A case of mistaken identity: the squatters of Lesotho

Type Working Paper
Title A case of mistaken identity: the squatters of Lesotho
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1983
URL http://mobile.opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/123456789/1951#.VpIcRhWLShc
Urbanisation in Lesotho, whilst of limited scale, has nonetheless been characterised by the rapid growth of unplanned settlements, mostly in peri-urban locations. This paper documents this development and describes conditions in the peri-urban cormunities. Reasons are then advanced to explain the lack of governmental involvement in peri-urban redevelopment. One of the major reasons is the failure to appreciate the nature of the problem; that these communities are permanent rather than transitory, urban rather than rural in orientation, character and demands and, notwithstanding the existence of allocation procedures, possess no incontestable right to the land they occupy. This is reinforced by the restriction of urban administration to a fraction of the contemporary urban area. In the case of Maseru, this factor, and efforts to extend urban administration to the peri-urban communities, are analysed in some detail. It is suggested at this juncture that the transfer of periurban land to Township jurisdiction confronts and is delayed by urban and rural vested interests which profit from the improper distribution of land to rural-urban migrants. The paper then concludes by evaluating the major programmes directed at housing redevelopment, and points out that they benefit only a small percentage of the disadvantaged population primarily because the situation has been allowed to deteriorate for too long a time.

Related studies