Today, on Mandela Day, we reflect on the difficult conditions faced by residents of informal settlements and the challenges they face in accessing basic services.

Since the beginning of July, 2018, the City of Johannesburg has been conducting an Expanded Social Package (ESP) awareness campaign in Slovo Park and Elias Motsoaledi informal settlements, encouraging residents to register on the city’s indigent list “to access electricity and water rebates, as well as other forms of social support”

SERI’s Tiffany Ebrahim and Maanda Makwarela have written this op-ed considering the use of the ESP in informal settlements and how it excludes poor households (whom it is meant to serve) from access to even the most basic of services.

“The ESP is touted as a lifeline for thousands of residents of Johannesburg, but will likely not apply to residents of informal settlements like Slovo Park who are still waiting for their settlements to be upgraded through improved access to basic services. Informal settlements generally have high rates of unemployment and lack access to metered services such as water and electricity. These factors make it highly unlikely that informal settlement residents will qualify for ESP subsidies.”

  • Read the full op-ed here.
  • Read more about the struggles of the Slovo Park community here.