My house is my castle. The South African housing policy 1994-2004: an evaluation. (Madelon ten Cate)


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1 research proposal


1.1 Introduction


1.1.1 Problem statement


During the apartheid years, South African housing policy was not only inefficient, but even “racially inequitable”[1]. Under the Government of National Unity, the housing difficulty was addressed as a serious problem and policy proposals and the adoption of housing laws promised a bright future in this sense. The ANC implemented a single national housing policy administered through one national housing department, hoping this would contribute to the cultural, economic and social development of the entire society and therefore improve people’s total living conditions[2]. Yet ten years after the transition from apartheid to democracy, the housing policy does not look as successful as expected.


The South African democratisation process is often referred to as a political miracle. One of the reasons for this characterisation is the emphasis on human rights in the new constitution. During the negotiations towards democracy, the new government adopted for example the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution and established a South African Human Rights Commission. Moreover, the inclusion of first (political and civil) and second (socio-economical) rights in the Bill of Rights was seen as a special expression of attention for human rights matters. As Nelson Mandela stated in his inauguration-speech: “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.”[3]


The South Africa Bill of Rights contains a lengthy list of socio-economic rights, which the drafters hoped would protect and assist those disadvantaged by apartheid and those who are poor and vulnerable[4]. One of the striking socio-economical rights that is included in the Bill of Rights is the right to housing. In Chapter 2 - also known as the Bill of Rights - of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, section 26 is entitled “Housing”. It defines the right to housing as follows:


(1) Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing.

(2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.

(3) No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.[5]


During the apartheid years, millions of homeless people lived in the fringes of South Africa’s major cities[6]. Long-term urbanisation processes were prevented by the control over migration and the constraint of urban residency rights for blacks. Housing was actually used as an instrument of segregation. When this policy was lifted in the late 1980’s, many blacks decided to move from the rural areas to the cities, where most of them sought accommodation in informal settlements and backyard shacks. Even more, due to the apartheid policy not to build low-income houses, many migrants became homeless.


However, not all of the South African population is badly housed, according to Mackay[7]. He claims that potential beneficial aspects in the South African housing system exist, since labour is cheap and population and development densities are low. But this is not the case according to Francisca Kellet[8], who says “it is certainly clear that South Africa’s housing crisis has, if anything, worsened. Millions remain without adequate shelter or services and shanty-towns are proliferating at an alarming rate.” Furthermore, as Abbott and Douglas describe, the number of shacks is still growing faster than the provision of new housing.[9]


The Grootboom-case is an example of the still existing flaws in the South African housing policy. Mrs. Grootboom, together with some 900 other people, challenged the Tygerberg Municipality in 2000, because in her opinion the Municipality did not undertake appropriate measures to provide for “adequate housing and the children’s unqualified right to shelter”. The municipality then challenged the High Court’s ruling and took the case to the national Constitutional Court, which again ruled for the temporary provision of shelter and services to the Grootboom community, as well as for an extension to the national housing programme. The Grootboom-case shows that South Africa’s housing policy did not yet provide in “adequate housing” at all times, even after some six years of hard work.

Several causes of the inadequate implementation are brought up in literature. One of them - the one that is mostly accepted - is the inadequate execution of the National Housing Subsidy Scheme (NHSS). Not only are there simply not enough means available because financial institutions have shown to be reluctant in lending to a market considered high risk[10], but also is it a clear fact that the maximum amount available to the very poor (R16000) is just insufficient to cover the costs of a serviced site.


Another problem related to the NHSS, is the project-linked subsidy. The project-linked subsidy scheme is seen as the most accessible and most commonly applied of the capital subsidies[11]. It provides in uniform free-standing, mostly one-roomed houses located on the urban peripheries. While the private sector fully promoted this concept as a means for the poor to escape from poverty[12], others have claimed that those houses are in itself just poverty traps[13]. Beneficiaries have expressed their dissatisfaction with the deliveries and local politicians also demanded for bigger houses. Response of the government was bipartite. On the one hand, government made an Amendment to the Housing Act, that new delivered houses should at least be 30m2, while on the other hand it diverted attention from the housing product, by referring to “housing opportunities instead of actual houses”[14]. In practical terms, the friction between the housing product and the professed delivery remained unsolved[15].


The sheer lack of knowledge of settlement structure and the nature of settlement formation and growth also still leads to an unsatisfactory implementation of the housing policy. Abbott and Douglas believe that informal settlement growth cannot be contained and therefore the need exists to seek an alternative approach to manage the growth. Once specific trends are identified, the informal settlement growth will become predictable and a growth strategy for a city can be developed[16].


The biggest cause of the failing housing policy at this moment however, seems to be the deficient implementation of partnerships. In 1994, when the housing policy was developed, emphasis lay upon the private sector involvement. In 1999 though, it was decided to change the private sector involvement, and to make municipalities the drivers of the housing provision. Because of the virtual exclusion of the private sector, housing delivery began slowing down in the past five years and the problems became bigger.[17]


Naturally, during the transition period (1990-1994) a lot of attention was paid to the housing issue. In order to constructively address the housing issue, the National Housing Forum (NHF) was created in 1992, which was supposed to provide for a single housing delivery approach. Also, in 1994 the White Paper on Housing (HWP) was developed so that it could be used as a housing guide and strategy plan. However, after ten years of policy-developing, policy-revision and the adoption of several acts and laws, the housing policy nevertheless leaves a lot to be desired. The government’s housing delivery countrywide per year is nowadays estimated at 150.000 or less, and this has had a minuscule effect on reducing the number of homeless. Only 1.5 million houses have been constructed since 1994 and the housing backlog is still estimated at 2.8 million today. This means that shacks will continue to mushroom[18].


This thesis will only deal with low-cost houses[19]. Official housing figures were, despite the urbanisation problems, not available until the government published the White Paper on Housing in 1994. By that time, out of a total population of approximately 42.8 million over 28.0 million people (66%) was functionally urbanised. Around 13.5% of all households (1.6 million) lived in squatter housing, “mostly in free-standing squatter elements on the periphery of cities and towns and in the back yards of formal houses”. Another 9% of all households lived in informal or inferior unrecognised tenure arrangements in predominantly rural areas. And not to be forgotten, due to the apartheid-policy not to build low-income houses, many migrants became homeless as well.


In 1995 the greater part of the South African population did not have access to basic services. Approximately one quarter of all households did not have access to a piped potable water supply, 48% of all households did not have access to proper sanitation – either flush toilets or ventilated pit latrines, whilst 16% did not have access to any type of sanitation system. Around 46.5% of all households were not linked to the electricity supply grid and the majority of all households did not have any access to socio-cultural amenities such as health care facilities, sports facilities and cultural and community centres at all.


In 2000, it even seemed as if the percentage of South Africans with access to houses, water and sanitation was probably lower than it was in 1994. This was confirmed by the growing housing backlog as acknowledged by the Housing Ministry, the several tens of thousands of communal taps which were installed by government and a few large NGO’s that quickly broke, dramatic increases in municipal water cut-offs to low-income households and shrinking municipal capital budgets and the rapid growth of urban shack-settlement population[20].


Therefore, ten years after the first democratic elections, and at a moment that the South African government is celebrating all her achievements, it is time to take a close look at the exact problems of the South African housing policy. What are the reasons behind the improper execution of the South African housing policy? This thesis will compare the government’s promises with her actual performance. In other words, it will critically evaluate the South African housing policy of the last ten years.


1.1.2 Historical overview


Housing backlogs, squatter settlements and overcrowding are not new problems facing South Africa. According to Pauline Morris current housing problems can be traced back to the early colonial urban settlements before 1910[21]. With the discovery of minerals, blacks were attracted to sell their labour in the newly growing ‘white towns’ and also to serve as domestic servants in those cities.


Even though black people were used to building their own homes in rural areas, the available material and greater density in cities made it more difficult for them to create decent housing for themselves. Already in those days, one can say that most of the black community lived in personally built townships. During the segregation years (1910-1948) the gap between the white and black community only grew because of legal provisions and controls[22]. Legislation was aimed at the interests of the whites and completely ignored the integration of blacks in the urban community. The ‘Native Land Act’ of 1913 even worked out the principle of territorial segregation by which specific areas were designated for African settlement – in reality the old Native Reserves – while elsewhere all of their rights were removed[23]. In 1923 the newly created Department of Native Affairs controlled the provisions of the Natives (Urban Areas) Act. This Act empowered local authorities to set aside land for black people in separate areas, known as locations. Amendments to this Act in 1930 and 1937 made it very difficult for the blacks to enter the towns and settle there with their families.[24]


The most serious shortage of housing developed after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Due to the expanding industrial and commercial sectors during the war, more men were forced to bring their families from the rural areas to the cities. “Shanty-towns, illegal squatter camps and shack-areas” were the result[25]. At the end of the war, with the Housing Act of 1945, the Minister of Welfare and Demobilisation was given extending powers to expropriate land, to buy materials at cost and to limit contractors’ profits to six percent.[26] Although the government was now armed to deal with the housing situation, actual progress was minimal.


When the National Party came to power in 1948, it was committed to separate development. Amendments to the 1923 Natives Act provided for the segregation of residential areas and the compulsory removal of ‘illegal’ residents in existing proclaimed areas. Sub-economic housing loans were reduced and self-help site and service schemes were introduced, but only for housing far away from white towns and national roads and even separated from them by an industrial buffer.[27]


During the sixties and the early seventies, emphasis came to lie upon the development of homeland townships. Home ownership and loans in towns were withdrawn to encourage ownership in the homelands. Discontent among the blacks grew and eventually resulted in the Soweto riots of 1976. One year later a national housing conference was held. It would be the first national conference to include black housing, because it was realised that if the policy of separate areas was to be retained, the black areas would have to be self-sufficient to keep the society stable. During the conference emphasis lay upon the necessity of adequate housing for all. In 1977, the government announced that it would spend an additional R250 million on housing. Half of this allocation would be spent in homeland townships, and half in towns. According to estimates made by the Administration Boards, by the end of 1977 there was still a shortage of 141.000 family dwellings and 126.000 hostel beds nationally[28].

During the 1980s, different housing issues arose. Next to the issue of home ownership versus leasehold schemes, there was the ongoing debate about the viability of self-help housing and the extent to which people should be a part of the building process. Also, it was realised that government could not be the only one responsible for the housing issues; the private sector and employers had to be involved. And finally, the procedures for the housing provision were no longer taken for granted, but questions arose for a possible change[29]. Home-ownership and self-help in housing, by which the focus was supposed to lie upon self-dependency in stead of self-building, became two mainstream policies in the eighties. Execution of these policies maintained a problem, though.


The most significant policy and legislative reversal was the reintroduction of leasehold rights for 30-year periods. Another was to re-allow ‘black’ family housing within towns. Main reason for the ‘unfreezing’ of the areas was the fact that the transportation system could no longer cope with the increasing number of travellers. Soon the 30-year leasehold would prove unsatisfactory. Building societies and other lending institutions as a security for mortgages could not use property under such a lease, as a result of which homeowners could not borrow money from the finance houses. In 1978, a 99-year leasehold scheme was introduced, making private sector finance available to people who would be able to negotiate building society loans. This represented a degree of security of tenure incomparable to any other occupancy rights under the NP government. In addition, the Housing Amendment Act (No. 109 of 1979) provided for housing loans for black people at the same rates, on the same terms and based on the same criteria as for other race groups[30].


The Minister of Planning and Public Affairs in 1990, Minister H.J. Kriel, stated that the eighties had been a new epoch in housing.[31] An acceptance of black people as a permanent part of towns arose and at the same time they were granted some ownership rights. During the nineties, the topics of home-ownership and self-help were further elaborated. However within both policies, the emphasis came to lie upon a different level. In home-ownership, a need for education of first-time homeowners became apparent, while in the self-help policy emphasis was placed on the fact that people should be given the opportunity to improve their housing conditions by themselves. Community participation would ensure that housing development programmes were really matched to the needs and earning potential of low-income communities.[32]


Despite the granting of home-ownership rights, the call for involvement of the private sector in the housing matter became stronger. It appeared as if banks and building societies had stopped giving loans because of the costs involved in the finance of such small loans. Another reason was the risk of non-payment through bond boycotts and the violence in many townships. This meant that the government was the only one financing the low-income market, “yet it does not have the financial means to provide housing for all”.[33]



1.2 Literature survey


In the early 1990’s, South Africa was suffering from rapid migration to the cities, which led to an overcrowding of the townships and a growing problem with land invasion. The state had stopped building houses for the majority and in stead of that used most of its resources to create shelter for the more favoured groups, principally the whites, the coloureds and the Indians.[34] Therefore, it is no surprise that in the beginning years of the housing policy, many South African academics blamed the heritage of historical inequality for the difficulties in the implementation of the housing policy.[35]


Injustices in the educational and political structure and the simple lack of income were also seen as main causes of the housing problems, namely the housing delivery delay and the inequality in accessibility to services between the rich and the poor. It turns out that the poor, precisely the group for which the housing policy was developed, gain the least.[36] But above all low rates of national economic growth and a mentality of non-payment of rates and charges - also part of the historical inequality - resulted in a laborious implementation of the housing policy. A newspaper report in the Star claimed that “all that had been produced for those dreaming of their own house were excuses, complaints, promises and little expectations.”[37]


P. Bond, in his article of 2002[38] identified two different perceptions since the mid-nineties that try to explain why service and infrastructure backlogs have actually even increased in South Africa. The first perspective suggests that implementation is flawed because of inefficiencies in municipal delivery. Hence there is a need for more rapid private-sector provision of services. The other perspective, which is a more critical one, argues that virtually all current state policies are excessively neo-liberal. They are “too market-oriented, stingy, insensitive to poverty […] worsening geographical segregation and even inefficient in terms of untapped economic multipliers”. M. Khosa[39] reaffirms this critical perspective that access to services has been largely class-based, with the majority of the poor having to travel long distances to access services and the poor together with the rural households, even paying indirectly more than middle- and high income households. The poor were also more likely to experience service disruption than middle- and high-income households were, and at the same time, low-income households waited longer to have their services maintained or reconnected than middle-and high income households.



1.3 Purpose and significance


The housing policy has not worked out as well as was expected. How come? Did the government fail in developing her policy by not judging all the circumstances at their own merits, or is the housing problem simply too complicated to be alleviated in only 10 years time? The purpose of this thesis will therefore be to evaluate the South African housing policy in the last decade (1994-2004). I will compare the promises that the government made in 1994 with what has actually been achieved ten years later. One particular aspect that I want to address is the consequence of this policy for the people of South Africa, and in specific, the people in Cape Town and surroundings.


Moreover, as a historian I believe that it may be helpful for politicians to take a look at problems from a historical point of view. By doing so, the contemporary political situation can be put into a broader perspective and thus be understood in a more complete way. As George Orwell wrote so true: “Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past”.



1.4 Methodology


1.4.1 Elaboration of methodology


There exist various types of research designs for historians, which vary according to the level of scientific analysis. In this thesis, I have chosen to write a descriptive evaluation of the South African housing policy since 1994 and to regard to it as a public policy issue. To keep the research as objective as possible, it is of utmost importance to use a wide variety in literature and data. Therefore, I will not only use literature sources, but also governmental data as well as independent data from non-governmental organisations (ngo’s) and international organisations (io’s). Moreover, articles from different newspapers will be scrutinised so that an independent view on the situation can be taken along.


