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Durban in Motion
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Urban crisis and the apartheid state response: South African housing policy in the 1980s
Fumanekile Fumie Gqiba
A dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the MSc in Urban Planning (Housing in Development), submitted to the University College, London (Development Unit). The aim of this dissertation is an attempt to expose what lies hidden behind the government's "orderly urbanization" policies with regard to housing. It attempts to account for why "orderly urbanization" policy for Africans are essentially devices of political control. This is done by presenting a critical analysis of political issues associated with the policy such as the May-June 1986 destruction of the Crossroads squatter settlement - once the symbol of the African spirit of resistance and no surrender to apartheid strategies - by the state sponsored "witdoeke", the upgrading of the so-called "oil-spots" in African townships as a way of promoting the top-down Black Local Authorities (BLAs), the extensive amendments to Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act (1986 and 1989) in order to control both legal and "illegal" informal settlements, and the scrapping of the pass laws which regulated the urbanization process of the Africans. All these repressive and reformist manoeuvres, it is argued, were part and parcel of the counter-revolutionary strategy of the government, designed to ride out the deepening organic crisis and to retain control.
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