Research Johannesburg in Gauteng Province, and the

Research
Topic “Assessing the quality of life in Informal Settlements in the City of
Johannesburg, focusing on Alexandra informal settlement”.

Introduction

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Informal
settlements also referred to as slums or squatter camps. The UN Habitat refer
to Informal settlements as residential areas where dwellers do not have
security, the neighbourhood usually lack basic services and city
infrastructure, houses are of low quality and do not comply with current
planning and building regulations, these areas are often situated in
geographically and environmentally hazardous areas, where people’s lives could
be in danger because of the environment they live in, most residents in these
areas are very poor and unemployed or earn less than minimum wage therefore
cannot afford adequate housing for their families (Habitat III, 2016).

The
study aims to investigate the causes, impact and solutions to Informal
settlements around City of Johannesburg in Gauteng Province, and the rural-
urban migration, its link to informal settlement. Gauteng Province is one of
the nine provinces in South Africa, and is defined by 2 of the nation’s largest
cities, namely Pretoria and City of Johannesburg; this study will specifically
focus on Informal settlements in the City of Johannesburg which is one of the
cities in Gauteng. The Province has an area of 18.176 km² with population of
12.27 million (Stats SA, 2011). The City of Johannesburg is one of the richest
cities in South Africa and Africa as a continent, this city is affectionately
referred to as “The city of Gold” or “Jozi Maboneng”, the name “The city of
Gold” is influenced by the fact that Gold is the most mined mineral and
contributes a large percentage to the economy of the province and the country.
City of Johannesburg is 1 645 km² in Area, and the large majority of population
in this city is black African. Mining (legally / Illegal) and Industries were
the first economic generators for the city, with most minerals exported (https://joburg.org.za/index.php?option=com_search&Itemid=257).

This
city is considered to be the economic hub of the Province. In 2016 Stats SA
(community survey) reported 160 889 informal households in the City of
Johannesburg alone. “Studies found that there are quite number of issues that
lead to rural-urban migration such as rural poverty and unemployment” (Chidi,
2010). Studies show that people move from rural area to urban areas in search
for better opportunities and hope to find good jobs, cities become overcrowded
and cannot accommodate everyone moving in, most people end up in Informal
settlements while they look for jobs, or end up settling in Informal
settlements which are just outside of the city close to the city centre and where
they are close to transport facilities and workplace, this is convenience sake.
Studies also found that eradication of informal settlements is an on-going
process that needs to be sped up because of the rate at which South African
population is increasing. In the study notably is the backlog in housing and
services that has a lot of South African dissatisfied with service delivery and
this is due to a lack of commitment, capacity and experience of officials
mandated to bring development to the area. Recommendation of the study include,
increasing of capacity, doing away with corruption, community empowerment, and
monitoring of performance. “There is a direct link between rural urban
migration and the sprawling of urban Informal settlements. Johannesburg is a
melting pot which requires urgent attention” (Chidi, 2010), there have been
multiple violent protests because of lack of service delivery caused by
incompetence.

Aim

The
aim of the research is to assess the Quality of Life in Informal Settlements,
focusing on Housing and the environment.

Objective

1. To
assess the quality of houses in Alexandra Informal settlement

2. To
assess the environmental issues in the settlement

3. To
determine how the issues (Housing and environmental) affect people living in
the settlement

4. To
determine what can be done to help address the issues, and improve people’s
lives

Problem
Statement

The
problem being addressed in this study is the low quality of life in informal
settlements.

Informal
Settlements are known to have very low quality of life, houses are not up to
the standard of living, the environment is much polluted and can cause harm to
those living in the area. In the past couple of years there have been reports
of houses being washed away by storms and heavy rains in informal settlements
leaving families homeless, also reported is the polluted environment where most
people have been affected by smoke during winter, and the smell of rubbish
lying everywhere in the area. If the government cares about its people, then
these issues of housing and pollution in informal settlements should be
addressed and sorted.