Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Better Housing and Recreational Facilities in the Pipeline for Welbedacht East

​A delegation from Sao Paulo, Brazil joined eThekwini Municipality planners and architects for a three day intense workshop discussing the progress, research findings and way forward in terms of the upgrading of informal settlements in Welbedacht East, a settlement located in Chatsworth, Durban.

Facilitated by the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE), the mentorship programme between the City of Sao Paulo and eThekwini Municipality has been possible through a partnership with the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and funding provided by Metropolis. Officials from Sao Paulo and eThekwini spent their days sharing their approach, experiences and knowledge of how to eradicated informal settlements and create better neighbourhoods for the community of Welbedacht.

During the first day of the workshop the delegates and officials visited Welbedacht and were welcomed by the smiles and sweet voices of children from a local Ashram. According to the spiritual leader, the Ashram provides a number of feeding schemes, a clinic, and other initiatives to help the community. At the Ashram various social work students from UNISA who are seconded to work in Welbedacht to gain work experience, presented enlightening presentations on their role in terms of enhancing the livelihoods of the community. Thereafter delegates were entertained by a local youth soccer team with traditional African dancing.

Officials together with UNISA lecturers and Sao Paulo delegates spent the next day thoroughly engaged in group decisions relating to the research findings, methods, challenges, social interventions, design interventions, economic interventions and environmental interventions of the project. The Welbedacht project was presented the following day to key stakeholders in the City and National Government. 

Ms Soobs Moonsammy the Head of Developmental Planning at eThekwini Municipality, gave an overview of the Welbedacht East project at the recent Metropolis Annual Meeting hosted by the City of Johannesburg. Ms Moonsammy remarked that it was progressing well and the input and good practices from Sao Paulo are key to this, in particular, the Sao Paulo use of social data and interaction with NGOs has been directional and a partnership with UNISA has been entered into so their social work department can contribute towards providing much needed professional social services in the area.

Ms Moonsammy said that the housing right needs to have a philosophical grounding/revision that conceptualises the opportunities and rigidity of the National/Provincial housing subsidy system as well as social needs and social capital and the best that an integrated project can offer.

Keywords: eThekwini Municipality, Housing, Metropolis, "Caring Cities",  UCLG, UNISA


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