Covid-19: De-densification

Though de-densification seems inarguably reasonable under the call of social-distancing, the list of ripple effects of a plan like minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s is long and complex. There also exists a lack of transparency which makes it impossible to predict fully what these effects might be. For example, who are the assisting NGOs she mentions? Taking into account the historically justified mistrust of government-sponsored temporary removal and the negligence with which these plans are often drafted, how do people respond to this state-sanctioned form of forced removal? What are the primary concerns and what would it mean to have basic needs met through dignified processes? What are the long-term implications?


Axolile Notywala is an activist and General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition, a grassroots social-movement campaigning for safe, healthy, and dignified communities in some of South Africa’s most underdeveloped townships.

Marie Huchzermeyer is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits University where she convenes the Master of Urban Studies degree.

Edward Molopi works as a Research and Advocacy Officer at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), a litigating research NGO based in Johannesburg.