‘Development sometimes bad for the poor’

2009-06-29 00:00

Development around the province sometimes happens at the cost of poor people, delegates heard at summit on church, poverty and land held in the city by the KZN Christian Council (KZNCC) on Friday.

Speakers from a range of organisations testified that people living in informal settlements had been evicted and “relocated” to make way for developments like property and roads.

KZNCC chairman, the Anglican Bishop of Natal, Bishop Rubin Phillip, said there was a definite link between evictions and poverty because people moved from informal settlements were often relocated far from employment opportunities.

He said the church was “definitely not convinced that moving people was always necessary. There is adequate land and instead of moving people, developers could seek alternative sites for development.

“Where it is absolutely necessary, the authorities must consult communities … There has been a very heavy-handed approach to removing people. Naturally, they react and resist. There is very little consultation and it has been a very ‘teacher tell’ approach. It would be much better if it was a partnership.”

Phillip said the summit was called to look at practical ways the church could address the problems of poverty, unemployment and gender issues.

The summit included presentations by a range of stakeholders in land affairs, including the Landless People’s Movement, the Farmers’ Union and the Church Land Programme.

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