In the first two Chapters I will describe the historical happenings and the policy-making period and for this I will mainly use literature sources. The third Chapter deals with adopted Acts and laws - the actual enforcement of the housing policy as described in Chapter two. For this Chapter I will not only rely upon literature sources, but I will use governmental sources like the South Africa Yearbook and Government Gazette as well, since they provide the complete acts and laws.


In Chapter four, the actual facts will get a chance. To get as an objective overview as possible, hardly any government sources will be used in this Chapter, more independent ones like from Statistics South Africa and the SAIRR. The SAIRR will be the guideline in this Chapter, for, in its research, other independent sources like the Helen Suzman Foundation and the Centre for Policy Studies are already incorporated, which eases my research tremendously. Some newspaper articles will also be taken along in this Chapter.


Chapter five will set forth my impression of township visits that I made during my six months stay in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This Chapter will merely be an explanation of my personal experience. What did I notice, what did the inhabitants tell me about their lives in the townships? Chapter five can in no way be interpreted as an academic chapter - it is pure subjective. My believe however is, that after the ‘shoulds’ and ‘woulds’ of the first three chapters, and the facts of Chapter four, describing my personal experience in the townships can help in a better understanding of the actual housing situation in South Africa at this moment.


Naturally whatever methodology used for research is chosen, it encloses some limitations. The most obvious limitations in this thesis are firstly the fact that due to time limitations the scope of the data is kept relatively small and secondly that the township visits don’t provide hard evidence because the visits are not meant to be used as a case-study. I believe however that despite these limitations, a well-balanced assessment of the South African housing policy can be written.


1.4.2 Institutional data


In order to get an objective insight in the housing situation, it is important to not only depend on secondary literature sources, but to use primary sources as well. Therefore, I will compare governmental with non-governmental as well as newspaper data.


For example, data from the South African Housing Department, the South Africa Yearbook and the ANC website will be used to serve as governmental sources, while data from Statistics South Africa, the South African Institute on Race Relations (SAIRR) the Worldbank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) will be used as independent sources. Finally, data from non-governmental organisations (ngo’s) as well as newspaper articles will be taken along to provide for an independent opinion.


1.4.3 Township visits


Next to the literature and the data findings, personal visits to townships must disclose the actual housing situation in the surroundings of Cape Town at this moment. Since the purpose of this thesis is to write a descriptive analysis of the housing policy, the outcome of my visits will not be used as hard evidence in my evaluation. Better, it will be used as an extra source of information to come to a complete understanding of the actual housing situation in the Cape area. During the township visits, the main focus will lie upon the social sustainability element: is there access to clean water, to electricity, to sanitation and is there a proper infrastructure available?


In short, by combining the outcome of the literature research with governmental as well as independent data and personal visits to townships, in the conclusion I hope to be able to show the actual performance of the South African government in the field of housing during the last ten years.



2. The Transition Period: Policy-making and the Constitution


2.1 A transitional overview


2.1.1 ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’: the pre-negotiation period


When F.W. de Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and other related organisations on 2 February 1990, and committed the NP government to negotiating a constitution embodying the political accommodation of black people, nobody could have foreseen the velocity with which transition to democracy would actually take place. South Africa’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994 represent a defining moment in the country’s history, with the end of apartheid finally sweeping away the political discrimination against the black majority. An important question one has to ask is why at this particular moment in time South Africa was ready for change and why negotiations succeeded.


Some reforms had already taken place in the 1980’s. In the aftermath of the Sowetan disturbances in 1976, a reform process had started. Within the National Party (NP), the ruling party since 1948 - and thus F.W. de Klerk’s party in 1990 - a division sprouted. On the one hand, the verkramptes (hardliners) saw no need in reform or change, while on the other hand, the verligtes (liberals) recognised that the old Verwoerdian order based on ‘separation in all the spheres of living’ could no longer be sustained and thought reform was essential[40]. This division led to major debates within the NP and had even resulted in some reforms in the early eighties. Trade unions were extended to the black community, the policy of job reservation was eased in time and Indian and Coloured minorities were incorporated in the tricameral parliament together with the whites[41]. De Klerk’s speech on 2 February 1990 may have been unexpected for some, but was influenced by the earlier reforms in the late eighties.


Those reforms however do not explain why F.W. de Klerk specifically in February 1990 decided to come with his breaking speech, all the more so when one keeps in mind that the NP had not lost a single election since 1948. Were foreign factors of major importance, or was the process domestically driven?


Some see internal factors as the more dominating in this matter. The demographic growth -especially the disproportionate increase of black to white population growth during the eighties - got the white government to think over the realistic possibility of further long-lasting white minority rule. The high urbanisation rate increased the governmental lack of legitimacy among the African population[42]; white minority rule could no longer be taken for granted; serious considerations for change occurred. Another probable cause was the expansion in squatter camps, which led to a weakening of society. The townships were simply ungovernable. Government’s response to the squatting was highly intolerant and this effected in black resistance. Due to apartheid the South African economy had also drastically deteriorated. Because of this, political goals such as job reservation and homeland consolidation were not reached, which also led to dissatisfaction among the blacks.


Others[43] hold international factors responsible for the South African road to reform. In the mid-eighties, the United Democratic Front (UDF) came up - this was a multi-racial alliance of civic organisations created to oppose to the 1984 constitution, and its activities led to the declaration of a state of emergency in July 1985. International organisations and Western governments in response withdrew their investments in South Africa and imposed ‘public’ and private sanctions in an attempt to persuade the Botha government to accelerate the reform process that was under way at that moment. A crisis in the late eighties was inevitable; the stalemate between the (Botha) government and the black opposition seemed unbreakable.


During 1989, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it became gradually clear that the threat from the Soviet Union would soon be over. The collapse of communism would have weakened the communist influence in the ANC. This made it easier for de Klerk to start possible negotiations with the ANC. Another important international aspect was South Africa’s withdrawal from Namibia in 1990 and the following gained independence. The expected public criticism remained forthcoming - South Africa could even count on international respect in this matter. South Africa’s role in ending the white minority domination in Namibia made clear that it could no longer retain such dominance at home[44].


A combination of the above-mentioned factors made it possible for de Klerk to make 2 February 1990 one of the most remembered dates in South African history. But what does de Klerk himself say about his motives for democratising/liberalising? He claims that the bad shape of the South African economy, caused by international isolation, had to be rectified and the collapse of communism created the opportunity for a “more adventurous approach”[45]. His bottom-lines were that the NP had to remain in control of the process, strive for power sharing and protect minority rights. His bottom-lines were nevertheless hardly fulfilled as the NP lost power very fast after 1994. Nonetheless, negotiations would have never succeeded if it were not for the strong personality of de Klerk and Mandela. Their ability of forward-thinking enabled both to display a masterly understanding of what had to be done in difficult circumstances and to be more interested in the exercise of power and the imperatives of national survival than in ‘grandiose objectives of a millennial kind’[46].


2.1.2 Negotiation period


Although the NP was ready for fundamental change in February 1990, it had no ‘strategic masterplan’ for this. Within the NP the dichotomy between left and right was still present and no consensus was reached over the terms under which blacks should be incorporated in the political system. This division among the NP made it extremely difficult for De Klerk to steer in the right direction. Until September 1992 he therefore regularly assured his white constituency that he would not sign a new constitution if it did not contain a ‘statutory entrenched minority [read: white] veto’[47]. One thing that both sides in the NP agreed on though was constraining “the ANC’s ability to wield political power in the service of a radical agenda of socio-economic transformation”[48].


That the right wing in the NP could derail the negotiating process is well shown by the next example. At the Potchefstroom election in February 1992, the Conservative Party (CP) scored an unexpected victory. De Klerk was forced to call for a referendum to find out whether he could still count on support for the negotiations in that area. 68.5 % of the white opinion still supported the negotiation process, but nonetheless the right-wing part founded the Freedom Alliance in early 1993[49]. Another cause of major concern for de Klerk was to keep peace with Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which was the NP’s secret ally for any new government.


Keeping his constituency together was not only a problem for F.W. de Klerk; Nelson Mandela had troubles too. Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC’s in exile, died during the negotiations and the murder of Chris Hani[50] in april 1993 also undermined the progress in the negotiating process[51]. The biggest problem for the ANC was however to transform itself from a liberation movement to a political party that could count on civil support and get regionally and provincially organised. This was all the more hampered by the difficult adaptation of the previously exiled to homecoming.


When negotiations started with ‘talks about talks’ in 1990, both de Klerk and Mandela had trust in the other. Mandela called de Klerk “a man of integrity” and wrote to his colleagues “we are dealing with an honest man… we should negotiate with him”[52]. By mid-1991 their relationship however deteriorated. The NP was accused of sponsoring the IFP in an attempt to weaken the ANC, which got the ANC suspicious. After the CODESA (Convention for a Democratic South Africa) talks broke down in mid-1992 because of discord over the proposed interim government and after the Boipatong killings[53] in June 1992, Mandela finally decided to break off the negotiations. From June to September 1992 there was a real danger that counter forces would undermine the negotiations.


Diplomatic pressure and the realisation that the South African economy needed negotiations convinced Mandela to sign the Record of Understanding on 26 September 1992. For this Record of Understanding both parties, the ANC as well as the NP, had made strategic concessions[54]. The NP accepted the ANC’s demand that an elected constitution-making body would draft and adopt the new constitution, while the ANC confirmed that the constitution-making body would be bound by ‘agreed constitutional principles’ that would emerge from the Multi-Party Negotiating Process (MPNP)[55]. Most important however were the ‘sunset’ clauses in which agreement was reached on the ‘one person, one vote’ system and the mutual understanding that an ‘interim Government of National Unity (GNU)’ would function within an Interim Constitution that would provide for national and regional government during the transition. The Record of Understanding signified the resumption of formal multi-party negotiations, even though it would not be until 1 April 1993 that the MPNP started. This constitutional deal would be the basis for the progress in the negotiations during 1993. During the end of 1992 until April 1993, the negotiations took the form of secret bilateral talks between the government and the ANC with agreements subsequently submitted to an all-party reform[56].


Despite major difficulties during the period 1990-1993, the negotiation talks succeeded. How come? Most crucial factor was the realisation by both the ANC and the NP government that there was no alternative to negotiation. Both de Klerk and Mandela realised that informal diplomacy (talks about talks) and a joint engagement during the most vulnerable periods were the only answer to success. The personalities of both de Klerk and Mandela played a gigantic role in this matter. External pressure from Western governments and the United Nations (UN), together with growing understanding of the economy’s decline should also be taken into account when considering the success of the negotiations.



2.2 Interim (1993) and Final (1996) Constitution and housing


2.2.1 The Interim Constitution


When the secret talks between the ANC and the NP government started in 1986, both parties had different views on the function of constitutionalism. The NP saw the constitution as a possible limitation of conflicts between groups because of diffusion and division of political power and by ensuring that no group could actually threaten the interests of another group[57]. The ANC on the other hand saw constitutionalism as pre-commitment, or commitment to certain values. Long-term goals were not to be compromised by short-sighted decisions, yet they acknowledged the need for a strong political force.


The decision-making process consisted of two periods. In December 1991, the first formal negotiations started at the World Trade Centre, just outside Johannesburg. This was the first session of CODESA, which would be followed by a second session and go on until the first democratic elections. The second period started on 27 April 1994, when a Constitutional Assembly of 490 members was elected by proportional representation.


The reason for dividing the decision-making period in two, was that it was necessary to compromise between the NP’s and the ANC’s demands. The NP on the one hand wanted a negotiated settlement, so that their position would remain safe until they surrendered power. The ANC’s understanding on the other hand, was that the constitution of a post-apartheid South African democracy could only be legitimate if a democratically elected body drew it up.


Progress in the negotiations during 1993 found its basis in the agreement on the necessity of a Government of National Unity (GNU), even after the new constitution was to be adopted. The initiative for this came from Joe Slovo, a member of the SACP but also one of the ANC’s leading theoreticians, who would later become Minister of Housing. His recommendations were embodied in a document entitled ‘Negotiations, a Strategic Perspective’[58]. The document understood that it was in the interest of the country to maintain a GNU, with the specification that the parties that lost the elections would not be able to paralyse the government. On 18 November 1993, the draft interim constitution was adopted with ‘sufficient consensus’. The interim constitution is seen as the ‘truce’ that made the South African transition from apartheid to democracy possible. It laid the foundation for a second round of negotiating, which would result in the final constitution of 1996.


The legislative enactment of the constitution set the stage for an election campaign and the establishment of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC). The TEC was installed to oversee the daily work of the government and supervise the electoral process. It had to create a climate for free political participation and had to ensure that no government or administration ‘exercises any of its powers in such a way as to advantage or prejudice any political party’[59].


Next to the TEC, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was created to ensure free and fair elections. It is an impartial body, with an elaborate mechanism for hearing which arbitrates upon complaints.


The interim constitution is widely praised, because of some specific features. For example, the interim constitution provides for a bicameral parliamentary system based upon the principle of the sovereignty of the constitution, a Bill of Rights, an independent judiciary, including a constitutional court, an electoral system based upon proportional representation and federal arrangements. The factor that is seen as most important in the interim constitution though, is the power-sharing principle, which is an attempt to involve both minority and majority parties in decision-making. This attempt to institutionalise power sharing and base it on consensus is significant for two reasons. Firstly, the NP as well as the ANC agreed on the distribution of decision-making power prior to the electoral outcome. In this way, the principle of ‘the winner takes it all’ after the outcome of the elections was avoided. Secondly, the power-sharing principle meant that both Mandela and De Klerk would accept both the good faith of the other in their individual commitment to rule by consensus during the five years of the GNU[60].


The second major feature in the interim constitution is the provision for provincial government. Nine provinces were created with their own elected parliaments and provincial constitutions, but it was nevertheless decided that central parliament would still prevail over provincial matters in certain situations[61]. These national powers placed a doubt on how strong federalism in South Africa actually was. Later drafts of the constitution made no reference to exclusive provincial powers but expanded the concurrent powers that could together be exercised by central and local government. Among these were very important subjects such as education, health and housing. Concerning provincial powers, the interim constitution must be considered as defining a basically unitary state with some federal ‘fig-leaves’[62].


Since the interim constitution was a big compromise between the NP and the ANC, naturally both parties had lost some of their demands. The biggest loss for the NP was without a doubt the failure to secure a long-term share in executive power. The interim constitution was only valid for five years, after that the 34 constitutional principles were the only safeguards, but they did not include a share in executive power for minority parties. This would become one of the biggest obstacles in the second stage of the constitution-making process. Another loss for the NP was the small amount of power given to the provinces; they remained weak in comparison to the centre[63]. For the ANC the end of apartheid and the introduction of a democratically elected government was naturally more a victory than a loss, but the interim constitution and the constitutional principles nevertheless greatly differed from the original ideal constitutional model of the ANC.


Finally, the interim constitution is by most seen as a messy and inconclusive document[64], because it was created under too much pressure of compromising.


2.2.2 The Final Constitution


One of the big questions that arose in the second phase of constitution-making that started on 27 April 1994 - election-day - was whether the final constitution would be actually different from the interim constitution, since the scheduled Constitutional Principles were binding. The deadline for the constitution-making process was within two years of the first session of Parliament, 10 May 1996. On a lot of things, agreement was reached well ahead of the deadline, but one of the subjects that was discussed until the last moment, was the Bill of Rights, also known as Chapter 2 of the constitution, which is concerned with human rights.


