The Housing Policy That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Yes indeedy. This weekend the ANC tried to campaign in the shack settlements. The police were on hand to make the ground safe for democracy, but even then, the KwaZulu-Natal Premier couldn’t get into the settlements safely.

Some of this is captured in an article in Durban’s Mercury newspaper here which, although it has my byline, was definitely a team effort by the good people at the Centre for Civil Society, notably Stephanie Lane, Richards Pithouse and Ballard and, of course, S’bu Zikode and Mnikelo Ndabankulu.

As a gloss to the many of you from outside South Africa who visit Class Worrier, Jayraj Bachu is the councillor in one of Durban’s more well-to-do mainly Indian neighbourhoods, in which there are a number of shack settlements. Bachu has recently been praised for his successes in clearing the poor out of the middle class ghetto. Bachu has the good sense to cloak his interventions in terms of “helping house prices”. Other folk, notably the poisonous Amichand Rajbansia man who led the Indian collaboration with apartheid – have been embroiled in scandal over the past week, for wanting to keep certain areas “for Our Indians“. Bachu wants to help the middle class. Rajbansi wants to keep Chatsworth Indian. But both are effectively calling for the same thing – out with the African poor. This is the post-apartheid housing policy that dare not speak its name.