South African informal settlements in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic: an investigation of Stjwetla informal settlement resilience challenges against the COVID-19 pandemic

Sonono, Michelle Tatenda
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The world is currently experiencing an unprecedented global public health crisis -the COVID-19 pandemic. The threat of the pandemic is heightened by the existence of informal settlements in the global South. Using Stjwetla in Johannesburg as a case study, this research seeks to investigate the challenges that impact resilience building against the pandemic in informal settlements. The research employed a qualitative research design. The study revealed that while it is not clear how the disease affected the community, Stjwetla residents were affected by the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and the lockdown regulations. The capacity of Stjwetla residents to comply with the COVID-19regulations is highly differentiated and exposes substantial inequalities and injustices that predate the pandemic. Balancing the COVID-19 pandemic responses with the broader developmental and healthcare priorities is essential to ensure and strengthen the long-term resilience of Stjwetla informal settlement.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Urban Studies (Housing and Human Settlements) in the School of Architecture and Planning, 2022