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Masterclass addresses urban safety in informal settlements
The City together with the Africa Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) wrapped up Day 1 of a three-day Masterclass on Urban Safety Governance in Informal Settlements.

The event which is been held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium runs from 27-29 June.

The Masterclass will reflect on the practices and challenges of policy, strategy, practice and knowledge management. The overarching purpose, is to explore how eThekwini Municipality can better address issues of safety in informal settlements to effectively meet local needs.
Informal settlements are home to most vulnerable citizens. They are disproportionately exposed to health issues, violence, absence of public services, and other socio-economic deficits.

EThekwini Councillor Nthandoyenkosi Khuzwayo of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Portfolio Committee welcomed participants to the masterclass. Khuzwayo commented that the Municipality through the Human Settlements Unit and strategic partners has engaged with communities living in informal settlements, collected useful information and started to implement social and infrastructural programmes which allows people living in informal settlements access to social and key services required for human existence.

Khuzwayo said that it is now a growing reality that implementing social programmes and providing relevant services contribute to a sense of community, social cohesion and safer communities who live in peace and harmony within an acceptable model of co-existence. “We still have a lot to learn; hence we are hosting this masterclass to present our approach for input, learn from best practices; and hopefully you will be able to contribute towards better implementation of the programmes to advance safety through informal settlement upgrading,” he concluded.

EThekwini Municipality Human Settlements Senior Manager: Faizal Seedat, shared insights on the strategy, principles and approaches to the Informal Settlement Upgrading Programme in eThekwini.  He said that the City has installed sanitation blocks and electricity in most informal settlements with a number of services to be included in the coming years.

Seedat said that over 560 urban informal settlements comprising 233,000 households, which makes up nearly a quarter of the City’s population, still needs to be addressed.

Today’s session ended with a site visit to the Blackburn Village, an informal settlement with more than 2500 informal dwelling units, which is situated within the Cornubia Integrated Human Settlement project.

The UN Habitat introduced the Safer Cities programme in 1996 and eThekwini joined the programme in 1999. Since then, the City has benefited from technical support from the UN -Habitat and have since developed a crime and violence prevention strategy. The implementation of the strategy is coordinated through a dedicated Safer Cities Unit.
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