By Patrick Matsemela (on behalf of FEDUP)
2013 was a special year for Gogo Mmapule Mohale. After she saved for 14 years, we began building her house in Maboloka in North West Province. She started saving with the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) in 1999. FEDUP is a women-led social movement that empowers communities to start community saving schemes. It is also one of two social movements that forms the South African Shack Dwellers Alliance. At meetings Gogo Mmapule Mohale would always tell other members,
“I am not in a hurry. I know that I will have the house of my dreams. What needs to happen is that we must negotiate with government for more support”
Now, Gogo Mohale is 87 years old and received her house.
FEDUP – North West Network
In the North West, the FEDUP network is formed by four to six savings groups. We have six local facilitators and one regional facilitator. Federation network members meet once a month, where they bring different reports from different savings groups. They also share information on their different groups and compile a report for the regional meeting. The report also requests support on issues raised in network meetings.
Through FEDUP saving schemes, communities can develop their own knowledge and capacities, build houses and acquire land. In South Africa FEDUP has about 1500 savings and credit groups which range from a minimum of 15 to a maximum 500 members. If communities save small amounts of money, collect information and use this to negotiate with government they have a better chance of securing entitlements, strengthening themselves and leading their own development plans. FEDUP has used its collective power to lobby government and access the housing subsidy programme. In this way it strongly influenced the governments’s low-income housing policy, the People’s Housing Process (PHP) and later, the enhanced People’s Housing Process (ePHP). uTshani Fund is FEDUPs own housing finance facility and account administrator.
The North West / FEDUP Pledge
Gogo’s house was one of 200 hundred houses that were pledged to be built in Maboloka. The Maboloka project was part of several housing projects in Mafikeng Municipality in North West Province which was part of a national housing pledge signed in 2006 between uTshani Fund and the National Department of Housing and then minister, Lindiwe Sisulu. The pledge was for 1000 subsidies with which to build houses throughout South Africa. The other projects in North West Province were in Lethabong, Jericho&Legonyane, Oukasie Lethabile, Mafikeng and Madinyane.
Lethabong, for example, would receive 96 subsidy houses. As FEDUP we managed to build 89 houses. For this we won the runner up to the North West award for best enhanced People’s Housing Process (ePHP). For us as FEDUP the PHP needs to be focused on the community. The most important thing about this project was that it was led by the community. We want them to lead the construction, administration and project management. This happens through the Community Construction Management Team (CCMT) which is formed by community members who hold the positions of project manager, procurement officer, bookkeeper, administrator and community liaison officer. The houses that FEDUP members receive are bigger (54m²) than RDP houses (36m² or 40m²).
We are happy that after so many years of saving together, Gogo Mohale now has her own house. For other FEDUP savings groups to achieve what Gogo Mohale did, we still need more support from government.