The City of Cape Town proposes to spend more than R850 million over the medium term (between the 2018-’19 to 2020-’21 financial years) on informal settlements upgrades and backyarder services. This is reflected in the City’s Draft Budget which is currently open for public participation. As part of the City’s drive to transform living conditions in informal settlements, some R713 million is earmarked to be spent by the City’s Informal Settlements and Backyarder Department on backyarder service provision and the informal settlements upgrade programme over the next three years. At the same time, R150 million is expected to be spent on electricity services to backyard dwellers by the City’s Electricity Services Department. The mainstreaming of basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers, and achieving excellence in basic service delivery in general, are pillars of the City’s transformational priorities in accordance with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan. The roll-out of the City’s backyarder and upgrade programmes are absolutely dependent on the cooperation of the communities involved and the support from the beneficiaries and other partners. “The proposed spend is part of the continuing shift that is occurring in the human settlements sphere,” says Councillor Xanthea Limberg, City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy. “The delivery model where government is the sole provider of housing opportunities, which consist mostly of costly formal housing characterised by lengthy processes, is unsustainable. “The increased focus on backyarders, the upgrading of informal settlements and associated expansion of services is therefore a wave of change that is rolling over the human settlement sphere. We are hoping that this focus will enable us to not only improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents but that, going forward, we will be able to provide housing opportunities on a larger scale than before.”The Public Participation Process for the City’s Draft Budget for 2018-’19 ends on 4 May. Submit your comment on the Draft Budget via City’s online portal or other channels.