South Africa: Government's Gambit - Providing Land Rather Than Houses


In 2014, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu warned that the large-scale delivery of houses for the poor was unsustainable. As the state's budget tightens, her department is moving away from delivering houses and towards providing land. The new policy faces many of the old challenges, particularly: which land will be distributed?

Members of the Gauteng Housing Crisis Committee drove through Eldorado Park and surrounding Soweto areas on Saturday and used a loudspeaker to ask people to bring copies of their applications for government homes.

The group prioritised those who had submitted applications between 1996 and 1999. More than 800 people provided documents.

"That's how bad it is," said committee member Keith Duarte.

According to Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the country's estimated housing backlog stands at 2.6 million, with an estimated one million of those in Gauteng.

Since 1996, the state has built millions of houses under the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and the Breaking New Ground (BNG) programme, where citizens earning less than R3,500 per household could apply for a home.

That policy will shift significantly, Sisulu announced, as the state has moved to limit who qualifies for a home and prioritise its rapid land...

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