Are we seeing a policy shift emerging from the national Department of Human Settlements?  In minister Sisulu’s departmental budget vote speech of 18 May 2017 she states:

We are now concentrating on serviced sites. The HDA [Housing Development Agency] has identified land for our purpose, ensuring that it is serviced. It will be partitioned and people would be able to move to their own stand and build their own houses, through a monitored PHP [Peoples Housing Process] programme, managed by the Deputy Minister. These are now our urgent interventions for massive roll-out.

This is a radical shift from the present emphasis on the up-front provision of a full RDP housing product that is built by government, to a new focus on building serviced sites and then helping people to build their own houses. This is a fundamental mindset shift; turning on its head how government plans to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing.

Up to now government’s argument was that they would progressively build more and more RDP houses until everyone has a house, with those that don’t get a RDP house now having to patiently wait for their turn.  Reality has shown however that it will take much longer then government hoped to house everyone in this way.  Communities have also increasingly become frustrated at patiently waiting, in informal settlements and other inadequate conditions, for government to built them houses.

Afesis-corplan welcomes this change in policy and mindset, and calls on government to rapidly expand the provision of serviced sites through what some are calling the Managed Land Settlement approach to housing and settlement development.  For more information on Managed Land Settlement see here.

It is also good to see that Deputy Minister Kota Fredericks in her budget vote speech continues to emphasise governments commitment to informal settlement upgrading:

Chairperson, the upgrading of informal settlements remains a cornerstone of our delivery programme.  Through the national upgrading support programme (NUSP) we aim amongst others to promote incremental upgrading and strengthen capacity of government and professional practitioners to implement community based upgrading.