The interplay of urban land tenurial systems and its effects on the poor: a case study of Manzini in Swaziland
Simelane, Hloniphile Yvonne
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This research examines the interrelationships between customary and statutory tenure systems in Swaziland, in relation to urban development. It also focuses on the assumptions, aspirations and practices of modern and traditional authorities in relation to the processes of urban development. The Swaziland Urban Development Project (SUDP) initiated in the late 1980’s, to upgrade informal settlements of Swaziland’s cities, is used to examine the extent to which these land tenure interrelationships impact on the residents and the upgrading of informal settlements. Implementation of the SUDP (insitu upgrading) in Manzini, only took place in 2007 – a decade after the original planned commencement date. This was because the traditional leaders of the informal settlements of Moneni area (an area where the project would be piloted), did not accept the project. Since the Government and the Municipal Council of Manzini did not want to use force (Municipal Council of Manzini, 2004) it entered into further negotiations. This study investigates why the project was not accepted, examines the role of the traditional leaders in the non-acceptance of the project and the changes in attitudes towards the project in 2007. In the process, it explores the diverse responses to the SUDP and the processes of negotiation between the traditional and urban authorities, demonstrating how both authorities fought for retention of their authority over the area and also for their own vision of ’development’. Such contestation resulted in protracted discussions on the part of the urban authorities, whilst the issue of authority remains inconclusive. To investigate the impact of these interactions on the residents of the informal settlements, the study interrogates the assumptions of the development planners (project officials from Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD), City Councils and the World Bank) with regard to the benefits of the project. The different understandings of development priorities, different assumptions about the outcomes of the SUDP and the complex interactions that occur between formal and traditional structures have undermined efforts to improve living conditions of the urban residents. This study demonstrates that these assumptions of policy-makers and planners and their aspirations are colonially inherent and based on western thinking about modernisation. The implementation of grandiose plans and the making of a beautiful city are pursued, whilst residents lament that from their perspective there is ‘no development’. In addition, the study takes cognisance of social differentiation - separately examining how women in the project area were affected by the project. This study therefore demonstrates that the main challenge underlying the process of improving the living conditions of informal settlements’ residents is the existence of different urban land tenure systems, managed by various authorities namely; urban authorities (government, municipalities) and traditional authorities, both asserting their legitimacy over the areas.
CitationSimelane, Hloniphile Yvonne (2013) The interplay of urban land tenurial systems and its effects on the poor: a case study of Manzini in Swaziland. Doctoral thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
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