Wednesday, February 15, 2006

South Africa: will things be better for squatters after the election?

With elections set for March 1st in South Africa, squatters appear ready to continue to support the African National Congress, according to this dispatch from News24. But they are frank about their disappointments. "We've always voted and we will this time as well," said one. "But we've never seen any difference. There have just been promises, but no change."

The statistics are dire:
"In Cape Town alone, there are an estimated 260 000 families on the waiting list for housing. Less than 12 000 new homes were built in 2004, down from a 1997-98 peak of 43 800.

Nationwide, the number of households in shacks rose from 1.45 million to 1.84 million - a 26% increase, according to housing ministry figures since the country's first all-race elections in 1994. This was despite the government spending nearly R30bn to build about 1.8 million new homes in just under 12 years."

Both the ruling ANC and the upstart Democratic Alliance claim that they will efficiently deliver services and crack down on corruption. But no one on the ground seems to believe them.

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