South Africa: The City of Johannesburg Takes a Cautious Step Towards Inclusionary Housing

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In an unprecedented move, the City of Johannesburg recently passed its Inclusionary Housing Policy that seeks to provide incentives for private developers to dedicate 30% of their housing units to low-income households. While it has been received with mixed reviews, the policy is generally seen as a step forward in the fractious arena of spatial planning.

A new policy compels private developers to set aside 30% of housing units for low-income households when building developments of more than 20 residences, regardless of where they are in the city, according to Reuben Masango, member of the mayoral committee for development planning in the City of Johannesburg.

These units are to be set aside for low-income households earning at least R7,000 a month with a rent cap of R2,100 -- roughly 30% of household income, including levies, but excluding utility bills.

Masango says this will offer affordable housing in the city and ensure that low-income households are able to stay closer to work and schools.

Furthermore, the policy also allows for "proportional bonuses" in development controls, reductions in parking requirements and bulk infrastructure contributions as well as rates rebates for inclusionary units as incentives to developers.

The housing policy comes after a...

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