Latest editorial: Land Tenure, Community Health Services, Opportunities…
In this week’s NGO Pulse, we take a look at the issues involved in securing land tenure in urban and rural South Africa. We also explore how a global mapping system is helping rural communities in South Africa to access health care services faster.
Ben Cousins, Professor of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape writes, “It’s estimated that in 2011 some 1.5 million people lived in low-cost dwellings provided to the poor by government’s, so-called “Reconstruction and Development Programme” (RDP) houses, with inaccurate or outdated titles, in most cases due to transfers outside of the formal system.”
Cousins continues, “Another 5 million lived in RDP houses where no titles had yet been issued due to systemic inefficiencies. Along with 1.9 million people in backyard shacks, 2 million on commercial farms, and 17 million in communal areas, this means that in that year around 30 million people, nearly 60% of all South Africans, lived on land or in dwellings held outside of the land titling system.”
In the book, Untitled. Securing land tenure in urban and rural South Africa, Cousins together with his co-authors, Dona Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill and Lauren Royston challenges the notion that holding a title deed ensures land tenure security.
“The book reveals that ‘informal’ and customary property systems can be well organised, often providing substantial tenure security, but lack official recognition and support. This makes them difficult to service and vulnerable to elite capture.”
The provision of emergency health care services in rural South African remains a challenge because some of these areas are difficult to reach and don’t have adequate street names and numbers.
“Ambulances can take hours to reach patients. Often a whole day will pass before an ambulance can find patients. They, as well as community health workers, have to rely on residents to give them directions,” writes Sulaiman Philip.
Local health NGO, Gateway Health Institute has partnered with the global online mapping system, what3words to provide the township of KwaNdengezi with addresses. The project will map the entire township. For the first time residents will have an address they can use when calling for medical help.
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