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More than 1,600 households from Alex to be moved to temporary shelter

Women do laundry in Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra
Women do laundry in Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra
Image: Thulani Mbele

More than 1,600 families from Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra are set to be moved to a temporary shelter in order to reduce the congestion in the area.

This was announced by Johannesburg Housing MMC Mlungisi Mabaso on Tuesday during a media tour of the township, known for its highly concentrated shacks in a small space of land. Mabaso said that de-densification process would take about three to four months to allow people to be engaged for the relocation.

“The plan is to move 1,600 households to the two sites which have been identified. The ward councillor will start engaging with the various stakeholders in the ward. On our side as a department we are ready, we are just waiting for the councillor to finish his engagement and then we start with our programme. Out of 5,100 households that are here, we will move 1,600 to the identified sites,” Mabaso said.

The residents will be moved to two sites – one in Marlboro and another in Marlboro Gardens. However, foreign nationals will not be part of the programme as only those eligible for the government housing will be moved.

Structures of those who are moved from Setjwetla will be demolished in order to allow for less density of the informal settlement. Mabaso said Setjwetla is earmarked for an upgrade from the city. This will include the construction of access roads, provision of water and proper sanitation. Currently, the settlement only has electricity and chemical toilets.People moved from Setjwetla will later be allocated homes in the government’s housing developments.

“We have a few sites in this region which have been identified for development. That is why we are moving only people who are eligible to subsidies; it is the same people that will be allocated once those developments are completed. As you know construction is long-term process, but for now we need an interim solution to deal with the congestion of this informal settlement.

“I am not going to mention the area right now because immediately we mention the site identified for development, people will start invading. But we do have the land, we do have a plan, we have partnered with private sector as well because we are going to have a mixed-development for Alexandra,” Mabaso said.

“We are not going to force them out. We are going to engage them. We will have to make them understand that this is part of developing Setjwetla, so we need their cooperation,” he said.

Setjwetla was identified by the provincial government as a high risk area for coronavirus due to its level of density.A man in the informal settlement tested positive for Covid-19 returned back to his shack and later moved to Limpopo. An aggressive testing programme was immediately activated to verify the possible spread of the virus.

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