A great body of evidence of the housing crisis in South Africa
" There is consensus on the existence of a housing problem in South Africa. Since the 1970s, large housing backlogs have been evident. Between 1970 and 1984 there were at least 14 government investigations connected with housing issues, in the form of commissions and committees of inquiry (listed in UF, 1991c
"There is considerable evidence to suggest the existence of a housing problem in South Africa. A brief look at just three bodies of evidence will reveal something of the nature of the problem." (See 'A Resource Guide to Housing in South Africa: 1994-2010')
Firstly, there are an estimated 7 million people living in urban informal housing in South Africa (UF, 1991 d : 4) out of a total population of 38 million people. Taking the city of Durban as an example, of a population of 3.5 million people, half of those people live in the squatter settlements that ring the city (UF, 1991 d :
7) (Fig.1)." (See 'Breaking New Ground: A Comprehensive plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements.')
BUILDING INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES, NOT MERE DORMITORIES
In the book, "Two Billion Strong", Govan, Richards and Rendall writes:
" This dream is rooted in a particular context and driven by the constantentrepreneurial search for business opportunities.
In this instance, the immediate context is Cape Town and South Africa and the growing backlog of housing.
The overall South African housing backlog currently sits at 2.3 million housing units and for Cape Town the figure is approximately 450 000 units.The post-Apartheid and democratic South African government continues to battle with a rapidly increasing housing backlog.
What is becoming a commonlyaccepted reality is that the solution to the housing crisis is beyond the mere provision of just the physical building (i.e. the brick and mortar house). Eventhough hundreds of thousands of houses have been built in South Africa since the arrival of democracy and freedom in 1994, these “human settlements” were built in the tradition of the dormitory-styled Apartheid townships.
They were devoid of the infrastructure requirements that enable the creation of a neighbourhood where sustainable urban living could become the norm. The emerging challenge therefore is to ensure that newly created neighbourhoods will serve as attractors for investment and trade, as well as places of recreation and pleasure, and the exercise of socio-cultural tradition. Moreover, for many migrants, the emerging“cities” or “human settlements” are not places of meaning; neither are they placesone could really call “home”. "
The intended development of Wescape on the West Coast of the Peninsula, will bring much needed relief to the crippling shortage of homes in Cape Town. The integrated, sustainable model envisaged will set a new standard for integrated communities in South Africa.
Although Fuller Center for Housing, Western Cape, RSA is very supportive towards initiatives like Wescape, which reflects 21st century innovative thinking, we, as a Community based organisation, are mindful of the thousands of families who will remain trapped in apartheid styled townships like Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Manenberg, Bishop Lavis, Elsies River, Lavender Hill, Guguletu, and many others. It is with this in mind that we will emphasize the renewal and improvement of these townships.
The FULLER CENTER FOR HOUSING WESTERN CAPE
dedicates this page to IRENE GROOTBOOM, a South African housing rights activist best known for her victory before theConstitutional Court in 2000.
Despite her valiant 8 year legal battle which ended in victory in the constitutional court, the highest court in South Africa, IRENE GROOTBOOM died in her forties, homeless and penniless in a shack in Wallacedene.
All she ever wanted was a moderate and decent, affordable home to raise her family.
All she ever got from the South African government was mountain heaps of red tape and court papers.
The Irene Grootboom tragic story is by no means unique.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of families are still living in the most appaling housing conditions in South Afirica, especially within the Western Cape.
I quote the following passage from the MAIL & GUARDIAN:
" In 2000, the Constitutional Court declared that the state’s housing policy was unreasonable and invalid because it did not cater for the homeless—those in most urgent need of housing.
The court also found that while Grootboom, who lived and died in the Wallacedene informal settlement in Kraaifontein, Cape Town, could not demand a house from the state, she could ask government to act reasonably in devising and implementing “a comprehensive and co-ordinated programme to realise the right to access to adequate housing”.
The government was also compelled to provide alternative emergency accommodation for people when evictions occurred.
Precedent for the right to access treatment
The Grootboom judgment has since been cited in other applications to the Constitutional Court, including the Treatment Action Campaign’s successful attempt in 2002 to ensure the right to access to HIV/Aids treatment.
But Grootboom remained on a housing waiting list and in her shack until her death.
This was something that Dumisa Ntsebeza, an advocate and member of the Judicial Service Commission, said one needed to be mindful of when considering Justice Minister Jeff Radebe’s plan to evaluate the transformative impact of Constitutional Court judgments creating a “non-racial, non-sexist, equal and prosperous democratic society, founded on human rights”.
Read the FULL STORY of the IRENE GROOTBOOM case at:
ALSO WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP ON THE PLIGHT OF INFORMAL HOUSE ABOVE.
A leading Cape Town community development company with an innovative approach to town planning, communiTgrow, spoke to Capetonians to find out what they like about their city, what they would change and what they would want to see in their city's ideal future.
The Fuller Center for Housing Western Cape endorses the vision of communiTygrow and their concept of the Wescape development on the West coast of the Western Cape because we believe it will play a significant role in addressing the growing development pressure in the City of Cape Town.
LET US LISTEN TO WHAT A FEW INDIVIDUALS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WHAT THEY BELIEVE A FUTURE CAPE TOWN SHOULD PROVIDE -
To learn more about communiTgrow's vision in urban development, sustainable planning and property development, consult their website at:
Additional sources to read up on the HOUSING CRISIS in South Africa: