Guide to Urban Development NGOs in South Africa

advocacy ngos apartheid
Tuesday, 11 April, 2006 - 03:35

Sustainable Human Settlements and Integrated Urban DevelopmentMost South African urban development NGOs have their roots in this country's anti-apartheid struggle when urban townships represented

Sustainable Human Settlements and Integrated Urban Development

Most South African urban development NGOs have their roots in this country's anti-apartheid struggle when urban townships represented the battlefields of the physical resistance against the apartheid regime.

In many instances these struggles were organized around rent boycotts and a refusal to pay for (inadequate) basic services in an effort to pressure the apartheid regime to transform its oppressive policies.

Shortly after democracy, urban development NGOs were extremely active in policy advocacy work promoting people centered approaches in housing and local government policy formulation - in addition to advocating for changes to the segregated apartheid landscape. Until recently, many belonged to the now defunct Urban Sector Network, a national network that channeled funding to its members and coordinated policy inputs.

Currently, urban development NGOs can be divided into those working with a specific focus on housing and those working on issues of local governance. They tend to work within a sustainable human settlements paradigm promoting integrated development. The main focus of their work is ensuring that the voices of the poor are heard in the urban development process.

Be that as it may, the physical segregation of people is an enduring feature of post-apartheid South Africa. While racially motivated legislation kept South Africa's various population groups apart in the past, the present brings transformation only to those who can afford it.

Common Programme Areas for Urban Development NGOs:

  • Supporting community participation in low income housing delivery;
  • Conducting local governance and housing research;
  • Working in support of the institutional development of local authorities.

Urban Development NGOs:

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To contribute information to this development issue, please submit a query to editor@sangonet.org.za. We are particularly interested in information related to capacity building, case studies, debates, advocacy, research, resources and other relevant links.

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