chapter  9
24 Pages

Housing and Service Consumption in Soweto

Urban services in Johannesburg are of a comparatively high standard, so service delivery in contemporary Johannesburg has much to do with overcoming past inequities and integrating low-income citizens within the network of infrastructure and services enjoyed by better-off residents of the city. As such, the whole area of service provision is in some need of reform. At a macro level, there has been external pressure to seek private solutions to service delivery (Bond, 2000b, pp49-182), and at a meso level, there have been efforts to marry these imperatives with the aim of poverty reduction. Service improvements, especially water, electricity, policing and housing, are seen as key mechanisms for creating greater equality in Johannesburg (Beall, Crankshaw and Parnell, 2000). Chapter 6 provided a background to some of the structural and institutional dimensions associated with improving infrastructure and extending service provision. We argued in that chapter that the debate over iGoli 2002 and the privatization of services had taken the urban restructuring debate up a basicneeds cul de sac. In seeking to advance the services debate in Johannesburg, the focus of this chapter is on differential access to urban services in Johannesburg, with particular attention being paid to the challenges posed by different patterns of service consumption in Soweto. Specific reference is made to the area of Orlando East, the heart of sub-tenancy in Soweto and an area of contested service provision and consumption.