Working together to improve township life in Franschoek
Langrug residents are not waiting for the government to deliver – they are forging their own future.
They conduct research and submit proposals to Stellenbosch municipality on how improvements can be made in their neighbourhood and get involved in making the improvements.
Children run down a hill in Langrug, Franschoek.
The collaborative upgrading project, started and funded by Stellenbosch municipality in 2010, brings together UCT, the Community Resource Centre (Corc) and Shack Dwellers International and allows residents to take active steps to improve their surroundings rather than looking to the government to deliver.
The municipality asked Langrug residents to do research, identify problems and propose improvements, said Langrug project manager Aditya Kumar.
With the help of Stellenbosch municipality, the informal settlement in Franschhoek has received grey water channels, a new jungle gym and had toilets painted. Health forums were also set up to help people with HIV/Aids and TB.
“People were getting sick with rashes and diarrhoea because of the grey water,” community leader Trevor Masiy said. “With the grey water channels things are much better.”
Residents and municipality staff meet monthly to find solutions to the need for housing and services
Stellenbosch municipality’s David Carolissen said they had realised “building our way out of the housing crisis is an unattainable pipedream”.
“We found that the government cannot continue to deliver services for the poor without their active and meaningful contribution.”
The municipality has pledged over R10 million to spend on improvements in Langrug over the next three years. The money is to be used for basic services.
With assistance from UCT, residents took courses in legislation and human rights and learnt how to use geographic information systems.
“We’re doing things differently here,” said UCT’s Tanja Winkler. “The residents and students worked together and together learnt to draw and come up with plans.”
Ideas were presented to the municipality earlier this year.
Residents are also planning a tourist walking route.
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