Temporary relocation areas. Transit camps. Government shacks. These names all mean the same thing: shantytowns that were officially built to 'temporarily' house residents from squatter camps and inner-city slums until formal housing is provided for them. But, says South Africa's Business Day newspaper, these communities are no longer temporary. Now, they are government-created slums.
Business Day looks at Blikkiesdorp (tin town), a relatively orderly relocation area that was constructed last year, and nearby Tsunami, already run down and decrepit more than 4 years after it was built. And it mentions one temporary relocation area, the inappropriately named Happy Valley, that was erected more than 12 years ago and has now become a vast and permanent squatter settlement.
"In most cases, these camps are far from the cities where people live, work and school," says the organizing group Abahlali baseMjondolo. "People are taken there against their will with no guarantees about the conditions there, how long they will be kept there and where, if anywhere, they will be taken next."