In the final constitution, human rights are formally acknowledged and protected in the Bill of Rights. This is true for first-generation rights, but unfortunately not for all second generation, or social and economic rights. Although the constitution prescribes ‘that the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these [social] rights’, at this moment not all measures have been realised, at least as far as the poorest half of the population is concerned[65].


One of the second-generation rights that was a cause of major discussion, was the formulation of the property clause, particularly in relation to land reform. Section 25 of the Bill of Rights affects the right to property, while section 26 and 27 of the Bill of Rights state that ‘everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing’. The guaranteeing of private property was seen as one of the ANC’s biggest concessions. The clause was carefully defined, to appease local as well as foreign investors, but without limiting social reforms. The right not to be deprived of property was acknowledged and a possible restitution of property, lost because of racially discriminatory laws or practices in the past, was provided for as well.


The features of the final constitution are to a large extent similar to that of the interim constitution. For example, in the final constitution the president, just like in the interim constitution, is elected by legislature. The National Assembly can remove the president through a vote of no confidence. In this matter, the president of South Africa can be compared to a Prime Minister of a parliamentary democracy. On the other hand, the president plays a double role as Head of State and Head of Government. Obviously, criticism against this double power of the president did not remain forthcoming. The fact that the president can be removed from office by a simple majority vote of no confidence in Parliament does imply however that his powers are accountable to the legislature.


Another feature of the final constitution is the provision for a bi-cameral Parliament. The National Assembly, the first chamber, is directly elected in national elections. Under the final constitution, the previous Senate was substituted by a National Council of Provinces (NCoP), consisting of ten representatives from each of the nine provinces. The inclusion of the NCoP in the definition of parliament was one of the concessions that the ANC had to make during the second stage of decision-making. Although the NCoP can somehow be relevant in regard to legislation affecting provinces, the National Assembly is by far the most important of the two chambers. The most vital matters affected the provinces are listed as ‘concurrent national and provincial legislative competencies’. In these matters the central government provides framework legislation, while the specific content is left for the provinces. In case of a dispute the national level of government has considerable overriding powers. Also in what is defined as ‘exclusive provincial matters’, the central government has the right to intervene on a number of grounds. Moreover, fiscal powers of the provinces are limited and subject to regulation by the national parliament[66].


In summary: the final constitution highlights several things. On the one hand, it claims to provide for the need of a strong state so that it can be a powerful agent of social change. On the other hand, the final constitution incorporates the need to safeguard the fundamental rights and liberties of individuals. Another major important feature of the South African final constitution, especially in comparison to other constitutions, is the fact the system is basically majoritarian and that the opposition has considerably more impact than in a standard majoritarian democracy. Above all, a lot of arrangements in the final constitution are compromises – some of them, for example the ‘parliamentary presidentialism’, seem to be a result of the different perspectives of the ANC and the NP on constitutional models and on how political power should be limited and constituted.



2.3 RDP, GEAR and the Housing White Paper


2.3.1 The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)


“[The RDP] represents a framework that is coherent, viable and has widespread support. The RDP was not drawn up by experts – although many, many experts have participated in the process – but by the very people that will be part of its implementation. It is a product of consultation, debate and reflection on what we need and what is possible”[67]. With these words, President Nelson Mandela opened the ANC victory celebration on 2 May 1994 to describe the importance of the RDP for the newly elected government.


As the ANC came to think of a leadership role in the early 1990’s, ANC economists, together with government and private sector consultants, developed a blueprint for development in the late 1990’s. In this Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), it was attempted to alleviate poverty as well as to reconstruct the South African economy[68]. Originally launched as the ANC’s election programme, the RDP soon became one of the most important guidelines for streamlining the South African housing policy. The RDP was meant as an integrated and sustainable development program, and therefore not only included institutional reform or educational and cultural programmes, but also socio-economical programmes designed to redress the imbalances in living conditions. The RDP was designed as “an all-encompassing process of transforming society in its totality to ensure a better life for all”[69]. As for the housing policy, the RDP had as main goal to help families that are not able to build their own houses in doing so. The RDP raised high expectations; it promised new houses and the redistribution of 30% of good farming land[70].


The RDP was based on the principles of meeting people’s basic needs on a sustainable basis[71]. In 1994, when the ANC launched the RDP as its election programme, it soon became the government’s mandate for reform. As defined by president Mandela, the RDP encompassed “not only socio-economic programmes designed to redress the imbalances in living conditions, but also institutional reform, educational and cultural programmes, employment generation and human resources development”. It would be “an all-encompassing process of transforming society in its totality to ensure a better life for all”[72].


The RDP was thus an integrated and sustainable development programme; the strategies bound all resources together in a coherent way so that they could be sustained in the future. Those strategies were to be implemented at a national, provincial but mostly local level, by government as well as by organisations that work in the civil society. The RDP aimed at the establishment of partnerships between government and civil society, to initiate sustainable development planning, improve the quality of life in marginalized communities and prioritise the needs of the poor.

Chapter Two of the RDP contains concrete policy directives to deal with South Africa’s basic needs. Since the RDP’s highest priority was to attack poverty and deprivation, several themes were touched upon in the Meeting Basic Needs objectives. Among them were topics such as affirmative action, gender equity, population and migration and above all, the socio-economic rights. The RDP called upon South Africa to sign the International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights (1966), which was accomplished in 1994 and in 1996, South Africa also signed the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. South Africa’s constitution, as mentioned in Chapter One, once more established social and economic rights.


Paragraph five of the second Chapter of the RDP deals with housing as a human right, which would later be codified in the 1994 Housing White Paper (HWP), that I will discuss in 2.3.3. One of the biggest targets of the new government was to build one million houses before 1999 (thus in five years time) - 5% of the state budget was set aside for this. During these years it is estimated however, that it was far from 5% of the national budget that was allocated to national and provincial housing departments - an average of 1.5% came closer to reality[73] (see Figure 8).


The RDP did offer explicit standards for an acceptable quality of housing. For example, all housing must provide protection from weather, they must be built in a durable structure and they must offer reasonable living space and privacy. A house must include sanitary facilities, storm-water drainage, a household energy supply and convenient access to clean water[74].


The housing subsidies as envisaged in the RDP were largely based upon blending public-private funds and on promoting social, more than individual housing consumption. It was generally acknowledged that the R15.000, the maximum grant for the poorest households -those with an income under R1500 per month - was not enough to cover sufficient building. A top-up loan provided by a financial institution was therefore necessary. Throughout the late 1990’s however, the financial institutions became more and more reluctant to grant housing credit to housing subsidy recipients. This was a consequence of the failing implementation of the housing finance mandates in the RDP.


In addition, several new institutions were established in order to normalise the home mortgage-lending environment[75].


In 1999, many of the post-1994 houses did not contain sanitary facilities and a household energy supply, in the way the RDP had mandated[76]. Reason for this was that to some extent the local authorities decided to spend the money preferably on a better dwelling than on the infrastructure.


To conclude: To some, the RDP died when the White Paper on reconstruction and development was published in November 1994. The ANC’s commitment to fiscal discipline left no fiscal space for properly implementing the RDP and for the redistributive implications of its poverty alleviation programme and its emphasis on meeting basic needs. Others say that the RDP was abandoned when the GEAR strategy (see 2.3.2) was announced in June 1996, but an appropriate implementation of the RDP was never at all possible in combination with the neo-liberal macro-economics to which the ANC had already committed itself in 1993[77].


In hindsight, the RDP promised a real improvement in access to housing, as is shown in the height of the allocation of the national budget (5%) and in the several subsidies and funds that were created due to the RDP. The RDP decided however, without a public debate, on a private-sector approach that failed to address the key issues of the housing crisis. The housing crisis worsened, aside from a few successful upgrading projects mainly around Johannesburg. An estimated 60% of South Africans live in urban areas, and shanty townships are mushrooming. In 2000, an estimated six million South Africans were homeless[78]. The fact that the RDP concentrated on vision rather than on design and development left nothing more of the RDP than an unsuccessful policy framework.[79]. Eight years after the RDP was published “it must be regarded as a dismal failure”[80] and flawed in design, particularly in relation to the issue of accountability and lack of expediency in delivery[81].


2.3.2 Growth Employment and Reconstruction (GEAR) strategy


In addition to the RDP, the government developed the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (macro-economic) strategy, which was adopted in June 1996. GEAR has as aim to strengthen economic growth and to increase and redistribute employment opportunities in South Africa. Focus of GEAR lies upon the development of a “competitive, fast-growing economy” through tight fiscal and monetary discipline[82]. The GEAR strategy represents the fifth phase of the search for a new accumulation strategy to attract potential foreign investors.


One of the goals of GEAR was that 1.3 million additional jobs were to be created up until 2000[83]. For this, labour unions would have to co-operate with initiatives to reform the labour market and moderate wages. The GEAR strategy oversaw the structural nature of unemployment in this matter, more research was needed into the link between economic growth and job creation[84].


If one compares the RDP with GEAR, it seems as if the RDP is only a short interlude that ended when GEAR was announced and the neo-liberal approach of the ANC thus was reaffirmed. As stated above, GEAR strategy’s tax and spending policies did not leave enough ‘fiscal’ space for the redistribution implications of the RDP. A big difference between the RDP and GEAR however, was that the RDP expected the state to steer a people-oriented development policy, while GEAR preferred to use capitalism in order to increase economic growth.


Was GEAR successful? Overall speaking, one can conclude with saying that GEAR has failed. Up until 2000, only three of GEAR’s goals were reached. Firstly, the budget deficit was reduced to less than 3% of the GDP, secondly the inflation rate was reduced to an annual average of less than 6% and thirdly import tariffs were reduced to less than 7.6% of the value of imports. None of the other goals were reached. Economy grew with only 2.7% a year in stead of 4.2%, employment shrank in stead of growing, and real government investment only grew 1.8% in stead of 7.1%[85]. One of the possible reasons for the failure of GEAR may have been the deficit support of the government through various initiatives, which eventually could have led to an equitable and open economic system[86].


Some see GEAR as a restriction to the government’s ability to provide housing, since two of its most important goals are to reduce inflation and to reduce government expenditure to below 4% of the GDP. This limits the amount to which the government can spend on social needs including housing[87]. In 2001, at the end of its planning period, GEAR was preferably referred to a stabilisation strategy rather than a growth strategy[88].


2.3.3 The Housing White Paper (HWP)


“Housing the nation is one of the great challenges facing the Government of National Unity. The extent of the challenge derives not only from the enormous size of the housing backlog and the desperation and impatience of the homeless, but stems also from the extremely complicated bureaucratic, administrative, financial and institutional framework inherited from the previous government.”[89] With these words, the Housing White Paper (HWP) of 1994 opens its preamble. The HWP was developed during the negotiation period to provide for a practical implementation of the South African housing policy.


In South Africa the housing policy is based on the fundamental understanding that housing is a basic need. The right to “have access to adequate housing” is enshrined in the 1996 Constitution and interpreted by the HWP as follows: “viable, socially and economically integrated communities, situated in areas allowing convenient access to economic opportunities as well as health, educational and social amenities, within which all South Africa’s people will have access to:


With a ‘permanent residential structure’ the HWP set a norm for housing that was quite different from the so-called “toilet towns” as constructed under the previous government.


In devising the national housing strategy, the government had to take along the following factors. Firstly, the existing housing backlog required for 200.000 households to be housed annually in order for the backlog to be eradicated over a period of ten years. Secondly, new household formation required a further 350.000 households to be housed annually if backlogs were not to increase. Thirdly, the government had to increase the (then) current housing budget with 1%, or R1.4 billion per year. And finally, between 45% and 55% of households in need of housing would be unable to afford new housing and therefore would entirely depend on state subsidies[91]. The national housing goal was to increase the housing budget to 5% of the national budget and to increase housing delivery on a sustainable basis to 338.000 per year, within a five-year period, to reach the target of the GNU of 1000.000 in five years. The national housing policy and strategy needed to be a multi-faceted approach and was supposed to be driven at a local and provincial level.


When the HWP was developed, there were no official statistics on housing, but in order to fully comprehend the housing situation, some indicative information was needed. Chapter three sets forth some estimated statistics about the housing backlog. One of the shocking figures is classified in paragraph 3.1.2., that deals with income profiles. Estimated was that nearly 40% of the total population had a monthly income of less than R800. This low-income profile caused awareness of the necessity of a well-balanced subsidy scheme.


Besides the low income profiles, it was acknowledged that many people in South Africa had no access to basic services, such as potable water, sanitation systems and electricity. Furthermore, many neighbourhoods were inadequately supplied with social and cultural amenities. In its new housing programme, the government therefore pledged itself to “strive to eliminate previous approaches, which effectively separated the provision of housing stock from other services” [92].


While acknowledging all the shortcomings in housing, the HWP recognised that there were numerous constraints in resolving the housing crisis. The large scale of the housing and services backlog and the rapid growth in housing demand were not to be underestimated. Due to the apartheid framework on housing, fragmentation of the housing function racially and geographically had resulted in a duplication of housing institutions and mechanisms. This had led to inefficiency and wastage. Secondly, since many authorities had been inadequately resourced and could therefore not fully carry out their responsibilities, the housing development process was delayed. Finally, the slow local government transition was a factor for delaying the housing process.

The biggest constraints on the housing policy were however caused by sociological issues. Many people had extreme high expectations of the new democratic order. For the new government it would be difficult to live up to these high expectations. High levels of crime and violence hampered the development processes as well and the tradition of non-payment for services moreover constrained the long-term viability of the public environment and sustained housing production. It also limited the amount of resources.


These constraints asked for a different approach of the housing issue. In stead of using all the land that South Africa has to offer, both communities and professions had to shift away from this idea and in stead use land more intensely. This different approach to land use was hoped to lead to a possibility of social cohesion and at the same time have a possible beneficial impact on costs and a better consumption of energy and water. Furthermore, large disparities in housing conditions between urban and rural areas and the above-mentioned low-incomes made it more than clear that the housing policy should be comprehensive. For a sustained delivery of housing, the HWP envisaged a partnership between the various tiers of government, the private sector and the communities. Concluding, the affordability constraint confirmed the need to focus on the poorest sections of the population and at the same time required for the state to constantly seek new ways of supporting the poor to mobilise complementary support through which the housing goals can be achieved.



2.4 Assessment


Since the negotiations officially started after Mandela’s release in 1990, emphasis in all policy-making lay upon the ‘human’ aspect. In all policy documents, an effort was made to alleviate the inhumane living conditions as existed under the apartheid period. Next to internal and external factors, the strong personalities of de Klerk and Mandela played a decisive factor in getting the negotiations well under way. Yet it was not easy for them to come together at precarious topics such as health, housing and the division of powers, once more because their grassroots support had to be kept satisfied. This explains why the Interim Constitution as well as the Final Constitution may by some be seen as documents in which compromise played first fiddle.


The RDP deals with housing as a human right and offered explicit standards for an acceptable quality of housing. This was seen as a promising development, yet the RDP was criticised because of its lack of design and development. Moreover, because of the quick implementation of GEAR, and the consequential limitation of governmental expenditures, possible housing improvements were soon set back. The HWP offered a different approach of the housing issue than was known under apartheid years; for a sustained delivery of housing, the HWP envisaged a partnership between the various tiers of government, the private sector and the communities. So far however this has not resulted in pushing back the housing backlog.



