South African Government

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Human settlements programmes and projects

Sustainable human settlements
Strategic Integrated Project 7
Bucket Eradication Programme
Comprehensive Housing Plan
Rental housing for the poor
Emergency housing
Government Employees Housing Scheme
Integrated Residential Development Programme
Social Housing Regulatory Authority





Sustainable human settlements

Sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life are defined by:

  • access to adequate accommodation that is suitable, relevant, appropriately located, affordable and fiscally sustainable
  • access to basic services such as water, sanitation, refuse removal and electricity
  • security of tenure irrespective of ownership or rental, formal or informal structures
  • access to social services and economic opportunities within reasonable distance.

Strategic Integrated Project 7 (SIP7)

The SIP7 is part of the 17 SIPs contained in the Presidential Infrastructure Plan.

They incorporate a range of economic and social infrastructure projects and cover all nine provinces with the emphasis on poorer regions.

Investment in rail, water pipelines, energy generation and transmission infrastructure have been identified for Limpopo.

SIP7 focuses on 12 of the country’s major cities in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, North West and the Western Cape.

The cities include major metropolitan municipalities such as Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane in Gauteng, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Metro in the Eastern Cape, eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town in the Western Cape and Mangaung in the Free State.

The cities were chosen because of their demographic and economic significance. They will be given implementation powers, with the PICC expected to exercise an oversight role.

In Gauteng, some of the projects that are in operation include the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System in the province’s three metropolitan cities. Tshwane is expected to spend more than R1,6 billion on its BRT System.

Johannesburg finalised plans for a major rehabilitation of Diepsloot and Ivory Park townships, including the construction of clinics, schools and community libraries.

About R45 million has been set aside to turn Ekurhuleni into an aerotropolis – a new urban form where cities grow around airports, connecting workers, suppliers, executives and goods to the global marketplace.

An amount of R2 billion has been earmarked for a new rail link connecting Cape Town International Airport and the city centre while in other provinces such as the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the focus will be on expanding ports and rail services.

Bucket Eradication Programme

The objective of the Bucket Eradication Programme is to eradicate all bucket toilets across the country. The budget for the programme was R975 million for the 2015/16 financial year.

At the end of February 2016, the bucket system was eradicated in Britstown, Springbok and Petrusville in the Northern Cape. It was also eradicated in Kanana in North West and Fauriesmith in the Free State.

By then, 2 261 structures had been completed in the Eastern Cape, 124 in North West, 6 377 in Northern Cape and 6 974 in Free State.

The cost of these units was in line with the industry guidelines on infrastructure service delivery unit costs of approximately R9 000 for a single pit, R12 000 for a double pit and R15 000 for water-borne sanitation.

Expenses related largely to reticulation, material, civil works, geotechnical expenses and project management fees.

Comprehensive Housing Plan (CHP)

The CHP for the Development of Integrated Sustainable Human Settlements (Breaking New Ground) is aimed at eradicating informal settlements in South Africa in the shortest possible time.

It incorporates principles such as:

  • integrating subsidised, rental and bonded housing
  • providing municipal engineering services at a higher level, applying them consistently throughout townships
  • providing ancillary facilities such as schools, clinics and commercial opportunities
  • combining different housing densities and types, ranging from single-stand to double-storey  units and row houses.

The CHP is being implemented through informal settlement-upgrading pilot projects in each province.

These projects provide for phased, area-based development, and emphasise community participation and social and economic development as an integral part of housing projects. The goal of upgrading all informal settlements by 2014/15 is aligned to the UN MDGs to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers worldwide.

The CHP focuses on:

  • accelerating housing delivery as a key strategy for poverty alleviation
  • using housing provision as a major job-creation strategy
  • ensuring that property can be accessed by all as an asset for wealth creation and empowerment
  • leveraging growth in the economy, combating crime and promoting social cohesion
  • using housing development to break down barriers between the first-economy residential property boom and the second-economy slump
  • using housing as an instrument for the development of sustainable human settlements in support of spatial restructuring
  • diversifying housing products by emphasising rental stock.

The department developed and launched a number of instruments to guide the implementation of the comprehensive plan in all three spheres of government.

These include the monitoring, evaluation and impact-assessment policy and implementation guidelines, and the operating system for the policy and guidelines.

The department also initiated a project-monitoring process to measure the performance of provincial housing departments against targets set in their business plans, to identify constraints and assist with addressing them swiftly.

Rental housing for the poor

The National Rental Housing Strategy, which was approved in 2008, provides for people in the low-income bracket and living under the following conditions:

  • provisions made by previous departments
  • public-sector hostels for housing migratory labour in the previous dispensation
  • municipal rental stock that has not been transferred to the households who inhabit the units, and which will continue to be used as rental accommodation because of the low economic status of the households
  • new high-rise housing stock to be built for the specific purpose of accommodating low-income households in rental accommodation.

Many job seekers in urban areas require rental accommodation. There has been an increased public hostels owned by provincial housing departments and municipalities

  • “grey” hostels that have both private and public ownership
  • public housing stock that cannot be transferred and has to be managed as rental accommodation
  • post-1994 newly developed public residential accommodation owned by provincial housing departments and municipalities
  • dilapidated, derelict and dysfunctional buildings.

Units provide secure and stable rental tenure for lower-income earners. Potential tenants are selected according to specific criteria such as, they must be a South African citizen, not an owner of any property in the municipality, earn between R1 600 and R3 500 per month (gross income), not owe the municipality any services money, pass an affordability check, and they must be a major to be able to sign the legal documents.

Emergency housing

The main objective of this programme is to provide temporary housing relief to people in urban and rural areas who find themselves in emergency situations, such as when:

  • their existing shelters have been destroyed or damaged
  • their prevailing situation poses an immediate threat to their lives, health and safety
  • they have been evicted or face the threat of eviction.

Assistance involves prioritising funds from the provincial housing allocations to municipalities to accelerate land development, and the provision of basic municipal engineering services and temporary shelter.

Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS)

In May 2016, an initiative to help low-earning public servants to purchase homes was launched. The GEHS is meant to service 1,3 million public servants who earn too little to qualify for a bond.

Civil servants already qualified for a R1 200 housing subsidy if they owned their property but  this did not help employees who earned too little to qualify for a home loan.

In terms of a Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council resolution, the programme included advice to employees on home ownership options and how to go about renting to buy.

The GEHS would help employees with their finance applications, facilitate access to housing subsidies, and help negotiate favourable lending terms with financial institutions.

Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP)

The IRDP provides for the acquisition of land, servicing of stands for a variety of land uses, including commercial and recreational purposes, schools and clinics, as well as residential stands for low-, middle- and high-income groups. The land use and income-group mix is based on local planning and needs assessment.

Social Housing Regulatory Authority

Social housing is a rental or cooperative housing option, which requires institutionalised management. Social housing is provided by accredited SHIs or in accredited social housing projects in designated restructuring zones. Social housing provides good quality rental accommodation for the upper end of the low-income market (R1 500 — R7 500).

The primary objective of urban restructuring is creating sustainable human settlements. Social housing is not just about building houses; it is also about transforming residential areas and building communities.

An additional 27 000 households are expected to be living in affordable social rental units by 2019. Over the medium term, 16 204 such units were expected to be built, funded through the restructuring capital grant of the SHRA and the provincial institutional subsidy.

Other housing programmes

Get more information from the Department of Human Settlements.