“We are all agreed that there is a serious crisis in our country. We are being forced off our land and out of our cities. For too long, we have been subject to evictions from our homes. For too long, the promise of housing has been downgraded to forced removal to a transit camp. These transit camps are more like prisons.” – Abahlali baseMjondolo statement of demands, March 2011  

The number of informal settlements in South Africa has grown from 300 in 1994 to 2600 in 2011. The housing backlog has grown from 1.5-million in 1994 and now stands at approximately 2.1-million. That means approximately 12-million South Africans are still in need of better shelter.

The world’s slums are growing, too, with the number people living in such dire conditions now at the 1 billion mark – making up 32 per cent of the global urban population, according to UN-HABITAT’s new Global Report on Human Settlements 2003. The world will see this figure double in the next 30 years unless a concerted effort is undertaken to alleviate the situation. UN-Habitat reports that around 2 million people, most of them slum-dwellers, are forcibly evicted every year. The effects of forced evictions on slum-dwellers are often disastrous, leaving them homeless and forcing them deeper into poverty.