3. Public Policy and Housing since 1994


3.1 Appropriate laws and policies


To redress the housing situation in which the poor were situated in the least adequate housing, located furthest from economic opportunities, the Department of Housing challenged itself to “Housing the nation”. The Department’s main aim was to create “secure tenure” (ownership) for the people who were most in need. In this sense, the issue of quality versus quantity arose and the South African government decided to focus not only on providing new houses, but also on the upgrading of slums, by which the emphasis should lie upon the improvement of basic services and social infrastructure[93]. It was in this context that the housing mandate was developed, namely to achieve “a nation housed in sustainable human settlements with access to socio-economic infrastructure. A housing problem cannot be limited to housing, but needs to be promoted in such a manner as to give a meaning to the goal of creating viable communities”.[94]


To achieve this, the national housing policy required a comprehensive set of acts and laws. The South African housing policy was defined in the HWP in seven key strategies, and set forth all problems and brought about all possible acts and measures. Joe Slovo was appointed as Minister of Housing in 1994, which is seen as the first important step of the democratic elected government towards the implementation of a well-balanced housing policy[95]. His mission was to bring together all the forces that could contribute to achieving the housing goals. The RDP set the goal of building 300.000 houses per year with a minimum of one million low-budget houses to be built after five years[96] and the right to housing was included as Section 26 in the 1996 South African Constitution. It states that everyone has the right to have “access to adequate housing”[97].


Already in the mid-eighties, the beginning demise of the apartheid system resulted in the removal of racial restrictions and some early attempts of site-and-service schemes through ‘orderly urbanisation’[98]. In 1990, the government funded the Independent Development Trust (IDT) that embarked on a programme of servicing 100.000 sites through the use of a R7500 ‘capital subsidy’. By the time the National Housing Forum (NHF) was established in 1992 as a multi-party negotiating forum to address the housing crisis, a model for the new subsidy policy was already being tested[99].


Access to housing and secure accommodation was seen as an integral part of the government’s commitment to reduce poverty and improve people’s quality of life. On 27 October 1994, the historic Botshabelo Housing Accord was adopted to bind every segment of society that was concerned with housing, to a social pact that committed to unified action. Botshabelo marked the end of intensive negotiations, and culminated in the acceptance of a framework of principles. These principles were developed to guide the deployment of a single, fair and equitable national housing policy that would serve the needs of a country in transition[100].


In the HWP of 1995, all housing issues - large backlogs, the impact of apartheid policy, constraints in delivery to low-income groups - were set out. Final assent was however not given until the Housing Act 1997. This delay had two reasons. Firstly, it took extensive negotiations between the nine Provincial administrations, other ministries, local government representatives and the National Housing Board (NHB), before the administrative framework and policy details could be accepted and taken to Parliament. Secondly, the existing apartheid housing legislation caused difficulties in the new draft of legislation. The Housing Act 1997 repealed or incorporated major amendments to 35 pieces of legislation, for each element in the old legislation had to be examined in order to ensure that there were no gaps in the new Act[101].


The Housing Act, also known as the ‘housing development’, is defined as follows:

1 (vi) “…the establishment and maintenance of habitable, stable and sustainable public and private residential environments to ensure viable households and communities in areas allowing convenient access to economic opportunities, and to health, educational and social amenities in which all citizens and permanent residents of the Republic will, on a progressive basis, have access to:

(a) permanent residential structures with secure tenure, ensuring internal and external privacy and providing adequate protection against the elements; and

(b) potable water, adequate sanitary facilities and domestic energy supply.”[102]


Other Acts that had great impact on the housing needs were for example the Rental Housing Act (1999) which ensured that more houses were provided for rental purposes and to prevent exorbitant rents. The Act provided for special tribunals to mediate between landlord and tenants and forbid the eviction of long-standing tenants from their homes without mediation. In the Western Cape as well as in Gauteng, Rental Housing Tribunals have already been established; in the remaining provinces tribunals are being established. The Act came into effect on 1 August 2000.


The Housing Consumer Protection Measurers Act (1998) aimed to protect homeowners from inferior workmanship. Builders were made responsible for design and material defects for three months, roof leaks for a year and structural defects for five years. It also obliged residential builders to register with the National Home-builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and to register all new houses under the NHBRC’s Defect Warranty Scheme. Banks were compelled to insist on home-builder registration and enrolment prior to granting a mortgage loan or finance. The first phase of the Act came into effect on 4 June 1999, also making the NHBRC a statutory body.


The Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act (2000) encouraged banks to grant home loans and required them to disclose annual financial statements so that their lending practices could be monitored[103]. The Act aimed at promoting equity and fairness in lending and disclosure by financial institutions. Moreover, the Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act provided for the establishment of the Office of Disclosure. The Act will be implemented as soon as the Regulations under the Act have been promulgated.


The Housing Amendment Act (2001) came into operation on 1 February 2002 to remove some of the inefficiencies in the institutional arrangements covered in the Housing Act 1997. For example, the Housing Amendment Act abolished the Provincial Housing Development Boards, by transferring their powers to the provincial members of executive councils, which were responsible for housing.


Also in 2001, a Draft Social Housing Bill was developed that is in line with the Social Housing Policy discussion. The Draft Social Housing Bill aims to establish a sustainable social housing process, provide for the establishment of the Office of the Registrar of Social Housing Institutions and afford statutory recognition to housing institutions. The Office will establish criteria for housing institutions and ensure good governance and the sustainability of housing institutions[104].


Since the launch of the HWP, the housing policy has undergone some fundamental changes. Since 1994 the government has invested R18 billion in housing[105], but resource constraints and changing demographics required a more quality-driven policy lately, in stead of the former quantity-driven approach. Initially, the housing policy placed much emphasis on home ownership; nowadays it has nevertheless been recognised that the lack of a co-ordinated rental housing policy is a shortcoming. More attention will therefore be paid to monitoring and evaluation to assess the housing strategy.


Since 1999 a new programme was thus initiated to improve the quality of urban environment and to address the failing urban structures and imbalances. In this year, the ANC put ‘housing’ as the first item of its five-year programme for change in its Election Manifesto. The Election Manifesto did not substantially alter the quantity-driven approach, but it acknowledged the need to consider qualitative issues as well[106]. To achieve this, the Department of Housing introduced a multi-year housing strategy development plan that had to take into account the housing backlogs and the housing needs. This Programme is called the Human Settlement Redevelopment Programme (HSRP) and is the successor of the Special Integrated Presidential Projects. The HSRP was developed to impact on the physical, social, economical as well as the environmental sphere of civilians.


Under the HSRP the following projects were, among others, considered[107]:

At this moment, however, the Ministry of Housing is still discontent about the current housing policy and remains to make ‘re-definements’/’re-orientations’/’re-directions’ to it. In 2002, the Minister of Housing said that housing is “not able to function efficiently unless prevailing economic conditions are conducive to growth and investment…[J]ob creation must be stimulated so that people can pay for their housing.”[108] This explains the 2002/2003 budget of R4.245 billion, which is albeit a 6% increase over the 2001/2002 allocation and is a 1.5% of the total national government expenditure. The estimated 35% nominal increase from the year 2002/3003 to the year 2004/2005 is hoped to be a mitigating factor to some fiscal constraints on housing. It is too early to comment in detail on the impact of the recent policy ‘redefinements’, but they are said to be quite significant[109]. The new programmes are hoped to shift the balance of power away from the private sector towards state and civil society and hopefully will catalyse a new market-driven approach to a civil-society driven approach.



3.2 Subsidy schemes and the role of business


3.2.1 Subsidy schemes


Since the government had pledged itself to help “those who were most in need”, it was obvious that she had to develop an integrated housing programme and at the same time provide in subsidies. In 1994, the government introduced the National Housing Subsidy Scheme - following negotiations initiated by the NHF (the National Housing Forum - a multi-party negotiating body). The most important factor of the subsidy system was that it was designed to integrate individual, public and private sector delivery on the same footing. Since 1994, a total of more than 2.3 million subsidies were approved up to the end of September 2003[110].


The National Housing Subsidy Scheme provided for the allocation of different subsidies for different beneficiaries. One of the most important governmental subsidy schemes is the People’s Housing Process (PHP) that was adopted by the Minister of Housing in May 1998. The PHP is based on the fact that people have always built their own houses through their traditional know-how. By teaching people to help build their own houses, the government hoped to create a new self-awareness among them and that the people would look more critically at their own social situation. Through the PHP, the people and the communities are encouraged to think along so that they could fully fulfil their housing needs. In this way communities were being forced to organise themselves and to take decisions collectively about what their own contributions should be and what kind of support was needed. In this manner, subjects like water supply, sanitation and access of roads would be addressed easier.


For the PHP, reconsideration of the provision of a capital subsidy was necessary. In April 2002, government announced therefore a dramatic increase in the subsidy amounts to offset inflation or increase the rapidly declining buying power. The current subsidy escalations are based on the Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) that estimates the annual inflation. On the basis of this escalation, the present value of the 1996 subsidy amount of R16.000 is now equivalent to R20.058. According to the construction industries, the cost of a 30m2 house is estimated at R13.418[111]. Cabinet has approved the principle of a beneficiary contribution, which can be made either in terms of a financial contribution (cash) or through participation (sweat equity) in the PHP. The financial contribution consists of a one-off payment of R2479.


The revised subsidy per income category is as follows:

In short, the PHP uses capital subsidies to assist people to obtain access to technical, financial, logistical and administrative support to build their own homes, on either an individual or a collective basis[112].


Other subsidies provided by the government are, firstly, project-linked subsidies. The project-linked subsidies give individuals the opportunity to own houses in approved projects. Secondly, individual subsidies afford people to access housing subsidies so that they can acquire ownership of an existing property in a project that is not approved of a project-linked subsidy project. Consolidation subsidies provide beneficiaries with housing assistance in the form of ownership of serviced sites and after, the beneficiaries can apply for further benefit from the government to improve their housing circumstances. Institutional subsidies are available to institutions creating affordable housing stock to allow eligible people to live in subsidised residential properties with secure tenure.


Lately, it has been decided to increase the subsidy amounts. While these increases are welcomed, they still are insufficient to build good-quality low-income houses, close to job opportunities and social amenities. The fundamental problem of the subsidy amount not keeping pace with inflation remains. In addition, the National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) building houses for all subsidised housing (other than in the PHP), made it even more difficult to provide the required minimum standard of housing within the subsidy amount (see 3.2.3.).


3.2.2 The Capacitation Programme


The lack of capacity, for which an efficient workforce and the installation of appropriate technology, equipment and systems for monitoring and evaluating are required, is seen as one of the major constraints of the housing delivery. In order to create adequate capacity for the PHP, the Housing Department established in June 1997 the People’s Housing Partnership Trust (PHPT), to implement a Capacitation Programme for the PHP.


The Capacitation Programme, which is funded by the UNDP (UN Development Programme), USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the government and executed by UNCHS (United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, also known as Habitat) is a programme that aims at strengthening the capacity of poor communities to improve their living conditions. The main objective of the programme is to develop capacity at all levels of government (national, provincial and local), non-governmental and community-based organisations, and for communities to support the PHP. The PHPT has five programmes:

The main focus of the 2002/2003 capacity-building programmes lay on the local government[113]. In the year 2002/2003, each province has been allocated an amount of R1.1 million, with the exception of the Northern Cape, which has been allocated an amount of R1.2 million. The total amount allocated to all provinces for housing capacity-building in 2002/2003 was R10 million.


3.2.3 The role of business


South Africa’s banking and finance system has long been reluctant to become involved in the low-cost housing projects. Obvious reason for this is that investors are afraid of non-payment of debts and fees and a surplus of non-performing re-possessed properties. In 1997, the banks held approximately 250.000 mortgage loans with a total of R11 billion in the townships, and of these 34.000 were ‘non-performing’ with little prospect of obtaining possession[114]. Another problem for banks was the so-called ‘viability of loans’. During the apartheid period, one of the few weapons that could be used against the regime was the boycotting of bond and rent-payments. This culture of non-payment has for long been deeply rooted in some areas. While the ‘culture of non-payment’ is today not as present as it was before, nowadays it is the lack of income that leaves banks still somehow reluctant in getting involved in low-cost housing subsidies.


To alleviate the lack of financial support, the government established the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC), which was charged for raising funding from the banking sector and investing it in loans for low-cost properties. The NHFC can give loans directly to the individuals or it can subsidise intermediaries - building firms and smaller developers who otherwise would have problems with obtaining the credit. The most important element in the housing finance policy is the system of one-off capital subsidies to help poor people construct or purchase housing. The maximum subsidy of up to R17.000 is only available to those with an income that is less than R800 per month. No subsidy is paid to those who earn more than R3500 per month.


The mission of the NHFC is to ensure:

According to the South African yearbook 2002/2003, more than two million beneficiaries have improved through the efforts of the NHFC.


Another Housing Institution is the National Home-Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). In 1999, the NHBRC, which was previously a company established under Section 21 of the Companies Act (1973), began to administer the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, that claimed that everyone in the business of home-building must be registered at the NHBRC. The Act obliges all homes, irrespective of the selling price, to be enrolled at the NHBRC. By early 2002, the NHBRC operated in a non-subsidy market, but with effect from 1 April 2002, the NHBRC also covers the subsidy market and its mandate has been extended to include the government’s subsidised low-income houses. For NHBRC cover, beneficiaries are obliged to pay the R2.479 contribution, either through sweat equity or in cash.


The fact that membership of the NHBRC was made mandatory shows the government’s determination to underpin public and private investment in low-cost housing by improving the quality of building. Larger developers and providers of social housing opposed to the measure, bringing up that for the established builders, the measure would merely increase costs, require more bureaucratic procedures and lead to problems in establishing responsibilities of sub-contractors[116].



3.3 Local government


The recent history of South African local government is one of extreme inequality between different municipalities[117]. The call for decentralisation and greater autonomy for local authorities has, because of that, been interpreted as an attempt to protect minority privilege. The ANC’s standpoint thus was that the federalisation would “prevent the essential redistribution needed to ameliorate inequalities caused by apartheid”[118]. The 1993 Local Government Transition Act made provision for the establishment of a two-tier system of metropolitan governance, called the Transition Metropolitan Councils. This resulted in different models in different local metropolitan areas[119]. These different approaches and experiences played a big role in shaping the final metropolitan government model, which is embodied in the White Paper on Local Government (LGWP). The LGWP envisaged that community participation and local democracy could be facilitated through metropolitan substructures and/or ward committees. A system based on substructures consists of a metropolitan council with legislative, executive and administrative powers, with substructure councils that have decentralised functions and powers[120].


With regard to housing, the local government has primarily had the responsibility of ensuring “access to adequate housing on a progressive basis”[121]. Apart from the responsibilities of planning, co-ordination and facilitation for housing, a local government was afforded to join in a national housing programme in accordance with the rules that were applicable to such as programme. Some of the possibilities for local government to join, were the following:


(a) promoting a housing development project by a developer;

(b) …acting as developer in respect of the planning and execution of a housing development project;

(c) entering into a joint venture contract with a developer in respect of a housing development project;

(d) establishing a separate business entity to execute a housing development project;

(e) administering any national housing programme in respect of its area of jurisdiction…;

(f) facilitating and supporting the participation of other roleplayers in the housing development project.[122]


With regard to granting a subsidy, all three spheres of government - national, provincial and local/municipal - are involved. The national government allocates a certain amount of money to each province, depending on population, size and urgency[123]. Within the allocation, a specified amount has to be spent on the three main fields of social expenditure: health care, housing and education. Once the provincial government receives the money, it has the freedom to grant it either to projects, institutions or individuals. For this, the provincial government uses local government as its consultant. Local authorities base their decisions on two things. Either, a development firm is hired to professionally plan all the steps that follow a granted subsidy, or it is pursued through governmental processes.


