There are very few things more important than having a safe place to stay. However, for many shack dwellers, their homes are places to die due to fires that regularly destroy their lives, homes and belongings. Numerous reports of shack fires punctuate our newspapers and radio shows. Media consumers express temporary shock, debates abound, but sustainable solutions are in short supply.
The United Nations says that rapid urbanisation in Africa over the past five decades is changing the continent's landscape and generating formidable challenges for the supply of water and sanitation services.
In its latest report, According to the Rapid Response Assessment by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-HABITAT, urban centres in Africa are growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world.
People all over South Africa have been asking the leaders of Abahlali baseMjondolo why the government continues to ignore the demands of shack dwellers. They have been asking why, after all the marches, statements, reports and meetings, the Kennedy Road settlement continues to get burnt down through endless shack fires. They have been referring in particular to the recent Kennedy Road shack fire on 4 July 2010 that took four lives, leaving more than 3 000 people displaced and homeless.