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Thread: A microcosm of SA?

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    A microcosm of SA?

    There is a constant tension between those that have the wealth and those that don't. To me this is universal across the world. In Hout Bay the divide is so clear that it is bound to lead to problems unless it is resolved healthily.

    From the squalor of their overcrowded existence, the shantytown inhabitants share a spectacular view of the Hout Bay harbour and surrounding mountains with millionaire neighbours in one of the city's most valuable property markets.

    But living within a stone's throw from each other, the communities have little else in common and tensions are rising as squatters grow impatient with delivery of government housing and threats of land grabs make headlines.

    --

    Ehrenreich said it was natural for the haves to protect their interests.

    "But there has to be a balance. Black people have so little because white people have so much," he said.

    "These inequalities will come back to haunt us and will tear apart our country. It is not sustainable."

    Full story on M&G
    What are the possible resolutions to this situation? On the one extreme we have land invasions, on the other we have the Hout Bay residents building houses for the squatters. Where to for the people of Hout Bay and Imizamo Yethu?
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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    "But there has to be a balance. Black people have so little because white people have so much," he said.

    Some of us actually work for our money and don't expect government to drop a piggy bank in our laps every few days...

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKS Computer Solutions View Post
    Some of us actually work for our money and don't expect government to drop a piggy bank in our laps every few days...
    I feel that is a fairly unreasonable statement. Some of us grew up with all the opportunities available to us.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Black people have so little because white people have so much," he said.
    Ehrenreich
    There is a thesis in that one sentence.

    Here's another quote revealing the same paradigm:
    "People are starting to understand they are being deprived because other people are holding on."
    I'm not even going to attempt to cover all the ground tonight that the subject deserves, but here are some thought prompters:

    How valid are these paradigms?
    • "I am rich, therefor one of my objectives is to keep you poor?"
    • "I can only stay rich by keeping you poor"
    • "I can only get rich by making someone else poor"


    What is the difference between being broke and being poor?

    Are the poor victims of people with a plan, or victims of no plan?

    At the risk of being misunderstood as a result of not laying the ground adequately - here is my view:

    I'm continually disappointed that this is still framed as a racial problem. In the QSE consultations, I pointed out that there was no incentive for people of colour with means to help in social redress issues. The response was "Of course not. It is the duty of white people only." This from a man I have some knowledge of. A man of colour, descended of a very wealthy family. It was said part in jest and I tried not to throw up too visibly.

    Civil society does need to come up with a plan to help the poor out of the poverty cycle - that deadly reality and mindset loop - in all societies where there is such a yawning chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
    That's not a Hout Bay thing. It's not a black/white thing. It's not a South African thing. It's a global challenge.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    • "I am rich, therefore one of my objectives is to keep you poor?"
    • "I can only stay rich by keeping you poor"
    • "I can only get rich by making someone else poor"
    Maybe you missed one? "I only care about myself, and making sure I stay rich" (whether that is real or perceived wealth may not matter).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    The response was "Of course not. It is the duty of white people only." This from a man I have some knowledge of. A man of colour, descended of a very wealthy family. It was said part in jest and I tried not to throw up too visibly.
    I'm not sure his shoes would have made it if it was me

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Civil society does need to come up with a plan to help the poor out of the poverty cycle - that deadly reality and mindset loop - in all societies where there is such a yawning chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
    That's not a Hout Bay thing. It's not a black/white thing. It's not a South African thing. It's a global challenge.
    The biggest problem is that as the chasm grows the possibility of chaos erupting looms larger — even in the most developed country. Unfortunately for the wealthy the numbers are not on their side.

    But let's look at Hout Bay as an example. What are the options to diffuse the situation? I would guess these are some of the problems,

    • Too many people, too little land for them (in Imizamo Yethu)
    • Water and electricity provision
    • Sanitation
    • Property value (possible impact on affluent residents)
    • Growth rate of Imizamo Yethu (goes back to first point)
    • Large differences between living standards, which are blatantly obvious


    I think that it is important to keep in mind that a lot of these people are struggling and concerned with a few basics,

    "I want a proper house, a toilet, water and electricity," Mgedezi says -- a wish echoed by neighbours.

    "Life here is difficult," laments Maphelo Skade (23). "It is difficult to keep out the wind and rain. When it's hot it's really hot and when it's cold it's really cold."
    Are their dreams not what ours would be in the same situation?

    Now the resolutions are the hard bits. Let's assume that someone (government or other) wanted to provide housing for everyone there. Is there enough land to make this viable? If not, who gets to stay? And if this was done, would this slow the growth of the area (population wise) or hasten it?

    Sorry, I just seem to have questions at this stage, no solutions or suggestions yet.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    The biggest problem is that as the chasm grows the possibility of chaos erupting looms larger — even in the most developed country.
    That's exactly why we can't ignore the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    But let's look at Hout Bay as an example. What are the options to diffuse the situation? I would guess these are some of the problems,

    • Too many people, too little land for them (in Imizamo Yethu)
    • Water and electricity provision
    • Sanitation
    • Property value (possible impact on affluent residents)
    • Growth rate of Imizamo Yethu (goes back to first point)
    • Large differences between living standards, which are blatantly obvious
    I'm assuming it's that area on the mountain above the town. The fundamental problem there is that the area is totally inappropriate for high density low cost housing, I think.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    I think the problem is that the people don't understand the affects that low cost housing in that area will cause. If you look at it currently it is a high priced area, thus securing a nifty income to municipality (Property taxes, etc). There is also the affect it might have on tourism... There is also the cost of have having to build on that land (as stated by Dave).

    I am sure there are more factors, but I will leave that open for discussion.

    The thing is that people are un-educated in this regard, and let us be honest, the government is not looking for the best, they are looking for the cheapest, and to build any type of housing there, like Dave stated, is just not going to be cheap.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanfx View Post
    The thing is that people are un-educated in this regard, and let us be honest, the government is not looking for the best, they are looking for the cheapest, and to build any type of housing there, like Dave stated, is just not going to be cheap.
    I'm actually quite interested in solutions that the residents implement themselves. I wonder if the residents could come up with a scheme and offer it to the government in return for property tax relief.

    Also, there are some tourist benefits to Imizama Yethu too. Township tours, arts and crafts, food, houses (I'm sure there are some fascinating shacks), etc.
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    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    If the residents can come up with some solutions in aid of government, i think that they will see that people here are willing to help, and just maybe it will speed up any type of housing.

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