Cape Town is an exploding city. In the 12 months since lockdown began, 50 new informal settlements have sprung up. Between 30,000 and 40,000 new shacks sit on top of sand dunes, in winter wetlands, on railway reserves, on and between the tracks themselves, in nature reserves and sandwiched into small pockets of public land, adjoining public buildings, churches and on land reserved for bulk sewerage works.

The settlements have been named in accordance with the times: Covid; Sanitiser; Coronavirus and Ramaphosa. Some have a sense of humour too: there is Lockdown Bay and the Waterfront, which borders a large piece of water, in a low-lying area, that looks sure to become a floodplain over the winter. None have access to toilets and people make use of the open ground. They also do not have water and must buy it from neighbouring formal settlements...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now