Country: South Africa
Population: ~2000 households
Unemployment: ~50% fluctuating up to ~70%
Umnotho is a small 32 ha village currently undergoing formal development which began as a community housing project in 2011. The community of Umnotho comprises 1728 predominantly low-income households, which have banded together to develop the village in order to address the issues associated with the informal settlement.
All of the community members who have invested in the village have been living in the surrounding informal settlements, with many members of this community being employed in the informal sector. The socio-economic circumstances of this community have led to residents remaining in the periphery of community development initiatives, being deprived of basic amenities.
There have been a variety of common issues related to the living conditions in informal dwellings. There is a persistent threat of shack-fires, which endanger human lives and threaten their household belongings. These settlements also have non-formal waste collection services, thus waste continues to accumulate. This poses a severe health risk which could be exacerbated by the cramped living conditions, particularly during the ongoing global pandemic. A shortage of consistent policing, public lighting, and cramped living conditions have also raised security concerns, particularly with the community’s proximity to medium and high crime areas such as Cosmo City.
These issues are prevalent in the informal settlements across our country, but they do not define the community of Umnotho. The residents of Umnotho have a shared objective to eradicate poverty in their community, ultimately improving their socioeconomic circumstances, through active partnership and participation. The model followed by this community development programme allows beneficiaries to be the engineers and drivers of their own solutions.