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The HDA hosted a partners’ workshop on support for the implementation of an informal settlement programme on 27 February.

The purpose of the workshop was to share the status and progress, and for the partners to update on joint activities on the HDA informal settlements upgrading programme. Shift, PPT, DAG, PLANACT, and the CSIR were in attendance, as well as the NUSP/DHS national team.

Maki Thellane (HDA technical manager –informal settlement upgrading) gave an update of the informal settlements support work in Limpopo and Free State.

For Limpopo Province, she presented the audit and rapid assessment of 67 informal settlements in 17 municipalities which was undertaken in order to determine the status quo of each informal settlement.

A participatory planning approach was initiated, starting with households and settlements enumeration to determine households’ circumstances in terms of their desires for upgrading, vulnerability, existing opportunities and the possibility of establishing or implementing livelihood programmes.

For Free State Province, rapid assessment and audit was conducted in 23 informal settlements. Five other NUSP municipalities are also receiving technical support, starting with Mangaung Metro Municipality for development of an informal settlements strategy.

Thellane went on to explain that the Agency has responded to Cabinet lekgotla decisions relating to development of settlement plans in 45 towns/NUSP municipalities, and has started the process of development of settlement plans.

In Limpopo Province, we have started community consultation processes, and conducted feasibility studies and project packaging in five NUSP municipalities in order to develop assessed project pipeline and multi-year expenditure to submit for project funding for implementation. Nine projects have been recommended for funding and upgrading initiatives in the financial year 2013/14.

There was much robust discussion and the issues that came out of the workshop included professional practice, meaningful participation, community empowerment, a participatory planning approach, definition of upgrading, acceptance of increment upgradingand informality, settlement management plans, meaning of informal settlement, meaning of basic services and also the HDA/PPT position paper on the meaning of upgrading – these will be addressed at a future session.