The Havelock informal settlement - located 8km from Durban central - has been one of the key actors in the frequent dialogues with the eThekwini metro, as arranged by the Informal Settlement Network (ISN). At these dialogues, the community has raised their concerns of high densities and low levels of services. The high densities have been a conducive environment of shack fires and flooding, and shacks closer to a water stream have struggled with the torrents of water flushes in the rain seasons.
Recently, the Municipality placed two containers with toilets in the settlement. The settlement has been earmarked for “interim services”, a term used by eThekwini to indicate the willingness of delivering basic services in the short term, and generally in favour of long term habitation and development.
The Havelock community has enumerated their settlement and are now preparing layouts for incremental upgrading and better service delivery. The reblocking proposals have stirred a bottom-up “re-dreaming” of many settlements in Ward 22. Together with Kwa-Mathambo, the possiblities of in-situ upgrading is beginning to impact the way communities frame their development aspirations. The momentum of these two diverse settlements – one deemed to be fit for upgrading (Havelock), and one destined (in the mind of officials) for relocation (Kwa-Mathambo) – have stirred dialogue in the ward, and the councillor is often lobbied with requests for ISN meetings. The prospects of unlocking the partnership with eThekwini are now in sight, as communities now have a concrete upgrading strategy in which to channel their energy and lobbying. The metro has indicated a desire to provide more ablusion blocks too, and the success of the re-blocking project could have a considerable impact in the way upgrading is conceptualised in Durban and beyond.
Read the full project profile at: sasdialliance.org.za/projects/havelock/