Ronald Eglin gave a training presentation to students at the Wits School of Governance course on Human Settlement Policy and Management on 5 December 2017 on “An Introduction to Managed Land Settlement: from depth to width”. The presentation outlined what a new site and service or plot and basic service approach to human settlement development could look like and what implications this would have for how land is acquired and developed, and how government can support households to build or arrange for the building of their own houses on this land.

The presentation highlighted the need for government officials and others to reconsider the role of government from changing from building houses for people (as is done at the moment) to supporting people to build their own houses. This mindset change builds on commitments from the National Development Plan which says that the state should gradually shift its role from a direct housing provider of last resort to a housing facilitator, as well as building on recent policy pronouncements from the Minister of Human Settlements – Lindiwe  Sisulu – who stated in her budget vote speech earlier in 2017 that “we are now concentrating on serviced sites. … [P]eople would be able to move to their own stand and build their own houses.”

It was noted that the latest draft Human Settlement policy came out two years ago in November 2015, and that government is due to update this new human settlement policy which is anticipated to re-emphasise this policy shift from ‘building RDP houses for all who need’ to focusing on ‘providing at least (semi) serviced sites and basic tenure’.