Local government has however been unable to fully carry out her responsibilities. Key problems to the responsibility of local government on housing have been identified as follows. The fact that delivery was mainly seen as an administrative exercise and therefore uncontroversial as well as limited financial resources and an insufficient tax base, that caused delivery to become merely a political question were some of the reasons. Local governments furthermore lost their legitimacy because communities believe that provincial and national governments are more capable of addressing local needs, and they bypass the local state “by acting unilaterally through land invasions, informal connections to the electricity network and so on”[124].


Under-expenditure and deficient implementation of partnerships are nevertheless seen as the biggest problems of local government. In the first three months of the financial year 2003, the North West Province and the Western Cape spent only respectively 2.6% and 38.3% of its capital expenditure allocation[125]. Main reasons for the under-expenditure are slow identification and transfer of land, the lack of institutional coherence when it comes to the contribution of beneficiaries[126], the new set of housing policies and a lack of institutional and management capacity on municipal level[127].


The deficient implementation of partnership on the other hand, started to grow extensively after 1999. Under the Mandela government (1994-1999), the private sector was given primary responsibility to the housing delivery status, but since 1999, the government decided to change its “policy on private sector involvement, and made municipalities the drivers of housing provision. Because of the virtual exclusion of the private sector, housing delivery began slowing down in the past five years.”[128] Since the exclusion of the private sector from most roles except that of the financers, delivery rates declined dramatically, with the result that “in most provinces the local authorities and/or provincial departments are sitting on large sums of unspent money budgeted for this purpose”[129].



3.4 Assessment


Despite the gigantic amount of laws and acts that the Ministry of Housing adopted in the last ten years, at this moment she is still making adaptations and amendments. Budgetarian adjustments are made to the height of the subsidy amount, yet this has not yet resulted in a decrease of the housing backlog or the building of good-quality low-income houses. The fact that government shifted in 1999 from a private-sector to a municipality approach has not helped in this matter. Local governments have turned out to be unable to carry out their responsibilities and under-expenditure and deficient implementation of partnerships became main problems in the execution of the housing policy.



4. The Facts: Data and Trends since 1994


In the previous chapters I have described the government’s promises and the subsequent adopted acts, laws and policies. In this chapter, focus will lie upon the actual government performance of the last ten years. For this I will mainly rely upon the Annual Survey of the South Africa Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) of the years 1994/1995, 1999/2000 and the most recent one, 2002/2003, since the SAIRR is in my opinion one of the most trustworthy of the independent sources. I have chosen those specific years for they are the years in which the national elections were held[130]. By combining the results of these turning years, I believe one can come to a well-balanced outcome of the actual government performance in the last ten years.


Due to the historical apartheid legacy, South Africa still has some of the highest income disparities in the world, reflected in a monthly average income for blacks 18 times less than that for whites in 1995[131]. Moreover, African-headed households have the lowest average annual incomes, followed by Coloured-headed households. White-headed households have the highest average annual incomes. 23% of African households earned less than R500 per month, compared to 11% of Coloured and 1% of both Indian and White households. By contrast, 65% of White households earned more than R4000 per month, compared to 45% Indian, 17% Coloured and 10% African households[132]. But black economic empowerment since the middle nineties has created new kinds of equalities: black-on-black.


Practically, since 1999 housing delivery is a provincial responsibility, with housing allocations made annually by central government[133]. Allocations are made on the basis of the population size, among others. Out of the nine provinces South Africa has, Gauteng, geographically the smallest one, produced in 2001 38% of the country’s GDP, while the Northern Province was the most disadvantaged province in the country. In 2002/2003, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal, the most populous provinces, had the biggest allocations and also duly spent most of the budgetary allocations. Notwithstanding nationally defined goals and objectives, Gauteng generally had the most capacity to address the needs of its population, while Northern Province and Eastern Cape had the least[134]. The disparity of provinces translates therefore into a capacity problem on the part of the provincial governments to meet the needs of their respective populations.


However, some of the bigger provinces geographically are also the rural successors of the former homeland administrations, which were disestablished when South Africa democratised in 1994. These new provincial governments had little experience to govern. Hence, they suffered from capacity and delivery problems after 1994. For example, the Eastern Cape (formerly Ciskei and Transkei) and Limpopo Provinces (formerly Venda, Lebowa and Gazankula) spent only 20% and 10% of their budget allocations for housing respectively in 1994/1995. Gradually, as experience increased, capacity picked up. By 2000/2001, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo spent no less than 94% and 105% respectively of their housing budgets[135] (see Figure 7).



4.1 1994/1995: Delivery, data and trends


4.1.1 Statistics, promises and policies[136]

In 1994 the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said that South Africa had a formal housing stock of some 3.4 million units compared with an estimated 4.4 million households. Only 25% of the formal units (836.380) were occupied by African households, which were numbered some 2.2 million (2.188.448). The CSIR interpreted ‘acceptable’ housing as formal housing and calculated the housing backlog as the difference between the number of households living in urban areas and the number of formal houses which existed in those areas. This indicated thus a total shortage of formal housing stock among Africans in urban areas of some 1.3 million (2.188.448 minus 836.380).


A document published jointly by the Department of Housing and the NHF in October 1994 outlined the government’s national housing vision. The document defined housing as a ‘variety of processes through which habitable, stable and sustainable public and private residential environments would be created for viable households and communities’. Although there was no single formula to provide for housing, a national strategy was adopted which recognised the importance of the environment in which housing was located. It proposed that well-located land should be used to allow residents access to economic opportunities as well as education, health and social amenities. Due to the absence of a single formula, execution was hardly possible.


1.6 million informal housing units were estimated in urban areas and the National Electrification Forum estimated that 2.9 million existed in the rural areas, bringing the total estimated number of informal houses in South Africa to 4.5 million. Even though the CSIR estimated that the urban housing backlog was 1.3 million in 1994, Dr Tobie de Vos[137] of the CSIR and Mr Moses Mayekiso MP (ANC) estimated that the national housing backlog was 3 million (including hostels and rural areas). The government allocated R1.8 billion to housing in 1994/95 (representing 1.3% of the national budget). The Department also had some R1 billion left over from the 1993/94 budget, bringing the amount available for housing for the year 1994/1995 to R2.7 billion.


Table 1: Housing stock (formal and informal): 1994


Formal (urban)






Eastern Cape





Eastern Transvaal















Northern Cape





Northern Transvaal















Western Cape










a. Coloured, Indian and white ã Survey SAIRR 1994/95, p. 506

b. Orange Free State

c. Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging


Despite the estimated need for some 1.3 million houses in 1994, Mr Harry Touzel of the Division of Building Technology at the CSIR, pointed out in a paper that the ‘effective demand’ would be restricted by consumers’ ability to afford housing. In line with Mr Touzel’s argument, surveys conducted by the Bureau of Economic Research at the University of Stellenbosch during the third quarter of 1994 showed that 41% of building contractors reported that ‘insufficient demand’ for residential building was the most serious constraint on their building activity. In an attempt to ensure that the government housing subsidy policy did cater for the needs of the poorest households, the HWP created a fourth subsidy category for households with an income of less than R800 a month.


In October 1994 Dr Tobie de Vos of CSIR and Mr Mayekiso of the ANC stated that R2.2 billion had been allocated from the 1994/95 budget to the nine provinces for the granting of subsidies. In view of the fact that 78.5% of households eligible for housing subsidies in South Africa had been entitled to the maximum subsidy of R12.500 at the time, the two estimated that the government’s plans to build 1 million low-cost houses within five years would cost R11.5 billion in housing subsidies at 1994 prices.


The deputy director general of the Department of Housing, Mr Neville Karsten, told the parliamentary joint committee on finance in July 1994 that finances available for housing would have to be increased to R80 billion in the next ten years to meet South Africa’s housing needs. Mr Karsten said the government would have to contribute R46 billion (58%) of this, while the rest had to come from the private sector. Even more, government hid behind excuses that ‘both supply-side constraints (insufficient capacity to deliver the required units) and demand-side constraints (inability of most South Africans to afford formal housing) made the delivery of formal housing on a large scale unfeasible’.


Patrick Bond came with very different figures when he stated in October 1994 that the arguments that formal housing could not be provided because of fiscal constraints was untrue. The construction of 1 million four-roomed houses with standard services costing about R25.000 each was ‘financially feasible’ and should be ‘embarked upon without delay’[138]. Bond stated that the state needed only to spend R13.75 billion (R2.75 billion a year over five years), while R12.5 billion could be raised through the private sector.


Naturally, problems with the execution of the housing policy in the year 1994 were abundantly present, since it was the first year of ANC rule. In the policy paper RDP, the housing problem was addressed as a priority; little attention was however paid to implementation. Moreover, in the early period after 1994 the views about what physically constituted ‘adequate’ housing varied. The housing policy as proposed by the Department of Housing envisaged dwellings of 15m2, since this was the size that the Independent Development Trust (IDT) had advised. Mr Mofokeng[139] claimed nevertheless that government should provide for houses with a minimum size of between 48m2 and 50m2 with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom and lavatory, once more since the poorest families exist most of the time of many members. These disparities made delivery highly difficult.


In the period May 1994 to October 1995, 10.163 houses were built with state assistance. This was far from the annual target of 200.000 units per year or the minimum of 1 million houses to be built after five years. In 1994 about 73% of houses in urban areas had electricity, compared with 15% in rural areas. The rural areas of the Eastern Cape had the smallest proportion of electrified houses (3%), while the rural areas of Gauteng had the highest (55%). In 1994, of the total estimated 8 million dwellings in South Africa, only about 4.8 million in both urban and non-urban areas used publicly supplied electricity for lighting. Only 8% of non-urban African households enjoyed running water in their homes, compared to 81.4% of the whites. Some 12.6% of African households had no sanitation facilities in 1994, while among whites, 99.9% used flush lavatories[140]. In September 1995, the Minister of Housing Ms Mthembi-Nkondo, said that the government had spent some R1.4 billion on housing during the 1994/1995 financial year which is 52% of the national budget.


4.1.2 Assessment of the year 1994/1995


The year 1994/1995 was still an exploring year for the South African housing policy. It was a year in which “we needed to sort out the mess we inherited”[141]. For the first time, national statistics about the housing backlog became public and it was clear that the government would have a difficult task in solving this issue. A national housing policy was drafted, but not completely finished in this year; many drafts were still under review or being revised. For example, it took over a year for the HWP, first published in December 1994, to be approved by government. Naturally this was a major cause for delay in the delivery process. Moreover, too little attention was paid to implementation of the housing policy, which hindered the delivery process enormously.


In 1994, some possible restrictions to the successful execution of the housing policy, such as insufficient demand and different views on the desired size of the units, were identified. Despite the promising solutions (such as an extended subsidy for the very poor) the results after the first year of executing the housing policy were however disappointing. Fewer than 6% of the intended 50.000 low-income home loans had been granted by November 1995 and the IMF reported in January 1996 that only 65% of the people in African townships were paying for their services. Underexpenditure was a problem in the year 1994/1995, and statistics moreover proved that the difference in provincial delivery was enormous. Gauteng, with the highest proportion of electrified houses in 1994 was, not accidentally, also the wealthiest province.



4.2 1999/2000: Delivery, data and trends


4.2.1 Statistics, promises and policies[142]

At the beginning of 2000, the South African housing backlog was estimated at between 3 and 4 million units, according to the Department of Housing. The delivery process was faced with financial constraints, administrative backlogs and corruption in government. Private developers complained that housing subsidies were being eroded by inflation, and were too low to finance services and build a decent sized top structure. Government decided nevertheless to change the private sector approach into a municipal approach, taking responsibility away from the private sector. Also, in April 1999, the government increased the subsidy amount; the subsidy payable to the lowest-income group was increased by 7%. In December 1998 the Department of Housing introduced national norms and standards for low-cost housing. These were aimed at shortening the huge disparities among the size and quality of homes being built with the government’s subsidy. The minimum size of houses to be built with the government’s subsidy was set at 30m2.


In October 1999, 60% of all households in South Africa lived in urban areas. Compared to households headed by other population groups in South Africa, African-headed households (50%) were the least urbanised[143]. Between 1995 and 1999, according to Statistics South Africa the number of informal dwellings in urban areas increased by 142%. The number of formal dwellings in urban areas increased only by 5%. In 1999/2000 a total of R9.8 billion was allocated to housing and community development, an increase of 15% over the 1998/1999 allocation (R8.5 billion). Between April 1994 and March 1999, the total amount of houses being built or under reconstruction was 745.717, still some 250.000 short of the target of one million. However, in February 2000, the total of low-cost houses built or under reconstruction was 993.328[144] and by May 2001, almost 1.2 million low-cost houses were built or under construction.


Table 2: Housing delivery: April 1994-March 1999




Proportion of 1 million housing target to be met

Actual number of houses to be built

Total number of subsidies approved

Houses built or under reconstruc-tiona

Proportion of provincial target built or under reconstruction

Eastern Cape






Free State
























North West






Northern Cape






Northern Province






Western Cape












a. After December 1997 the Department ã Survey SAIRR 1999/2000, p. 168

of housing ceased to publish separate figures

for houses built and houses under construction.

By December 1997 some 235.709 houses had

been built while 233.735 were under construction.


During the years 1994-1999 the government made tremendous efforts to speed up delivery and so improve the living conditions of poor communities. However, the Centre for Policy Studies said that the emphasis on ‘rapid delivery’ had undermined the sustainability of projects. In 1999, the government claimed significant progress in the delivery of services such as electricity, sanitation, telephones and water. Even though these services had improved the living conditions of disadvantaged communities, many rural were unable to afford the monthly tariffs. The National Electricity Regulator (NER) said that the consumption of electricity by newly connected consumers remained low. The Helen Suzman Foundation claimed that the reason for this was that the culture of non-payment among Africans spread gradually to other racial groups, because people were becoming poorer and poorer due to economic decline - GEAR had not achieved its aim to strengthen economic growth and to increase and redistribute employment opportunities. The non-payment of course was a problem for government but even more for the state’s electricity utility Eskom.


In October 1998, the NER announced plans to introduce a subsidy, or ‘poverty tariff’, in 1999 to reduce the cost of basic cooking and lighting electricity of poor households. According to the scheme, the government would subsidise more than half of South African households that had electricity. Households earning less than R1.500 a month (some 60% of households in 1996) and those earning less than R500 a month (some 25% of all households) would qualify for poverty tariffs. Other consumers were expected to share part of the bill for the subsidy with Eskom. In 1999, the plan had not yet been implemented.


With regard to the government’s water supply and sanitation programme, some communities and municipalities would not be able to afford the operating and maintenance costs associated with keeping water running and this was seen as a big problem. More than R9.7 billion was owed to municipalities in arrears rates and service accounts in 1998 and some city councils cut supplies to non-payers in an attempt to recover arrears for municipal services. The Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry warned however, that the government would act against municipalities that failed to provide water and sanitation for their residents. Some municipalities nevertheless refused to take over responsibilities for running the schemes, because they claimed that they were not consulted and informed of the operating costs before the schemes were implemented[145].


In 1999, some 12% of households lived in informal dwellings, compared to 67% in formal dwellings. According to Statistics South Africa, the proportion of households living in traditional dwellings decreased from 13% in 1998 to 11% in 1999. At the end of 1999, some 34% of houses in South Africa did not have electricity, but the number of households that did have electricity increased from 55% in 1996 to 66% in 1999. By the end of 1999 the Eastern Cape had the lowest number of households with electricity (53%), while the Western Cape had the highest (84%). Local government and Eskom completed a total of 443.290 electricity connections in 1999.


