SA dealing with ‘Haiti-like situation’ everyday: Sexwale

2010-01-28 14:02

SOUTH Africa is dealing with a “Haiti like situation” every day

with squatters around the country enduring floods, fires and disease, Human

Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said today.

“We are dealing every day with a man-made disaster,” Sexwale said

during a briefing to Parliament’s human settlements committee.

“It is Haiti every day. The earth broke there. Here the earth is

not broken, but consequences are the same. It is a disaster.”

Sexwale said that in 1994 there were around 300 informal

settlements in South Africa, while today there were more than 2 600.

The growth of informal settlements was not the fault of the

government, he said.

“People have run away from many push factors.

“These are refugees in our own country. It is a disaster. This is

disaster management, but with a view of creating assets, with a view of giving

those people a better quality of life.”

People were also being pulled towards built-up areas to find work,

to reconnect with families broken up by single cell hostel systems created by

mining houses and to be closer to amenities.

“They are like all of us. They want schools, cinemas.

“They want shopping malls. So when they park next to a highway

don’t blame them. They go (to) the highway because it brings them closer to

getting bread.”

Sexwale said in one township he came across children blowing up

used condoms as though they were balloons.

“They pick up anything that shines,” he said.

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