The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in partnership with Statistics South Africa will conduct a registration drive for backyard shack dwellers across the city from November this year.
The launch of the backyard shack dwellers registration drive took place in October at the Babs Madlakane hall in KwaNobuhle after a two day training programme was conducted by Statistics South Africa with community members from various wards who will be conducting the registration. To encourage ownership of the programme and to create jobs the Municipality through the various Ward Councillor’s offices selected five people per ward to be field workers. The training of the field workers equipped them with the necessary know-how of how to conduct a credible and quality data capturing service and the importance of producing factual data. This process is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme to facilitate job creation and skills development for community members within projects in their specific areas.
The registration drive will include a head count of all the backyard shack dwellers in the city, of which the information will be fed into a database for the Municipality’s Human Settlement Directorate to determine the exact amount of people who are still in need of low cost housing.
A pilot phase of the project kicks off in certain wards this year, and next year a full rollout of the project will take place, covering the entire Nelson Mandela Bay region.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Cllr Zanoxolo Wayile, asked residents to exercise cooperation and honesty when approached for information. Mayor Wayile encouraged residents to open their doors to the field workers and to feed them with credible and factual information so that the process can be a worthwhile exercise.
“Our field workers will be given the necessary tools to get the job done, but we will need the participation of the residents to work with them. Give them your assistance so that we can close that gap for corruption and criminal elements in the rollout of this project,” encouraged Mayor Wayile.
Mayor Wayile also announced that the Municipality was making progress in its pursuance of a Level 3 accreditation for housing delivery. This status will mean that the national funding allocated for housing development in Nelson Mandela Bay will bypass the Provincial Department of Human Settlements and be directed straight to the NMBM, thus making it easier for the Municipality to deliver on its promise to provide decent housing.
Portfolio Chairperson for Human Settlements, Cllr Fikile Desi, said the backyard shack dwellers information collection drive will assist the various spheres of government to adequately plan and allocate the necessary funding according to the needs of the citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay.
“This is the beginning of a process to restore people’s dignity. We want to build a solid foundation for human settlements based on credible information,” said Cllr Desi.
A backyard shack dweller from kwaNobuhle, Mbulelo Sityata, said he was pleased with the news of the project and that the Municipality was starting a process that will address their needs for housing. “Although it has taken time we are happy that something is starting to happen. We hope that the Municipality can move quickly to build us houses where we can raise our children in,” said Sityata.
Another backyard shack dweller, Nontobeko Jonas, said staying in someone else’s yard takes away your rights and dignity. “You can’t even do a traditional ceremony because it is someone else’s property. I am pleased that the Municipality will be approaching us for our information for the purpose of building us houses,” said Jonas.