Of the 11 million households in South Africa in 1999, 61% did not have running tap water inside their dwelling in 1999, according to Statistics South Africa. Moreover, the Water Commission said that 25% of water was lost through leakage.


Table 3: People provided with water supply by province March 1994-March 1999a



Proportion of total

Eastern Cape



Free State









North West



Northern Cape



Northern Province



Western Cape






Survey SAIRR 1999/2000, p. 161


a. Gauteng was the only province where reconstruction

and development projects on water supply were not implemented.


Although the figure above shows that some 3.5 million people have been provided with water between 1994 and 1999, there were still some 12 million people without water. An investigation sponsored by the Water Research Commission found that the poor performance of many water projects was not because of the lack of affordability, but because the lack of community co-operation and involvement. The report cited weak community leadership, lack of communication between water committees and communities and ‘ill-advised’ engineering consultants as some of the reasons[146]. This was fatal for the housing policy, for as the HWP already stated in 1994, partnership between the various tiers of government, the private sector and communities was necessary for a sustained delivery of housing.


4.2.2 Assessment of the year 1999/2000


After five years of democratic rule in South Africa, the housing policy still left much to be desired. Implementation of the housing policy was hampered by the late introduction of national standards and norms for low-cost housing. We should not forget that the RDP focused merely on vision in stead of on design and development, and while government tried to speed up slow delivery caused by financial constraints, administrative backlogs and corruption, it just undermined the sustainability of projects. Social and economic reasons made many South Africans poorer and poorer, which caused for them to be incapable of paying for services. Even though plans were announced for extra subsidies for this matter, in 1999 nothing had effectively been done. Municipalities were unable to pay for services, or simply refused, and a lack of co-operation, involvement and weak community leadership worsened the situation.


Of the target of 1 million houses to be built after five years, 745.717 were built or under reconstruction in 1999, some 75% of the total. Meanwhile, the housing shortage was still estimated at between 3 and 4 million units. At the end of 1999 the number of households that did have electricity increased from 55% in 1996 to 66%, still leaving 34% of houses in South Africa without electricity. In five years time the government supplied some 3.5 million people with water, but still 12 million people were left without. Despite some great achievements by government, the targets set in 1994 were not reached in 1999, leaving millions of people without ‘adequate housing’. Moreover, despite the explicit standards offered by the RDP for an acceptable quality of housing, this was not accomplished in the years 1994-1999.



4.3 2002/2003: Delivery, data, trends[147]

4.3.1 Statistics, promises and policies [148]

The Department of Housing’s allocation increased from R3.7 billion in 2001/2002 to R4.2 billion in the 2002/2003 financial year. In 2002, some 1.3 million houses were delivered since 1994 to the public, including houses initiated by the RDP, as well as the Department’s new social (rental) housing scheme (see the end of 4.3.1.), according to the minister of housing, Mw Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele. However, still 7.4 million people were in 2003 waiting for the delivery of houses.


Figure 1 (Source: South Africa Survey 2002/2003)


As of December 2002, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry was revising the 1994 White Paper on Water Supply and Sanitation to address confusion around the supply of free basic water and sanitation, and to address concern about water cut-offs. According to the white paper, everyone has the right to a basic supply of 25 litres of clean water per day, or 6000 litres per household per month, no one should be without a water supply for more than seven full days in a year, and municipalities must inform parties whose water supply is to be cut off[149]. As of August 2002, 57% of the population had access to free basic water.


Table 3: Delivery of free watera by province, 2002




Total population (m)

Total population with access to free basic water (m)

Proportion of population with access to free basic water (m)

Eastern Cape




Free Stateb




















North West




Northern Cape




Western Cape




South Africa




Survey SAIRR 2002/2003, p. 383

a. In February 2001 the Cabinet approved an implementation plan for 6000 litres of free water per households per month. The government set a target date of July 2001 for the implementation of this programme by local government structures. Free basic water is funded using local government revenue and internal cross-subsidies from appropriately structured water tariffs.

b. According to the director of Intatakusa Consulting, Mr Stoffel van Beek, the discrepancy in the proportion of population with access to free basic water in the Free State is explained by the fact that the total population figures were derived from the 1996 Population Census and the total population with access to free basic water figures were derived from various local authorities and are more updated.

c. The aim is to have 100% delivery by 2008



In the period 1994-March 2002, some 7.2 million people were provided with water service or sanitation, while 374 water projects were completed.


Figure 2 (source: South Africa Survey 2002/2003)

a. A project is capital works infrastructure (water services and sanitation) that must be completed within a defined period of time within a defined budget. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry appointed implementing agents to execute projects of their behalf to rural communities.

b. Statistics for Gauteng are not available in this period.


Between 1995 and 2000, the proportion of households with access to clean water for domestic use increased from 79% to 84%. The number of households making use of informal facilities for sanitation increased nevertheless as well, from 8% to 11%.


Figure 3 (source: South Africa Survey 2002/2003)


a. Gauteng spent 0% of its allocated budget for water services during this period.


In the period 1994-2004, South Africa enjoyed low and declining prices for electricity, according to the minister of minerals and energy. The reasons for this include the availability of cheap low-grade coal in South Africa, South Africa’s ageing power-generating assets whose depreciation charges are lower than on new assets, and the declining debt of Eskom. As of December 2002, the total amount owed to Eskom by all customers was estimated to be R2.1 billion; of this amount, municipalities owed R277.2 million to Eskom.


Figure 4 (source: South Africa Survey 2002/2003)



Between 1995 and 2000, the proportion of households defined as formal increased from 66% to 73%, however formal housing delivery rates have slowed down recently[150]. From 1996 to 2001, the proportion of households with electricity increased from 55% to 66%.


Table 4: Households with and without electricity in South Africa 2001


Total number of households

Number of households with electricity

Number of households without electricity

Proportion of households without electricity
















 Survey SAIRR 2002/2003, p. 403


During the year 2002/2003, the Department undertook the assessment of the Housing Subsidy Scheme, to see whether it complied with the 1996 Constitution and the relevant Acts and Laws. The findings of the investigation indicated that, with the exception of the Individual Housing Subsidy Programme, none of the programmes of the Scheme complied with the prescriptions. Therefore, a policy revision framework was necessary.


One of the revised programmes was the Project Linked Subsidy Programme (PLSP). At 1 April 2002, the revised programme was implemented, which constituted a complete new development process. From this moment on, all housing development initiatives would at first be based on approved municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDP) and secondly, municipalities should fulfil the role of developers and initiate, plan and direct the housing development projects. If municipalities lacked capacity, provincial governments should assist them.


In the year 2003, the Department of Housing furthermore revised a policy paper on social housing in South Africa. Government acknowledged that the development of acceptable housing and sustainable rental housing could only be realised through sustainable social housing institutions and adequate private sector involvement. Local authorities should remain to play a key role as partners in social housing development, though. During the years 1999-2003, some 60 Social Housing Institutions (SHIs) emerged, the social housing sector however stayed to be dependent on private sector support and funding. This dependence, caused by, in the Department’s own words, “a lack of a defined policy and regulatory environment”[151] naturally limits the social housing development. In the same document the guiding principles for social housing are set forth which should help government in creating an enabling environment for the delivery of social housing. Ten years after the implementation of the NHSS yet another document was developed for an effective delivery of housing.


Since the foundation of the housing subsidy scheme in 1995, more than 1.614 million housing units in South Africa have been built or are under construction. In the process, more than seven million people have been assisted to obtain a home of their own. However, in the year 2003, still some 1.034.134 households remained in informal settlements[152]. This means that the total number of people living in informal settlements is about 5.2 million (referring to the 2001 Census that a household exists of 3.8 people per informal dwelling)[153]. The bulk of that backlog is located among the lowest income ranges. Despite the housing delivery programme, informal dwellings have grown by 0.4% as a proportion of the national housing stock.


4.3.2 Assessment of the year 2002/2003


After almost ten years of democracy, the South African housing department is still changing and adapting its housing policy. It was not until the year 2002/2003 that the Department undertook an assessment to see if the Subsidy Scheme actually complied with the relevant Acts and Laws[154]. It turned out that none of the programmes complied and revision was necessary. Government documents furthermore showed that new guiding principles for social housing were created in 2002/2003, meaning that previous regulations either did not exist or were simply insufficient.


In 2002, some 1.3 million houses were delivered, including the houses initiated by the RDP, and the houses provided for under the new housing subsidy scheme. 57% of the population had access to clean water in that year, and since 1994 7.2 million people had been provided with water service or sanitation. The other side of the coin, however: in 2003 still some 7.4 million people were living in informal dwellings, and the housing backlog in 2002 was estimated at 16.4% of all households. Despite 66% of the population having access to electricity, more than one third is left without.



4.4 Overall assessment of the years 1994/1999/2002


In numbers, the South African Housing Department did okay in the first ten years of democracy. Even though the target of 1 million houses to be built in 1999 was not reached, ten years after the change to democracy more than 1.6 million houses have been built or are under construction.


Figure 5 (source: South Africa Survey 1999/2000 and 2002/2003)


Figure 6 shows however, that this accomplishment is far from enough to provide ‘adequate housing’ for all.


Figure 6 (source: South Africa Housing Department)


While in the beginning years none of the provinces (with the exception of the Eastern Cape) was capable of spending its allocated budget, from the year 1997/1998 onwards; all provinces started to spend at least 80% of its budget. In addition, the provincial capacity problems from the beginning years, are hardly present in the second half of the decade.


Figure 7 (source: South Africa Survey 2002/2003)


During the years 1995-2000, the percentage of people having access to clean water for domestic use grew from 79% to 84%. Now, in 2004, more than 7.2 million people have been provided with water services, and 66% of the total population has access to electricity. Nevertheless, in 2004, still 7.4 million people are living in informal dwellings, and one third of the total population is left without electricity. Thus, despite the implementation of the poverty tariff in 1999, millions of people lack basic access to electricity services and Eskom, the national electricity utility, is short of R2.1 billion, of which R277.2 million is owed by municipalities. Whether this deficit is caused by the relatively low national budget spent on housing yearly can not be said for sure. Government far from spent the promised 5% of the national budget on housing, as was stated in the RDP. What is certain though, is that the national budget spent on housing, with an average of 2.0% of the yearly budget, is one of the lowest allocations made by national government.


Figure 8 (source: South Africa Survey 2002/2003)



5. Township Visits


5.1 Origin of townships


Since the repealing of apartheid laws in 1994, there has been a considerable population increase at the outskirts of urban areas from within South Africa and from neighbouring countries seeking for job opportunities. This resulted not only in the overcrowding of hostels, but also in the exponential increase of informal settlements, also known as townships. In South Africa, the word ‘township’ refers to a residential area for black Africans and coloureds that segregates them from other racial groups within a city.


Cape Town, as capital of the Western Cape province and the parliamentary capital of South Africa, is a city surrounded by miles of informal settlements. When apartheid was erected in the Cape area, the right of the Coloureds to vote was removed. Moreover, since the Coloureds had no ‘Homeland’, the Western half of the Cape province was declared a ‘coloured preference area’, which meant no black person could be employed unless it could be proved that there was no suitable coloured person for the job. For the coloureds, there was no formal housing available though, and neither for the blacks, and as a result, illegal squatter camps mushroomed on the sandy plains to the east of Cape Town[155], also known as the Cape Flats.


In response, government bulldozers flattened the shanties, and their occupants were dragged away and dumped in their homelands. But, within weeks, the shanties would arise again. For decades, the government tried to eradicate the squatter towns, but without much success. In its last attempt, between May and June 1986, an estimated 70.000 people were driven from their homes and hundreds were killed. Even this attack was unsuccessful in eradicating the towns, and the government accepted the inevitable and began to upgrade conditions. Vast townships sprung up across the Cape Flats, which now consists of a vast number of townships where the majority of coloured and African people live. Inheritance of apartheid planning is that African and coloured townships, which in many cases are quite close to each other, remain to be separated from each other by open strips of land, a highway or the railway line. The Cape Flats are now home to possible two million or more people[156].

Despite some exotic sounding names like Bishop Lavis, Bonteheuvel, Langa (sun), Nyanga (moon), Gugulethu (our pride) and Khayelitsha (our new home), living in these townships is not as exotic as one would expect. For the most part, the townships are lifeless places, almost comparable to urban ghettos. Houses are usually tiny and overcrowded, and in most townships, there are blocks upon blocks of flats, which are all tiny and serve as breeding ground for gang and other unsavoury activities. The maintenance of buildings and roads is virtually non-existent, despite many attempts. Nevertheless, most attempts have been in coloured townships and African townships meanwhile remain to look quite appalling.



5.2 Visited townships


One of the townships I personally visited in the Cape area, just under the smoke of Cape Town International Airport, is Khayelitsha, meaning ‘new home’. Miles from the centre of Cape Town, originally it was created in the 1980’s as a dumping ground for Africans who were not permitted to live in the established townships of Langa, Nyanga and Gugulethu. Close to the ocean and built on sand dunes, Khayelitsha is one of the newest townships in South Africa, but already one of the biggest. With over a million inhabitants and about 60% of youth it is the third largest township in South Africa. Most of Khayelitsha’s residents are migrants from the Eastern Cape, and the most common language spoken is Xhosa.


Khayelitsha is a somewhat weird combination of formal and informal houses, with the informal ones (made of wood and iron) clearly visible from the main highway, the N2. Parts of the township are relatively well developed, with permanent houses on paved roads. Other parts are hardly developed and people live in tiny shacks without plumbing or regular electricity. In some parts government has recently provided electricity and plumbing. Some brick houses have started to appear.


On windy days Khayelitsha, just like other townships south east of Cape Town, has the problem of sandstorms making the streets inaccessible, even more because the area that comprises Khayelitsha is mostly flat surrounded by some sand dunes. In wintertime large parts are flooded, forcing people to wade knee-deep in water while using buckets to scoop the water out of their houses. Just like in many other townships, the crime rate in Khayelitsha is quite high. In Khayelitsha however, the inhabitants try to fight back the high crime rate by setting up committees on each street that are responsible for everyone’s protection. It is a version of the well known ‘neighbourhood watch’ that is experienced with in other, wealthier, neighbourhoods. Despite the absence of official figures, it seems as if this programme is working; the crime rate has been brought back.

Another township I visited in the surroundings of Cape Town was Gugulethu, among inhabitants better known as Gugs. Gugulethu, meaning “our pride”, is one of the oldest black townships in South Africa and was established as a result of the migrant labour system. The people were allocated rooms in hostels. In these hostels, three men had to share a tiny room. No wives were allowed to visit their husbands, and they stayed behind in the former Transkei and Ciskei homelands. Poverty, oppression and overcrowding were abundantly apparent in Gugulethu during apartheid years. Housing lacked electricity and proper plumbing for sanitation until the 1980’s. Gradually, women have started to live with their husbands in the hostels, but conditions still are not good. Families have to share a bathroom and a kitchen. As a result of these poor living conditions most of the migrant workers moved out of the hostels and built their own shacks for privacy. Later formal houses were built to accommodate some of the people. The hostels remain the oldest buildings in Gugulethu.


