Saturday, May 23, 2015

Urban Slums

Africa has more than 570 million slum-dwellers, according to UN-Habitat, with over half of the urban population (61.7 percent) living in slums. Worldwide, notes the U.N. agency, the number of slum-dwellers now stands at 863 million and is set to shoot up to 889 million by 2020.

“Slum-dwelling here in Africa has become normal, a trend to live with, which is difficult to combat owing to numerous factors ranging from political corruption to economic inequalities necessitated by the growing gap between the rich and the poor,” Gilbert Nyaningwe, an independent development expert from Zimbabwe, told IPS.

In South Africa, an estimated 15 million of the country’s approximately 52 million people live in densely populated informal settlements – a euphemism for slums.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 835,000 people living in informal settlements, according to Homeless International, a British non-governmental organisation focusing on urban poverty issues.

Nompumelelo Tshabalala, lives in Diepkloof township in Johannesburg, accuses city authorities of ignoring the mushrooming of informal settlements for selfish reasons.
“Slums here are sources of cheap labour that keeps the wheels of industry turning, which is why local authorities are not concerned about our living standards because they [local authorities] are getting more and more revenue from firms thriving on our sweat.”

It takes a person living in a slum to identify the root cause more astutely than all the experts working for NGOs...the same cause of the slums in 19th Century Europe and early 20thC America...CAPITALISM

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