Housing rights and FIFA World Cup 2010 Games

14 October 2008

Business Day report: "Poor should not be hidden, rights group tells SA"

"SA, AND the eThekwini municipality in particular, need to move away from the idea that the poor should be hidden from view in world-class cities, the Geneva-based Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) warns in a scathing report.

Durban might be hailed for the many low-cost homes it is building, but it has been accused by the centre of evicting hundreds of shack dwellers illegally, of building houses far from the city, and of building small, poor-quality homes.

The municipality was also criticised for its failure to provide sufficient basic services to those shack dwellers still waiting to be placed in houses, leading to a high number of shack fires and sanitation problems, allegations that have been denied by the city`s head of housing, Couglan Pather.

The Swiss-based research has implications ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, with concerns by civil rights organisations that instead of the government dealing effectively with the poor, they will simply be shipped out of the cities ahead of the event.

Durban was criticised during the Fifa 2010 preliminary draw in November for its removal of street children, some of whom were allegedly housed at Westville Prison.

COHRE said SA as a whole had seen a `disturbing shift in recent years from pro-poor and rights-based discourse with regard to shack settlements to one that is more security based and sometimes anti-poor`."

Full report: Business Day

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