An analysis of the housing need in South Africa with special reference to the North-West Province
Moroke, Tseliso Patrick
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In South Africa the most severe element affecting people's welfare is the housing need. The persistence and enormity of the housing backlog facing low-income earners is an indication of . the depth of the housing crisis in South Africa. This challenge exists despite major policy and legislation changes ushered in with the new post-1994 democracy. New forms of housing need are emerging in the context of urbanisation, neo-liberal policy environments, the politicisation of housing, and imbalances and inequality among social classes. This problem poses serious challenges when looking at the possible elimination of absolute housing need although it has become the overriding objective of the new government. As means of addressing the housing need as rooted in the pre-1994 era, the first democratic government in 1994 made a commitment to reduce the housing shortage in South Africa. To date, supply-driven government programmes, allocation of residential land, environmental and development regulation and housing markets -among others -do not fully support the realisation of low-income earners' aspirations to become homeowners as millions of black South Africans still live in the peri-urban areas while others are literally homeless. The continuing lack of meaningful quality of life of the poor had resulted in a stream of protests in the fourth term of the democratically elected government. This frustration is caused by problems in the areas of housing and service delivery. It is against the background of these backlogs that the author through this dissertation attempts to make a contribution regarding the formulation and experience of the country's housing policy and perceptions of low-income earners regarding the manner in which they obtain subsidised housing. The results from the case study of 150 low-income households in Ventersdorp are provided as example. The results are derived from a structured questionnaire that was used to obtain data on how low-income households consume, secure, sustain, and procure housing; their experience of choice of location, their prospects of subsidy assistance as well as their knowledge of the housing market in South Africa. The results show that the relational degree between demand and supply is low in the low-income bracket. The dissertation concludes by determining the kind of strategies that the government needs to employ in order to bridge the gap between the supply and demand of subsidised housing in South Africa. The study also offers recommendations on how to address the housing backlog and housing finance logjam successfully.