burnt in Mbewana, Nyanga...

On Thursday, three people died in an isolated shack fire in Makaza, Khayelitsha, just two days after 295 shacks burnt down in Site B, leaving 1 100 people homeless... Read More...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Truth Tripping

All truth passes through three stages:

First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently opposed;
and Third, it is accepted as self-evident. - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

"First they ignore you Then laugh at you and hate you,
Then they fight you
Then you win.
When the truth dies very bad things happen They're being heartless again
I know its gone and there's going to be violence..." - Robbie Williams

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pillar to Post

A hundred families living under dire conditions in De Doorns' informal settlement in Cape Town have been moved to an area serviced with water and sanitation as part of the government's 16 days of activism. Full Story....

Raging fires kill three in Western Cape

The Western Cape is on red alert amid dry and windy weather conditions as firefighters battle to bring fires in Khayelitsha and the Oudekraal area under control. Full Story....

Help from above: A helicopter empties a load of sea water over a fire near Kommetjie in Cape Town. Western Cape firefighters are bracing for more blazes as a howling south-easter buffets the Peninsula with temperatures soaring at 27°C. Full story Photo: Brenton Geach, Cape Argus

Red alert as fires rage

The Western Cape is on a red alert for fires today, in fear of a repeat of yesterday's string of blazes that destroyed a factory and a home.

Row as Gov reopens housing list

Slammed by opposition parties as a blatant election ploy, the national government has invited people in the housing queue in the Western Cape to complete new registration forms to help draw up a single housing waiting list for Cape Town.

Richard Dyantyi, the WC housing and local government minister, who was expected to explain why there are no houses, failed to pitch up.

There has been mixed emotions from 1 000 families who received empty plots and communal toilets at De Doorns in the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape.

Richard Dyantyi, the Western Cape housing and local government minister, who was expected to explain why there are no houses, failed to pitch up. Some families who have been on the housing list for over 10 years, have expressed dissatisfaction with the empty plots, while others who lived in a nearby informal settlement have shed tears of joy in an expression of happiness.

Thobeka Madikane (38), a local resident, says she has spent her entire life in a shack having to share a toilet with hundreds of her neighbours in a river bed. With tears in her eyes and gulping for breath, she says her plot of land although almost bare, and her toilet that she has to share with four other families is a dream come true. Manny Sotomi, the chief director for housing and planning in the province, says handing over vacant plots, earmarked for development is not ideal but the best solution to the housing crisis.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fire costs! Mayor has 'let finances spin out of control'

Cape Town city councillors have criticised Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo for losing a grip on the city's finances, after the capital budget for next year was drastically reduced due to "unforeseen expenditure". Full Story....

Fire; Rebuilding; Corruption.

Razed shacks rebuilt as embers still smoulder 2005-12-08 10:15:01 Khayelitsha residents, left homeless by a fire that destroyed hundreds of shacks, have taken matters into their own hands and have begun rebuilding immediately. Full Story....

City project tender controversy continues 2005-12-08 09:12:59 Businessman Phillip Dexter is set to sue for intellectual theft - he alleges that the consultant the city council awarded a R6-million contract to establish a jewellery centre, bypassing normal tender procedures, stole the idea from him. Full Story....

Corrupt municipalities named

... almost the same number were without sanitation, and the housing backlog stood at ... Natal, Mbombela in Mpumalanga, and in the Western Cape also exemplified ...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We're not moving, say 400 school squatters

More than 400 backyard dwellers has taken up residence at the old Florida primary school in Ravensmead and are refusing to move. Full Story....

Khayelitsha fire leaves 1 100 people homeless

Hundreds of shacks have been destroyed by a fire in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, and while some residents looked on in horror others took the opportunity to loot nearby spaza shops. Full Story....

Swift action: A gas cylinder explodes as residents scramble to salvage their belongings from the fire. Photo: Andrew Ingram, Cape Times
More than 800 people have been left destitute following shack fires in Khayelitsha in the Cape Peninsula. Most of the residents were at work when the fire started and have lost most of their possessions. Residents are blaming the city council for their slow housing delivery.

Last January, 1 500 shacks were razed in the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa. Last month, the same area experienced three other devastating fires.

Over the past weekend, 450 shacks were destroyed, leaving more than 2 000 people homeless in Du Noon, an informal settlement near Table View.

Victims of today's fire are collecting whatever they can salvage and preparing to erect new shacks. Cyprian Cairncross, a divisional commander for the Cape Town fire services, says the cause of the fire is still unknown but will be investigated. No fatalities were reported.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

City admits Gateway cash Crunch

After a week of denialism...

With a simple one-word "yes" response to questions tabeled by DA Councillor Neil Ross about N2 Gateway Funding, the city has admitted that the housing project is suffering from a short term financial hitches...

Published in the Cape Times Pg2.

Page 1 Carries an article on City Management questionable tender deals.

Sloppy officials deserve revolt

This vetgat government of corrupt and untrustworthy politicians (Eastern Cape region and Bloemfontein city council, among the very ready examples), with their corruption inviting schemes such as BEE (black elite enrichment), had it coming a long while ago. ..