Currently, Gugulethu is one of the fastest developing townships in South Africa. A shopping complex has been established that serves not only Gugulethu but also some other close-by townships like Philippi. Gugulethu is the first township with an information technology centre. The centre provides in youth development programmes and several trainings. Also, the area has a sports field, community centres and schools. Like other townships, Gugulethu is trying to ride along on the growing tourist industry of South Africa. An art shop is present in the township, where art students and local artists are supported. It also serves a photo gallery. Young artists make sculptures, ceramics, beadwork and clothing, which are sold on nearby craft markets to tourists.


Sadly, Gugulethu may by some only be known because of the murder on Amy Biehl. Amy Biehl was a 26-year-old American girl studying at Stanford University that dedicated herself to ending apartheid in South Africa. When she won a Fulbright Scholarship in 1992 she decided to go to South Africa to work in underprivileged communities. On the evening of 25 August 1993, Amy was driving through Gugulethu when she fell prey to an angry group of black youths. They forced her to stop and dragged her from her car, after which they murdered her. Years later the four youths, which were convicted to 18 years in prison, were pardoned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and set free after serving four years. Amy’s parents endorsed the decision of the TRC, because they thought their daughter would have supported the granted amnesty. They created the Amy Biehl Foundation, which is until today working in townships surrounding Cape Town to reduce community violence and to educate the young. The ABF makes some commercial undertakings to bring itself into publicity and to keep the vision of Amy alive. Shockingly, on each pack of milk I bought during my stay in South Africa I saw Amy Biehl’s name and an explanation of the ABF.

Closer to Stellenbosch, there is a township named “Kayamandi”. Kayamandi, meaning “sweet home” in Xhosa, was founded in the early 1950’s as part of the increased segregation during apartheid regime. Originally, Kayamandi was built to house only black migrant labourers employed on the farms surrounding Stellenbosch. It is not precisely clear how many inhabitants Kayamandi has, but the amount is estimated at some 20.000. Overall, Kayamandi has no running water inside the shacks, only in some hostels or outside the dwellings are some taps. In the hostels, overcrowding is once again a major problem. The hostels - built in the late 1970’s for the migrant workers - are far from capable of housing everyone. Families have homes in the long hallways of hostels, and do not have any space for themselves. Per hostel two toilets but no bathrooms are available. Remarkable feature in all townships but in Kayamandi in specific, is the high number of churches. All are well maintained, with little gardens in front of it, and new churches are built continuously.


The University of Stellenbosch has initiated a township project three years ago in which students are involved in Kayamandi life. Students can teach or spend afternoons with kids to play sports or do some arts and crafts. In this matter, the different inhabitants of Stellenbosch can take an inside look in each other’s lives, and learn from one another.


Other townships I visited in the surroundings of Cape Town, were Philippi and Wallace Dean. In Philippi the current number of inhabitants is estimated at 500.000. Philippi is some 20 kilometres away from Cape Town and was established in the early eighties during the power struggle in Crossroads, a nearby township. To escape from the violence in Crossroads, people fled to the area that is nowadays known as Philippi. In the early nineties, development in Philippi started to grow and the first groups of people started to live in “serviced-sites”. The municipality provided these “serviced-sites” which include access to basic services such as water and sanitation. After 1998, some houses were built according to the RDP. In 1999, free basic water was slowly being provided for in Philippi. This has not worked well though, at this moment there is hardly any electricity available, nor is there (easy) access to water or flush toilets.


As a contrast to the townships I have visited, I also went to two newly developed housing projects called Delft/Leiden and Delft South. These two projects are governmental ventures, developed to create more houses under the national housing subsidy scheme. Delft/Leiden is a housing project finished in 2003 and with some R116 million it is the largest housing project ever undertaken by the city of Cape Town. Developed in response to the housing backlog in the Western Cape, the project involved development of 6.320 housing units on land owned by the City of Cape Town (CCT). The low-cost houses provide subsidised housing to very low-income families. I will in short explain the process of the development of Delft/Leiden, since this project serves as an example for governmental housing projects.


Before starting to actually build housing units for Delft/Leiden, it was known which people were going to live in Delft/Leiden. Half of the people came from the ISLP and half of the people came from the Tygerberg waiting list[157]. Then CCT appointed a project manager - Power Developments – that signed a contract with CCT. A lot of effort was put in fitting the budget into the available funds since financial aspects are extremely important in this matter. Any profit would be divided among the parties. The budgets were tight and the funds provided requirements for houses. The houses in Delft/Leiden were compulsory to have 30m2, plus water and sewage facilities. Unfortunately, electricity was not included in the contract. The design of the houses was created in a way that no waste materials arose. The project started in May 2002, full services were installed by December 2002 at R5.000 per unit. The last house was handed over in September 2003 and today some 30.000 people are living in the area.


As described, Delft/Leiden was a well-planned project. The CCT knew what it wanted and could therefore be clear to the developing agent. Also, there was enough willingness to make the project possible. The subsidy applications were dealt with very fast and due to the high need for delivery, the CCT released some standards[158]. A good point in the Delft/Leiden project, is the easy access to transport and community buildings. On the other hand, not all worked out as planned. Less double-stored houses were built than planned, because they were far more expensive than the single stories. Practical problems moreover rose when the houses in a row were built, which had the unexpected side effect of the middle house not having access to a sewage in the back of the house. Also, the erf (plot) of the middle house is much smaller than the erfs of the other houses. This causes friction between the beneficiaries, because all houses are provided under the same subsidy, but some families randomly get more space than others do.



5.3 Personal impression


During my visits to the townships the overall feeling was a sad one. When considering the water accessibility, the first impression during all of my visits was that there is hardly any running water available for families. The families living in the shacks usually do not have a tap in their dwelling, however, in every township I visited, there is running water available at specific public places. The inhabitants nevertheless reaffirmed that, even though free water should be available for every person in South Africa at this moment, this is not always the case, nor is the amount high enough when it is available. 25 litres per person per day, or 6000 litres per household per month, turns out to be too little. Even more, the households in townships often exist of many family members, which leads to a higher shortage of water.


As to sanitation, things are not much better. Again, informal dwellings in the townships do not have access to a toilet, nor do they have a pit latrine. Either family members have to use the available public toilets, or sometimes several families share a sanitation system with other families. Sadly, the lack of a proper sanitation system could have been and should have been solved already. At one visit to Wallace Dean a harsh feeling came over me. As I was walking around, seeing the sewer running through the side of the road and people doing their washing right next to that, I noticed some toilet latrines. However, they were in a terrible state. Apparently, the toilets were placed there in assignment of local government, but after placing them it was unclear who was responsible for the follow-up and left alone. Meanwhile, the toilets are still not connected to a sewage system, and they are falling apart (see Figure 11)


Figure 11: Placed toilets, not in use


Something that did improve during the last ten years in the townships is the electricity accessibility. Despite the fact that many people still gain their electricity illegal by deriving it from official wires, a lot of new connections are actually created in the last ten years. The best proof for this is to walk through a township and simply look and listen. On every street corner, music blasts from big speakers and little - sometimes black-and-white televisions - show the local soap series. I even heard about a church in a Coloured township near Stellenbosch, where a special sermon from the sister church in Cape Town, was life broadcasted on a big screen. No matter how poor people seem to be, even in the poorest part of a township in the smallest shacks, people own a television.


Finally, infrastructure is an important feature when it comes to social sustainability. Sadly, roads remain a big problem in townships. Almost always, the roads in townships are dirt roads: sandy in summer, flooded in winter. Moreover, due to the absence of a sewage system in most townships, the sewer often runs through the side of the roads, completing the bleak appearance of many townships. In some (parts of) townships, paved roads are created in the last ten years; nevertheless the number of unpaved roads remains much higher than the number of paved roads.


Conversations about the social sustainability with inhabitants of the townships most of the time confirmed what I had already assessed myself while walking around. Most of the inhabitants stated they needed immediate support. According to them, township problems were not addressed at their own merit, and fraud and corruption by councillors, government officials, developers and contractors was more rule than exception. The issue of the size of the houses in relation to the size of the families for which they were built was for example a cause of great concern. Another often-raised issue was the problem of the own contribution of R2479 (as explained in paragraph 3.2.1), which is unaffordable by the beneficiaries for whom it was developed – the poorest of the poor. Understandable, these people can not afford to pay R2479 in order to start building a house.


Other problems noticed by the inhabitants, are the selling of government subsidised houses by people who are in debt. The beneficiaries depend on governmental subsidies to start building new houses, but due to their own debts and the tradition of non-payment of rents, they remain to live in their own shacks, and sublet their newly built houses. Illegal occupation as well as selling of to foreigners, is the consequence. Despite the remaining shortage of houses, one problem that does not get solved, is the underexpenditure by government.


Further overall impressions are the following. Townships often have a higher unemployment rate than urban areas. While in Cape Town the unemployment rate is about 50%, in the surrounding townships, this number is much higher with some 80%. Therefore, the people in townships often create their own jobs, for example by opening a shop or a shebeen (see Figure 13). A shebeen is an (illegal) bar, which is used by people to drink and chat about daily life. When entering a shebeen, one can not fail to notice the high amount of visitors during every hour of the day. It makes you think of why people spend so much time in a bar, and the only possible explanation, is that it is a flee from reality. This is reaffirmed by the fact that every Friday, banks in town are overcrowded by black and coloured workers who are waiting in line to cash in their checks. Once they receive the cash, the only way is the way to the local liquor store, where they spend all their money at once. Results of this custom are easily read in the Monday newspapers, which are always full of crime reports committed over the weekends.


Figure 13: Shebeen


Another result of the high unemployment rate is the number of shops that are present in all townships. They can vary from a barbershop to a little grocery store, to a herbal shop. Especially in black townships the inhabitants, who are often descendants from tribal peoples, feel more comfortable by getting natural health remedies then by going to a health clinic. In these health shops animal parts, dried plants and the like are sold. Health care is nevertheless hardly available in most townships.

Finally, my overall impression in the townships was one of vibration. People’s lives are lived on the street and the overall sphere is friendly. Neighbours make daily chats in front of their homes and schoolchildren are singing as they walk from and to school. Women sell sheep heads on the streets, after taking the brains out and cooking the skull to small pieces. Men, after coming back from work, buy a piece and eat it while standing next to the fire. Dogs are running around everywhere, either fighting each other, or begging for some left overs at the women who are selling food on the streets. I can surely say, there is never a dull moment in a township.



5.4 Assessment – or lasting impressions


To me, experiencing daily township life remained uncomfortable. The living conditions are still harsh; social sustainability is hardly present. The absence of a water and sanitation system, and the improper infrastructure, have negative side effects. Diseases are easily spread over the public toilets, and litter on the side of the roads does not help. In the new housing projects such as Delft/Leiden and Delft South, conditions are often much better, despite the above-mentioned recognised negative consequences. Almost all houses are built from concrete, and private sewage systems and water accessibility are available. Infrastructure is provided for in most cases, even taking into consideration the location of taxi stops. Roads are most of the time paved, unfortunately in the Cape Town area, the sand dunes maintain a problem.





As I indicated in 1.4.1, the methodology as used in this thesis - to firstly examine literature and after that to look at statistics - contained some limitations. The scope of data was kept relatively small and my township visits were more meant as an extra source of information than as a case study. Yet I am under the impression that these limitations were not insurmountable when evaluating the South African housing policy. The quantity of data may have been small, but the wide variety in institutional and organisational data more than made up for this. The comparison of governmental data on the one hand and the independent data on the other hand produced the desirable independent result. The fact that, due to time limitations, my township visits could not be used as a case study was also some cause of concern. The impossibility to take interviews among several sections of the population made my township visits too subjective to be used as an academic source. In spite of this, I fully believe that my personal explanation of the township visits has contributed to writing a complete assessment of the housing situation in South Africa at this moment. It basically put the facts into perspective.

Naturally, this research has not been all embracing. Future studies should not focus on the shortcomings of the South African housing policy; they have been identified. Future studies should solely provide advice and recommendations on how to cope with the deficiencies of the housing policy.


The South African housing policy did not work as well as expected. The main objective in this thesis was to find out why not. Was it a matter of inadequate execution or was the housing backlog too complicated to alleviate in ten years? With the transition from apartheid to democracy, South Africa acknowledged the housing backlog as a serious topic and addressed it as a human right. National government adopted several policy papers, a comprehensive set of acts and laws and a national housing subsidy scheme in order to deal with the housing issue as thoroughly as possible. Chapter two of the Final Constitution of 1996 is concerned with human rights and section 26 and 27 in this chapter contain the right to adequate housing. The fact that housing is addressed as a human right in the South African constitution makes clear how crucial the problem of housing was in 1994.


During the negotiation period, the RDP was developed as an imported guideline to streamline the South Africa housing policy. It aimed at the establishment of partnerships between government and civil society and as for housing, the RDP offered explicit minimum standards; all houses should include sanitary facilities and an energy and water supply. Also, in the RDP several housing subsidies were incorporated. In addition to the RDP, GEAR was created to strengthen economic growth and to increase and redistribute employment opportunities. The HWP at last was created to function as the basis of practical implementation of the housing policy. It stated that for the housing issue to be properly dealt with, the annual allocation should be increased with 1% per year up to a final of 5% of the national budget. Some possible restrictions to the execution of the housing policy were already recognised in the HWP. Duplication of housing institutions and mechanisms during the apartheid era had led to inefficiency and wastage and many authorities were inadequately resourced. Therefore, authorities could not fully carry out their responsibilities.


To support the policy papers, acts and laws were adopted during the last decade. At the Botshabelo Housing Accord (1994) a strategy was developed to provide for unified action in all different spheres of the housing policy and with the Housing Act of 1997 government pledged itself to the establishment and maintenance of viable households with access to economic opportunities. Other acts and laws, adopted during these years, moreover guaranteed homeowners their rights to good quality and fair prices. With the creation of the National Housing Subsidy Scheme, the state took its “reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation” of everyone’s right to adequate housing. The NHSS was designed to help “those who were most in need” by integrating individual, public and private sector delivery on the same footing. Every household with an income of under R3500 per month could apply for a subsidy. With the years, the subsidy amounts increased in order to keep pace with the inflation rate. By providing in subsidies for the very poor, insufficient demand would hopefully be alleviated.


Additionally, national housing institutions like the NHFC and the NHBRC were created to respectively provide in funding and investment of loans and to provide once again for minimum standards of low-cost housing units.


As the facts of Chapter four have shown, the South African housing policy did okay in absolute figures. Millions of people have been housed in the last ten years and millions of people have received access to water, sanitation and electricity. At the same time, millions of people in South Africa nevertheless still lack access to adequate housing. In all policy documents it was acknowledged that for implementation to be effective, an integrated co-operation was necessary; partnerships were a basic need for sufficient delivery. Furthermore, to reach all targets, it was estimated that at least 5% of the national budget was needed to cover all costs. Chapter four shows deficient implementation of partnership and weak integrated co-operation.
Figure 8
shows moreover that the allocated housing budget hardly exceeded the 2%. Government simply did not follow up her own guidelines.


During the years 1994-1999, it was the private sector that was the main partner for delivery, which caused national government to be reluctant in taking responsibility. Interestingly, Figure 7 shows that in the year 1997/1998 100% of the allocated money was spent which meant that this formula was perhaps not so bad for delivery. Yet government decided to shift from a private sector approach to a municipal one in 1999, after which delivery slowed down. Corruption, lack of capacity and again deficient implementation of partnerships were identified as the key problems. In 2002/2003, after an assessment of the NHSS - which was created in 1994 to integrate individual, public and private sector delivery - government found out that the NHSS did not work. It is remarkable that despite the fact that partnership was recognised as a minimum condition to make execution of the housing policy possible, government has been incapable of adequately using this information. Furthermore, a first assessment after almost ten years seems considerably late, especially since the continuous ‘re-definements’ of the policy could have been an indication of a poor housing system.


