Fact Sheet #1 Housing in South Africa

The right to housing has more to do with dignity than bricks and mortar. However, housing delivery is not keeping pace with the people’s needs. Rental accommodation is far too expensive and unregulated, and unlawful evictions by both the state and private property owners are rife. Download here

Monitoring the Right of Access to Adequate Housing

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa guarantees justiciable socio-economic rights (SERs), including the right “to have access to adequate housing” to everyone in South Africa. Few people would disagree that the realisation of this right is key for overcoming South Africa’s persistent struggle with poverty and inequality, and in particular the spacial legacy left by apartheid.

SPII’s Working Paper 8: Monitoring the right of access to adequate housing in South Africa provides a comprehensive analysis of the status of the right to adequate housing twenty years into South Africa’s democracy. The paper begins by unpacking the content of the right to adequate housing and then provides both a summary of the key shifts in policy and legislation since 1994 and a critical analysis of their contents, implementation and impact given the overwhelming demand for adequate housing.

Second, the paper assesses the allocations and spending performance of the Department of Human Settlements at all three levels of government in order to interrogate the adequacy, efficiency and effectiveness of government’s budgeting and expenditure for the right to adequate housing.

Thirdly, the paper discusses the process of developing performance and impact indicators for the right to housing that can be tracked and monitored over time. This allows for a clearer illustration of the enjoyment or lack thereof of the right to adequate housing and provides evidence to evaluate the state against itssnt nd the basis for evaluating the of the enjoyment or lack thereof of the right to adeqaute  food security are lacking as constitutional obligation and to make recommendations to broaden access to adequate housing.

By combining the policy and budget analysis with evidence from indicators, the final section of the paper provides an overall analysis of the status of housing which feeds into recommendations and urgent areas for action to guarantee the rectification of gaps and retrogression as well as enhanced protection and accelerated fulfilment of the right of access to adequate housing.

The working paper was updated in 2017 to reflect the latest figures. Our updated paper, Working Paper 16: Monitoring the Right of Access to Adequate Housing in South Africa, can be downloaded here