RDP 'houses' a crying shame

The townships themselves, spawns of a reprehensible separatist scheme, were nevertheless also much better than the millions of squalid squatter camps which have been rapidly mushrooming in the past 11 years of "democracy".

These are harsh, unpalatable facts and I'm fully aware I'm laying myself open to vicious reactionary attacks from some in the vetgat league. ..

Jon Qwelane's column is published each week on News24, courtesy of Jon Qwelane and the editor of Sunday Sun, which originally carried the article.

Monday, December 05, 2005

What is... Required?

High Court slams Cape Unicity's housing policy

The Cape High Court has severely criticised the Cape Town Unicity's housing policy during a landmark judgment over a case involving Valhalla Park residents. Read more ...

Western Cape fires raze 750 shacks

Thousands are going to spend the night with no roofs over their heads.

A man has died and 750 shacks and 2 houses have been destroyed as fires ravaged the Doornbacht informal settlement and a section of the Piketberg in the Western Cape. Full Story....

Cape rivers ‘used as toilets’ - Cape Town, South Africa... Dr Barnes says informal housing and lack of sanitation alongside riverbeds are the ... obstacles, in general, pose high health risks to the Western Cape's rivers ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Why the habitat jam - fire?

Comment by: Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, UN Habitat, Kenya

You are quite right that the problem of slums will not be solved by research alone.

However, I am informed that as of last Kenya had the second highest number of registrants participating in the Habitat Jam. The fact that thousands have been willing to patiently wait in line sometimes for hours in order to be able to contribute to this debate has been a profoundly moving experience for me.

The fact that the debate on slums has moved from the academic world to streets of cities such as Nairobi, Dakar, Cape Town and Mumbai, Rio, Lima and Manilla is in and of itself a powefull signal to world leaders on the need for concerted action.

Devastation: Siyaongwana Nokilunga of Doornbach sits on a stool at the spot where her shack formerly stood. Full Story Photo: Andrew Ingram Cape Times

Fires leave 1 dead 4 injured & more than a thousand homeless

Four fires have brought devastation to the lives of hundreds of people in Cape Town. Full Story....

Residents of Doornbach near Milnerton in Cape Town watch as a helicopter tries to douse the fire raging in the informal settlement. Photo: Michael Pinyana, Sunday Argus


Poor service delivery haunts Eastern Cape

Read More Accusations of poor service delivery continue to dog Eastern Cape municipalities. Residents of Masakhane township at Jamestown are threatening to make this rural town ungovernable if their demand to get employment in a local housing project is not met.

Please be Patient - we're on fire

CSIR fights fire with OSS: The CSIR Satellite Applications Centre's mapping technology, built on open source software, tells users where fires are breaking out across South Africa in near real-time.

Advanced Fire Information Service: Please be patient this site - is slow.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

High participation rate of women is grassroots Habitat Jamm'in

The Huairou Commission has brought over 4,000 grassroots women, from more than 25 countries into Habitat JAM activities. Many of our organizations held meetings prior to JAM, and they chose delegates to represent them at the JAM. Some examples: • In Montevideo, Uruguay, Cotidiano Mujer brought together 30 women from a marginalized urban neighborhoods to meet and sit together at the computers, all on Habitat JAM. The women were assisted by a facilitator and translator/typists. • In Russia, Information Center of the Independent Women's Forum (ICIWF) pulled together 17 community groups who want to share their successes in learning how to run a civil society by partnering with local government. • In India, Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) put together an Information Fair and other actitivies—attracting over 3,000 women from disaster plagued states, and women working with local government, and on water and sanitation—to gather their ideas for the JAM. See postings by Smita Sawant for updates! • In Cameroon, 380 women of the Ntankah Village Women Common Initiative Group have collected their thoughts on urban development. These were then delivered to the JAM by a select group of leaders whohave now had their first international experience. They rented an entire Internet cafe and filled it with their women! • In Canada, Women in Cities International, translated and circulated all Habitat JAM materials to thousands of women from French speaking women's groups networks. • In Peru, 50 women met to hold a local peer exchange, sharing their practices: community banks, ecological parks, earthquake resistant housing construction. Then, a smaller group of women went to an Internet cafe, in their slum neighborhood, and have been participatin gin JAM, to bring in the results of their meeting.

In Cape Town, 1,800 women ran trying to save their homes from a runaway fire, a shortage of water and planning led to 1 death and 4 serious burns.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Habitat JAM… what are people talking about?

JAMMERS are from all around the Globe December 1, 2005

December 1, 2005
The Habitat JAM is in full swing and JAMMERS are active across the world, leading discussions and exploring controversial, stimulating topics in each forum. After eight hours of JAMMING, Humanity: the Future of Our Cities leads the way as the most popular forum, with 765 posts. Hot topics in this forum include education and the critical role it plays in the evolution of our cities, how population mobility/migration influences cities and the important role of a city’s population in solving the issues. Environmental Sustainability in Our Cities is the second most-popular forum at this stage, with Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers in third place.
InternAfrica is a not-for-profit organisation addressing the Cape Habitat Crisis through education of sustainable green building methods as demonstrated here on HouseIT