During the last election period in early 2004 one of the things that the people complained about most, next to unemployment, was housing. They complained about “inadequate housing, the quality and the standards of houses”[159]. My personal visits to the townships surrounding Cape Town reaffirmed this. Inside the townships, hardly any progression was found, and in the housing projects such as Delft/Leiden, corruption, the size and the selling of houses and the own contribution of R2479 remain a problem.


In retrospect, we can state that the South African housing policy failed because an intrinsically good policy was simply not executed properly. Possible pitfalls were quite well recognised, but just not taken along in the enforcement of the housing policy. Signals like clear dissatisfaction among beneficiaries and never-ending inevitable ‘re-definements’ moreover did not initiate interim evaluations, because of which obvious weaknesses continued to exist. Sadly, in this case the painful side effects of a poor policy execution are not only experienced by the concerning Department, but moreover by a big part of the South African population that still lives under inhumane circumstances.


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[1] U. Gilbert, “Scan globally; reinvent locally: Reflecting on the origins of South Africa’s capital housing subsidy policy”, in: Urban Studies (2002), Vol. 39, No. 10, 1911-1933

[2] Consulted at 12 November 2003

[3] In: Inauguration speech Nelson Mandela on May 12th 1994, Consulted at 12 November 2003

[4] Consulted at 19 November 2003

[5] Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

[6] Consulted at 24 November 2003

[7] Mackay, C.J., “Housing policy in South Africa: the challenge of the delivery”. In: Housing Studies (1999) Vol. 14 (3), 387-399

[8] Kellet, F., “What became of Mandela’s houses?”, in: New African May 2002, issue 407

[9] Abbott, J. and Douglas, D., “The use of longitudinal spatial analyses of informal settlements in urban development planning. In: Development Southern Africa Vol. 20 (1), March 2003

[10] Smit, D., “Housing in South Africa, significant government achievement based on public-private partnership. In: CDE Focus, November 1999 (5)

[11] Out of a total of 959.415 housing subsidies approved by December 1998, 782.176 (82%) subsidies were project-linked. (GCIS 1999)

[12] Nuttal, J., The first five years: The story of the Independent Development Trust. Independent Development Trust (Cape Town 1997) 107

[13] Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, “Carports and toilets: a visit to some “Uvesanyawo” and to some real houses”. In: Housing by people in Asia. 1998, Vol.11, 12

[14] Housing in Southern Africa, “A new voice. The new Director General of Housing speaks out”. In: Housing in Southern Africa, June 1998, 2

[15] Huchzermeyer, M., “Housing the poor? Negotiated housing policy in South Africa”. In: Habitat International, September 2001, Volume 25, Issue 3, 306

[16] Abbott, J. and Douglas, D., In: Development Southern Africa, 5

[17] Sunday Tribune, Property Guide, 8 February 2004

[18] Sunday Tribune, 8 February 2004

[19] All figures have been taken from the White Paper on Housing, 1995

[20] Bond, P., “Infrastructure delivery class apartheid”. In: Indicator South Africa. Vol. 17 No. 3, 18

[21] Morris, P., A history of black housing in South Africa (Johannesburg 1981) 1

[22] Davenport, T., South Africa, a modern history (London 2000) 6

[23] Barber, J., South Africa in the twentieth century (Oxford 1999) 67

[24] Malherbe, R., The provision of housing in the new dispensation (Stellenbosch 1995) 9

[25] Maasdorp, G. and Humphreys, A.S.B., From shantytown to township (Cape Town 1975) 13-14

[26] Hellmann, E., Handbook on race relations in South Africa (London 1949) 244

[27] Morris, P., A history of black housing in South Africa 44

[28] Idem 99-100

[29] Malherbe, R., The provision of housing in the new dispensation 15

[30] Malherbe, R., The provision of housing in the new dispensation 15

[31] Kriel, H.J., “Suid-Afrika is slaggereed vir die uitdagings wat die nuwe dekade bied”, in: Housing in South Africa January 1990, 4

[32] Malherbe, R., The provision of housing in the new dispensation 23

[33] Wust, A., “Self-help still the most viable housing method”, in: Housing in South Africa July 1992, 5

[34] Gilbert, A., in: Urban Studies 12

[35] Among others: Mackay, C.J., “Housing policy in South Africa: the challenge of the delivery”. In: Housing studies, Vol. 14 (3), 387-399 and Tomlinson, M., “From rejection to resignation: beneficiaries’ views on the South African government’s new housing subsidy scheme” in: Urban Studies, Vol. 36 (8), 1349-1359

[36] Among others: Khosa, M.M., “Facts, fiction and fabrication? Service delivery in South Africa under Mandela In: Urban Forum Vol. 13 (1) January-March 2002 and Bond, P, Dor, G. & Ruiters, G., “Transformation in infrastructure policy from apartheid to democracy: Mandates for change, continuities in ideology, friction in delivery” In: Khosa, M., Infrastructure mandates for change (1994-1999) (Pretoria 2002)

[37] Mackay, C.J., In: Housing studies 387-399

[38] Bond, P., In: Indicator South Africa 18-21

[39] Khosa, M.M., “Facts, fiction and fabrication? Service delivery in South Africa under Mandela In: Urban Forum Vol. 13 (1) January-March 2002

[40] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa (London 1994) 3

[41] Terreblance, S., A history of nequality in South Africa 1652-2002 (Pietermaritzburg 2002) 78

[42] Toit, P. du, State-building and democracy in Southern Africa: a comparative study of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe (Pretoria 1995), in: Breytenbach, W.J., An introduction to African politics: states regimes and recent political trends (Stellenbosch 2002) 74

[43] E.g. Laurence Schlemmer and Hermann Giliomee

[44] Lee, R. and Schlemmer, L., Transition to democracy, policy perspectives 1991(Cape Town 1991) 10

[45] Klerk, F.W. de, The last trek: a new beginning (London 1998) 161, in: Breytenbach, W.J., An introduction to African politics: states regimes and recent political trends (Stellenbosch 2002) 76

[46] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa 5

[47] Terreblance, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 79

[48] Marais, H., South Africa: limits to change – the political economy of transition (Cape Town 2001) 71

[49] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa 7

[50] Chris Hani, the secretary-general of the South Africa Communist Party (SACP), was killed by a right-wing member of the Conservative Party (CP), Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Waluz.

[51] To fully understand the impact of Hani’s murder, one must realise that the SACP played a major role during the negotiations - many of the SACP’s leaders also held high positions within the ANC hierarchy. Their most prominent spokesman Joe Slovo (who would later become South Africa’s first Housing Minister) was nonetheless responsible for persuading the ANC leadership to accept a power-sharing formula as basis for the first post-apartheid government.

[52] Argus (Cape Town), 18 July 1991

[53] At the Boipatong killings 48 people died as a result of a clash between hostel dwellers and squatters in Boipatong. The hostel was allegedly a stronghold of the IFP.

[54] Terreblance, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 , 99

[55] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa 25

[56] Kuitenbouwer, M. and Werff, van der, N., Incomplete transitions in Southern Africa (Utrecht 1998) 61

[57] Gloppen, S., South Africa: the battle over the constitution (Vermont 1997) 200

[58] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa 25

[59] Idem 28

[60] Ibidem 10

[61] E.g.: if provincial law deals with a matter that cannot be regulated by provincial legislation, or if provincial law materially prejudices the economic, health or security interests of another province or the country as a whole.

[62] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa 31

[63] The provincial powers were somewhat strengthened with the constitutional amendment of 3 April 1994, that brought the IFP into elections. This extended the legislative competence of provincial legislature and granted them certain powers over financial and fiscal affairs, but as a whole, the provinces remained relatively weak.

[64] Spence, J.E., Change in South Africa 33

[65] Terreblanche, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 442

[66] Gloppen, S., South Africa: the battle over the constitution 224

[67] Bond, P., and Khosa, M., An RDP policy audit (Johannesburg 1999) HSRC 1

[68] Lodge, T., South African politics since 1994 (Cape Town 1999) 28

[69] Harsch, E., South Africa tackles social inequities In: Africa Recovery, Vol. 14 January 2001 (4) 12

[70] Kellet, F. In: New African 23

[71] Habitat Agenda, “The South African housing policy: operationalizing the right to adequate housing”. Report on the experience and progress between 1996 and 2001 in reference to the commitments of the Habitat Agenda. Thematic Committee 6-8 June 2001

[72] Harsch, In: Africa Recovery 12

[73] Bond, P., and Khosa, M., An RDP policy audit 10

[74] Idem 75

[75] For example, in June 1995, the Mortgage Indemnity Fund (MIF) was formed to encourage mortgage lenders to resume lending at scale in the affordable housing market in neglected areas in the country. Also, the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) was created to ensure the development and appropriate funding of institutions providing for affordable housing finance at the retail level.

[76] Bond, P., and Khosa, M., An RDP policy audit 11

[77] Terreblanche, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 110

[78] Kellet, F., In: New African 23

[79] Mackay, C.J., In: Housing Studies 387-399

[80] Terreblanche, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 109

[81] Smith, L., and Vawda, A., “Citizen vs. Customer: Different approaches to public participation in service delivery in Cape Town”. In: Urban Forum, Vol.14 (1) Jan-March 2003, 32

[82] Harsch, In: Africa Recovery 12

[83] Terreblanche, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 114

[84] Idem 145

[85] Ibidem 117

[86] Buthelezi, S., and Roux, E. le, South Africa since 1994. Lessons and prospects (Pretoria 2002) 3

[87] Consulted at 24 November 2003

[88] Terreblanche, S., A history of inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 120

[89] South Africa Housing White Paper 1995, 4

[90] Huchzermeyer, M., In: Habitat International 306

[91] South Africa Housing White Paper 1995, 19

[92] Idem 10

[93] Taken from comments on a special session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda in Istanbul+5, 6-8 June 2001, New York

[94] South Africa Housing White Paper, 1995

[95] Harsch, In: Africa Recovery 12

[96] Consulted at 24 November 2003

[97] Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

[98] Tomlinson, M.R., In: Urban studies 1349

[99] The NHF consisted of representatives of all groupings; the business community, the building industry, the financial institutions and development organisations. It was launched in August 1992 as a response to the government’s racially based housing policy.

[100] Consulted at 02 March 2004

[101] Mackay, C.J., In: Housing Studies 388

[102] Consulted at 24 November 2003

[103] Idem

[104] South Africa yearbook 2002/2003, Chapter 14 Housing, 369

[105] Idem 367

[106] Khan, F, and Thring, P, Housing policy and practice in post-apartheid South Africa (Sandown 2003) vi

[107] South Africa yearbook 2002/2003 368

[108] Minister of Housing (Sankie Mhtembi-Mahanyele). Budget speech to the National Assembly, Cape Town: South Africa Parliament (available at

[109] Khan, F, and Thring, P, Housing policy and practice in post-aprtheid South Africa ix

[110] Business day, special Housing Survey on 04 December 2003

[111] Khan, F, and Thring, P, Housing policy and practice in post-aprtheid South Africa x

[112] South Africa yearbook 2002/2003 377

[113] Khan, F, and Thring, P, Housing policy and practice in post-aprtheid South Africa xvii

[114] Mackay, C.J., In: Housing Studies 388

[115] South Africa yearbook 2002/2003 374

[116] Mackay, C.J., In: Housing Studies 387-399

[117] Huchzermeyer, M., In: Habitat International 306

[118] Cameron, R., “The democratisation of South African local government. In: Local government studies. Vol. 22 (1) , 19-39

[119] Pieterse, E., “From divided to integrated city? Critical overview of the emerging metropolitan government system in Cape Town. In: Urban Forum Vol. 13 (1) Jan-March 2002, 5

[120] Cameron, R., In: Local government studies 24

[121] Republic of South Africa, “Housing Act, 1997” (1997). In: Government gazette, 390 (18521), No. 1661, 19 December, 24

[122] Idem 27

[123] consulted at 24 April 2004

[124] Chipkin, I. (ed.), A development role for local government (zoek op)

[125] This Day February 3 2004

[126] Sankie Mhtembi-Mahanyele, Minister of Housing, Minister’s opening address to the national housing summit, 19th November 2003, 7

[127] This Day February 4 2004

[128] Sunday Tribune 8 February 2004

[129] Idem

[130] Even though the last elections were held in April 2004, data from government performance for the year 2003/2004 will not be available until 2005.

[131] Rust, K., “Shelter Co-operatives in South Africa” for UNCHS and ICA (Nairobi 2001) at: Consulted at 18 May 2004

[132] Idem

[133] Before 1999, delivery was primary a private sector responsibility.

[134] Rust, K.

[135] South Africa Survey 2002/2003 (Johannesburg 2003) 395

[136] All figures are taken from the Race Relations Survey 1994/1995 (Johannesburg 1995) by the South Africa Institute for Race Relations, unless mentioned otherwise.

[137] Tobie de Vos was manager of technology for development at the CSIR

[138] Weekly Mail and Guardian, 7 October 1994

[139] Mr Mofokeng was appointed commander in chief of the APLA (Azanian People’s Liberation Army) forces in March 1994.

[140] South Africa Survey 1995/1996 (Johannesburg 1996) 323

[141] Hansard (NA) 6, col 1262, 16 May 1995

[142] All figures are taken from the South Africa Survey Millennium Edition 1999/2000 (Johannesburg 2000) by the South Africa Institute for Race Relations, unless mentioned otherwise.

[143] Stats South Africa, Consulted at 18 May 2004

[144] South Africa Survey 2000/2001 (Johannesburg 2001) 146

[145] Business Day 3 March 1999

[146] Business Day 19 May 1999

[147] The most recent survey available is the one of the year 2002/2003. This means that the data in this publication concern mostly the financial year 2001/2002.

[148] All figures are taken from the South Africa Survey 2002/2003 (Johannesburg 2003) unless mentioned otherwise.

[149] Business Day 4 December 2002

[150] Consulted at 02 June 2004

[151] Consulted at 06 June 2004

[152] Idem

[153] The discrepancy between the figures at the beginning of 4.3.1 (7.4 million people living in informal settlements) and the numbers provided here (5.2 million) can be explained by the fact that the census 2001 is no longer up-to-date. At this moment, poor households living in informal settlements exist of more than 3.8 people.

[154] The National Housing Subsidy Scheme was implemented already on 15 March 1994. It replaced all previous government subsidy programmes.

[155] In his novel “Disgrace”, J.M. Coetzee describes vividly how fast the mushrooming of the Cape flats goes, when he writes “He has been away less than three months, yet in that time the shanty settlements have crossed the highway and spread east of the airport.” The book was first published in 1999.

[156] Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, 5th edition 2002 125

[157] ISLP (Integrated Service Land Projects) is part of the RDP and was initiated by the Western Cape Province. It is a R1.4 billion development project primarily aimed at addressing the socio-economic needs of 40.000 families living in informal settlements in and around Cape Town. It provides in two types of housing: the ‘project-linked subsidy’, which provides for the provision of a serviced site and a dwelling and the ‘consolidation subsidy’, that provides for a dwelling in an area where serviced sites were previously provided.

[158] E.g. money was saved by shortening some paved roads, making some roads one-way etc.

[159] Consulted at 02 June 2004