Challenges faced by the EThekwini MunicipalityEThekwini Municipality is one of the biggest metros in South Africa, covering 2,291 km², with a population of +- 3 480 726. Such a large population is bound to face plenty of social challenges. The EThekwini NDP 2016/2017 states the following as challenges:High rates of unemployment and low economic growthHigh levels of povertyLow levels of skills development and literacyLimited access to basic household and community servicesIncreased incidents of HIV/AIDS and communicable diseasesLoss of Natural CapitalUnsustainable development practices High levels of crime and riskEnsuring adequate energy and water supplyEnsuring food securityInfrastructure degradationClimate changeEnsuring financial sustainabilityIneffectiveness and inefficiency of inward-looking local government still prevalent in the MunicipalityEnvironmentally sustainable.These are the factors that will determine whether the City reaches its mandate “By 2030 the eThekwini Municipality will enjoy the reputation of being Africa’s most liveable city, where all citizens live in harmony.
” Innovation social development within EThekwini Municipality: Smart City App : The Revenue Management Unit launched an app to allow customers to interact with the Municipality. This app has functions to report faults which is able to give the accurate location using GPS, emergency contact details, municipal alerts as well as customers’ revenue balance. This mobile application concept was introduced in 2014, however, has not been implemented to date. Blue Ablution Containers : Inasmuch as the Department of Human Settlements has been working the RDP project for a couple of years, these are some challenges the project faces rural to urban immigration, illegal RDP rentals, and illegal RDP house selling resulting in an ongoing cycle of existence of informal settlements.Due to such challenges EThekwini Water and Sanitation unit has introduced an innovative concept, Blue Ablution Containers.
Inside these containers are, toilet sets, showers as well as washing basin for laundry. Ideally, two containers one for each male and female are supposed to be installed in each informal settlement site.Rambrik : a project undertaken by USE-IT, under the EThekwini Waste Materials Recovery Industry Development Cluster. The project Rambrik -a high quality, cost-effective and environmentally friendly building material is made of compressed earth, recycled building rubble. Innovations outside EThekwini that have a great chance in being impactful in the EThekwini marginalised communities:Nubrix founded by Elijah Djan is creating bricks out of recycled paper.
He is planning on running a full safety test so he may be able to market the bricks as construction materials.Community help tool (Facebook) aims to helps family and friends connect with each other to check on their safety after an occurrence of a disaster. The tool also assists in gathering vital disaster relief resources, users are able to offer or look for help.
This tool was quite useful after the hectic storm that affected the majority of the EThekwini South region on the 10th of October 2017.WeatherHYDE, a reversible tent that accommodates occupants in all weather conditions. On cold days, the one side of the tent traps body heat to create warmth inside; on a hot day, the tent has reflective panels to keep out extreme heat.
London Ambulance Services is in the process of developing an app that connects with people for first-aid skills. Even in our day and age, we see people in marginalized areas being transported in wheelbarrows to the nearby clinics because the ambulance took a while to reach them. EarlySee is a smartphone application that helps to detect Autism Spectrum Disorder. This may be helpful in communities that cannot afford medical specialist while at the same time it will help parents understand more about the disorder. Children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder are frequently isolated from the community and labelled because people are not educated about such disorders. Most autistic individuals in marginalised communities drop out of school because parents do not see the need to invest in their education because of their condition.
I have met young people residing in marginalised communities with bright innovative ideas that will integrate environment, education, skills development. The people in these communities have solutions to their society’s challenges, however, they fall short when it comes to resources that they lose momentum to take their concept forward. This may be a result of lack confidence in themselves, and in the entities that have the resources required or just the dependency mentality.
There is so much potential that lies in innovation and the people in the marginalised regions of EThekwini Municipality. It is important that drive social development innovation with the people from the beginning as they know there situations and their environment, they have ideas that they may have thought are too fictional, yet they need resources and support to help put ideas into reality.