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The HDA, together with the Department of Human Settlements, facilitated a two-day introductory informal settlement upgrading capacity-building workshop in Limpopo on 25 and 26 June. The provincial department head of CoGSTA, Ms Nnana Manamela, opened the second day of the workshop with an introduction to poverty issues.

She was very positive about the HDA, the National Upgrade Support Programme (NUSP) and the workshop and said of the workshop materials: “I went through the manual – and I love it.”

Well over 60 officials from the various Limpopo municipalities and the province attended the workshop. Odette Crofton, HDA General Manager: Land and Housing Support Services, identified the workshop as the first of its kind in Limpopo, but NUSP governance adviser Monty Narsoo pointed out that it’s in fact the first of its kind in the country – and his comment was greeted with applause.

Similar workshops will be rolled out across the country.

The objectives of the Limpopo workshop were to:

• Introduce the key components of the informal settlement upgrading process
• Outline the various issues and aspects of each step in the upgrading process
• Share information on issues and challenges specific to Limpopo and its municipalities

“The focus of informal settlement information is on Limpopo, and what’s happening here in the province,” Crofton confirmed.

“We are using Limpopo information in Limpopo, and tapping into your knowledge. And we’re sharing the work we’ve already done with you.”

Leaving the workshop with a specially developed manual on informal settlement upgrading in South Africa, the officials also gained insight into the various components of the informal settlement upgrading process, as well as an understanding of the issues that are generally encountered during the process.

They left armed with key actions to take to their municipalities, and it is hoped they will successfully motivate why it is important to do informal settlement upgrading work and illustrate how to link municipal plans to housing sector plans in order to support this kind of work.

If anything, they left with awareness not only of how to get approvals but also of how to monitor projects. Finally, the workshop provided an opportunity for networking with other local sector role-players.