The integrated development plan and improved human settlement: housing in Thaba Nchu
Gopane, Khunoana Jemina
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Years after the 1994 democracy, many South African cities are still characterised by inadequate housing. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) mandates that it is a right of every citizen to have access to satisfactory housing. The three spheres of government are integrated and work together to provide the public with goods and services. The significant developmental approach by the South African establishments promotes the decentralisation of services to the local government. This research provided the relevance and potential of the integrated development plans (IDPs) in improving human settlements for the community of Thaba Nchu. The Municipal Systems Act, Act 32 of 2000, specifies the IDP as a strategic planning instrument to guide and inform all plans in the local government. The IDP is associated with the British linked-up administration where the planning responsibilities are done at local level, whereas the national level are responsible for the policies and finances. The purpose of community participation in the IDP process is to encourage the community to be beneficiaries of their own development preparation process. This research followed the qualitative study of forty-five (45) community members living in low-income subsidy houses and five (5) local government officials at Thaba Nchu. Semi structured one-to-one interviews were conducted for both the community members and the officials. The findings revealed that more households comprised of female-headed households who are single, divorced or widowed. Many participants were living on grants and others were unemployed. Twenty-four years later, the legacies of apartheid have contributed to the inequality between communities, as more females were still unemployed and still had responsibilities to take care of their families. The community’s description of the IDP involved the process of attending meetings and did not specify the statutory requirements. The other share of community members still did not have any knowledge of the IDP. The community participation at Thaba Nchu was satisfactory; more community members attended the meetings and knew about the community needs. The IDP is a significant tool to enable the community to participate in their community, as well as including different stakeholders to be part of the decision-making process. The officials had a strong knowledge of the IDP and considered the IDP as a significant tool to improve human settlements. The incomplete houses were contributed to the limited access to resources. The findings further revealed that for provision of services to improve, there must be a good relationship between different stakeholders. The completion of houses remained a crucial issue to the community of Thaba Nchu. A number of the community members stated that their houses were still incomplete. Improvements to human settlements by providing basic services such as bathrooms and ceilings have changed how people perceive the role of government, and in this instance, a positive feedback was awarded. There was effective communication between the local government and the community. The councillor and the ward committee played a role in being the first point of contact for their community. The community members stated that if they were employed, they could contribute to finish their houses and do the changes to their houses themselves. Thorough training about the IDP will be beneficial for the community. The community needs to receive feedback from all their community meetings, as this would also encourage more community participation. Better quality houses with good facilities were adequate and promoted the sustainable human settlement. A solution to the incomplete houses can be to hire accountable and reliable contractors to finish the work.