We know that more than half of all households in our major Metros exist in the reviled townships that the pre-1994 government established far from the city and town centres.
Even so, we have seen only minimal improvements there, since the advent of democracy. Nothing much has changed for township dwellers.
According to a report by the World Bank, titled “Economics of South African Townships: Special Focus on Diepsloot”, which was published last year, our urban landscape comprises three distinct parts: formal and highly serviced urban areas, the spatially disconnected and poorly serviced townships and then the generally neglected informal settlements.
More than half of our country’s urban population live in the latter two areas. Of these, sadly, 60% are unemployed. This is definitely not a good story to tell. It is a very bad situation that needs immediate attention.
Congress of the People believes that we must take some ideas from the World Bank report to transform our townships. COPE will, accordingly, strive to win support for the following plan –
integrate townships into the economic and social fabric of the towns and cities;
stimulate artisanal enterprises and facilitate the establishment of co-operatives;
provide extensive free educational and skills training opportunities for the people who live there;
improve both general and community policing;
create a dynamic middle-income economic structure on a large scale within the townships that will host a range of robust businesses, both labour intensive and small enterprises, that are suited to absorbing the skill levels already available there;
Improve the climate for investments in townships by fighting crime, providing small businesses with access to credit, granting residents title deeds where this has not happened, and improving public sector services;
mobilize local communities to own and drive a development plan, and
provide a coherent overall strategic approach to township transformation and integration with the city.
The authorities have piles of research but lack the political will to alter the apartheid geography with gusto, continues to plague our nation. We are determined to alter the status quo. We are committed to transforming the serially neglected townships and informal settlement areas.
COPE is determined to win support for the measures listed above. The party structures will take the community through all the above, step by step, and allow these communities to give their inputs. Then, when communities fully own the plan, we will fight to see that the plan gains support and is implemented.
For the above reason, we have opened our Local Government Elections recruitment drive to all patriotic citizens regardless of whether they belong to our party or not. We need action people and worthy citizens to help transform apartheid geography once and for all.
Cope needs people who are honest, accountable, responsive and committed. We know that there are a lot of good men and women who love our country, and want them to participate in rescuing our country before it slides into a disaster.
We are, presently, greatly encouraged that people are coming forward to serve.
Issued by Dennis Bloem,Dennis Bloem is Cope Spokesperson