||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (December 2007)|
|Municipality||City of Johannesburg|
|• Total||12.00 km2 (4.63 sq mi)|
|• Density||12,000/km2 (30,000/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||98.0%|
|First languages (2011)|
|• Northern Sotho||22.8%|
|• S. Ndebele||10.5%|
|Postal code (street)||2189|
Diepsloot is a densely populated settlement in the north of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is located in the newly formed Region A (formerly regions 1 and 2). It is made up of government-subsidised housing, brick houses built by landowners as well as shacks. These shacks are built on any piece of land with nothing already on it. Some landowners charge rent to others to stay in a shack on their land
Diepsloot West township is not far from the wealthy suburbs of Dainfern and Chartwell, and was established in 1995 as a transit camp for people who had been removed from Zevenfontein. Here, 1124 plots were made available. People were to stay in the transit camp until land became available. For many, this camp became a permanent home. The Transvaal Provincial Administration, which was then the local authority, developed the plots into formal housing stands. In 1999, the former Northern Municipality Local Council began to initiate development. There were about 4 000 families living in backyard shacks and 6 035 families in the reception area, a transit zone established by the city council, says Alan Kitchin, the special projects assistant director in the City of Johannesburg's housing department.
To compound the congestion, in 2001 the Gauteng government moved about 5000 families to Diepsloot from the banks of the Jukskei River in Alexandra. The move, part of the Alexandra Renewal Project, was intended "to de-congest and address the need to create a healthy and clean living environment" in Alexandra, one of South Africa's oldest townships. The aim was also to prevent shacks being washed away when the river flooded, something that happened year after year. The influx of people from Alexandra placed further strain on the already stretched resources in Diepsloot. The relocated families did not qualify for housing benefits.
So far, 4900 Reconstruction and Development Programme houses have been constructed in Diepsloot; another 737 housing stands with water and sanitation facilities have been allocated. The national housing policy has moved away from the mass provision of standard RDP houses: it now follows the People's Housing Process model, a project being implemented in Diepsloot West. RDP houses are still being constructed, but the new process has the state provide a subsidy that covers the cost of building a house. The prospective home owner is expected to pay a portion of the costs.
Diepsloot is now home to about 150,000 people; many of them live in shacks 3 m by 2 m assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard. Some families lack access to basic services such as running water, sewage and rubbish removal. All extensions except for extension 5 have tar roads, drainage and street lights. Members of the local council live in all extensions except extension 5.
Extension 5 often gets flooded in the heavy summer rains as the water from the mall also runs down into their roads. Residents use paraffin stoves and coal for cooking, and candles for light. Some shacks have electricity and use a prepaid meter, but this is becoming increasingly expensive and is used sparingly. City officials estimate that half the population in the settlement is unemployed.
Diepsloot featured on the BBC program Law and Disorder in Johannesburg. Karl Pilkington visited Diepsloot and talked to a group of students as a part of Season Two of An Idiot Abroad in 2011. The residents marveled at his perfectly round head.
- "Main Place Diepsloot". Census 2011.
- City of Johannesburg website
- Constant Fear and Mob Rule in South Africa Slum, The New York Times, June 2009