Challenges of the low-cost houses in South Africa

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Zamokuhle Mbandlwa


The findings of this study have implications for the concept and analysis of affordable housing, and a deeper understanding of the cost drivers of affordable housing in various geographies. Also, the study of housing costs outside general statistics such as cost per square meter offers a stronger forum for applied analysis that can assess where and how to tackle factors in South Africa that push up affordable housing costs. Housing, as it carries the weight of a huge number of socio-economic factors, is often a controversial and aggressively debated subject. Moreover, in South Africa, where residents have a legally guaranteed right to adequate housing, the state is expected to provide fair support and services. Housing has come to embody the debate about the rights to economic opportunity, protection, services, mobility, and a host of other concerns through this interplay between the public and the state. At its heart, however, there is still a debate about a built object, shape, and function coming together to provide sufficient shelter in a manner that provides people with a dignified day-to-day living experience. In addition to the wider discussion of the socio-economic consequences of the provision of housing, relatively little progress has been made in the introduction of new methods and typologies for housing construction in South Africa. Our urban densification policies mean that the emphasis is on the production of higher social housing densities, which deliver the greatest return on investment in terms of construction and management, with increased economies of scale. Yet displacement and land economics mean that the type of housing designed by the state is that of the single dwelling home for a large number of citizens in South Africa. The objective of this paper was to investigate the discrepancies in the allocation of low-cost housing in South Africa. This study applied a secondary or a desktop research methodology. This study contributes to the body of knowledge and provides information that would be useful for developers of housing allocation models.

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