Housing for the poor? Negotiated housing policy

Huchzermeyer, Marie
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Official discussion and negotiation on housing policy in South Africa was closed in 1994 with the launch of the new Housing White Paper. Contradictions in this policy between housing procedure and delivery target have limited its relevance to the poorest sector in society. The paper shows how these tensions between product and process are an outcome of negotiated policy-making, in which the attempt was to combine the dominant position of the private sector for the commodi"cation of housing, with people-centred housing procedures advocated by the democratic movement. In the second term of ANC government, the housing ministry, aware of some of the limitations of its policy, stated its intention to review the housing policy. This has led to renewed discussion. The paper traces shifts and continuities in recent positions on housing in South Africa. It traces their emergence from within the democratic movement including labour and community or civic organisation, the more recent Homeless People's Federation/People's Dialogue alliance, and the private sector with its in#uential Urban Foundation and subsequent policy research institutes. The paper argues that shifts in housing "nance have largely ignored the needs of the poorest sector in society. Further, the inadequately integrated location of subsidised development for the poorest remains unchallenged. The perception of local government merely as implementer in a centralised programme limits the ability to address local realities, also imposing bureaucratic constraints on community-based construction. In addition, an evasive discourse on squatting does not lend itself to the formulation of mechanism of intervention oriented around the needs of the poor. These limitations in addressing poverty through housing policy should inform future research on shelter in South Africa. 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Housing Policy South Africa, Housing White Paper South Africa
Huchzermeyer, Marie. 2001. Housing for the poor? Negotiated housing policy. Habitat International vol.25 p303-331