South African Statistics
(1) Population: 46.9 million
(2) Life expectancy at birth
M/F (years): 50/53
(3) Infant mortality: 53 (per 1,000 live births)
(4) People living with HIV: 5.7 million
Brief History of Housing in South Africa
- The current context of housing in South Africa needs to be understood against the backdrop of the apartheid government’s racially defined urban planning laws and policies. Apartheid legislation restricted or denied black South Africans the right to ownership of land and access to urban areas.
- The Group Areas Act (1950) empowered the apartheid government to segregate residential and trade areas on the basis of race. Each racial grouping to move into their own separate areas that had been designated to them.
- Under this act, urban areas were generally reserved for white citizens. Black residents were relocated to segregated townships on the outskirts of the city or into rural “Bantustans” that had been set aside for the occupation of black South Africans. Freehold settlements in urban areas such as Cato Manor, Sophia Town and District Six - where black residents had owned property - were destroyed.
- From the 1970s onwards, apartheid urban planning, population growth and rapid urbanisation led to the growth of informal settlements which generally developed on the edges of cities or in pockets of unimportant land within city boundaries, enabling their residents to access the economic opportunities available in the cities.
- In 1986 with the relaxation of apartheid influx controls, black South Africans migrated to the cities in pursuit of economic opportunities. Without adequate housing to accommodate them, they sought informal accommodation in existing and newly established informal settlements, which rapidly expanded due to this influx.
The South African Government’s Housing Strategy
- In South Africa today wealthy urban suburbs sit alongside sprawling informal settlements where “squatting” residents live in a state of vulnerability and exclusion from services and facilities. At present approximately 12 million people are living in shacks in townships across South Africa. Read more about life in a township. >>
- Section 26 of the Constitution of South Africa states that everyone has the right to have ‘access to adequate housing’.
- The South African Government has set itself the target of eradicating informal settlements by 2014.
- To meet this target the South African government has incorporated a number of strategies for housing provision since 1994, from contractor-led development projects to community-based approaches such as the People’s Housing Process.
The People’s Housing Process
- The People’s Housing Process (PHP) housing model is an initiative in which the poorest people in society are enabled to take charge of providing their own shelter by working together to pool their resources and contribute their labour to build homes.
- The main focus of PHP is not on the physical building of houses only, but includes building communities and partnerships.
- PHP is intended to make families capable of making informed decisions about their own developments through a process of self-empowerment and self-reliance.
- The charity works with communities within the PHP Housing Model and in keeping with government policy strives to ensure that housing projects are not seen in isolation, but rather as part of an integrated approach to human settlements. Read more about how we work within communities. >>
- Communities approach us and select us as their PHP partner. The procedures are complex and there is a need for social facilitation skills and technical assistance to assist poorer communities to access the scheme. The charity possesses a combination of technical and facilitation skills coupled with the proven ability to deliver large numbers of houses in a short time.
- The charity does not get involved in house allocation but assists the community in developing skills to enable it to deal effectively with local and provincial government, making best use of limited resources.
- The PHP model is ideally suited to the charity’s mission to build homes for the deeply impoverished as it promotes a participatory approach to development and helps empower the community itself.
Find out more about the work of the charity. >>
Read about the impact of housing on a community. >>
What is life like for a person living in a township. >>
1. Irish Aid
2. World Health Organisation
3. World Health Organisation