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2004 UN - SA Sustainable Human Settlements Report

2004 UN - SA Sustainable Human Settlements Report

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SA Sustainable Human Settlements Report
SA Sustainable Human Settlements Report

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Published by: Sustainable Neighbourhoods Network on Apr 11, 2011
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 UNITED NATIONSCOMMISSION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TWELFTH SESSION
14 – 30 APRIL 2004
SOUTH AFRICA’S PROGRESS REPORTHUMAN SETTLEMENTS
COMPILED BY THE DEPARMENT OF HOUSING
 
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 Introduction
The most significant question today with regard to housing and human settlements iswhether or not development in the field of sustainable human settlements since 1994has served to further the course of sustainable development, with respect to theinter-linked pillars of environmental, social and economic sustainability.The state of human settlements in South Africa as far back as 1992 was such thatColonial and apartheid planning had left an extremely negative legacy in thesettlements of South Africa. High levels of poverty among urban and ruralcommunities were linked to high levels of unemployment and a lack of social stability.In many cases there was a lack of access to even the most basic municipal services,limited or no access for the poor to land for housing, and highly destabilised housingenvironment. Poor environmental quality of these settlements was exacerbated bythe lack of basic servicesThere was (and still is) an extreme shortage of affordable housing for the poor inSouth Africa. The housing shortage was (and still is) felt most severely by female-headed households.The above factors and many more had resulted in 1992 in a situation where SouthAfrican human settlements were characterised by spatial separation of residentialareas according to class and population groups, accompanied by disparate levels of service provision, urban sprawl, low levels of service provision, low levels of suburban population density, and the concentration of the poor in relatively highdensity areas on the urban peripheries, which were often environmentallyinhospitable.
Implementation Progress of Human Settlements Global Targets:
Targets in Agenda 21
Conscious attempts to align South African settlements with the precepts for sustainable settlement as outlined in Chapter 7 of Agenda 21 began with thedemocratic elections in 1994, and the subsequent drafting of settlement relatedpolicy and legislation that sought to address the segregated nature of the country’sspace economy. South Africa’s experience in implementing Agenda 21 with regard tohuman settlement has been determined by the provision of social services andinfrastructure to the poor and formally disadvantaged communities in the country,and the nature of government and non-governmental organisations responsible for effecting change to South African settlements. As such South Africa’s response for creating sustainable settlements has focused on three of the programme areasoutlined in chapter 7 of Agenda 21. These are: The provision of adequate shelter for all; the improvement of human settlement management; and the promotion of 
 
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sustainable land-use management. Other programme areas detailed in Agenda 21have been interred within these three broad programme areas. To ascertain thedegree to which South Africa has been successful in developing sustainable humansettlements in terms of Agenda 21 this report will briefly focus on the performance of the major programmes, there achievement in relation to the cross-cutting issuesprovided by the Commission on Sustainable Development, the obstacles andconstraints for developing sustainable human settlements and finally the identificationof strategies and actions to ensure better human settlements. This analysis will bereinforced by examples of best practices.
Providing Adequate Shelter for All
Performance of the Housing ProgrammeResponsibility for facilitating shelter provision for the poor in South Africa rests withthe Department of Housing. Since 1994 the key mechanism for achieving this hasbeen the housing subsidy. The subsidy provides up to R25 580 ($4 167) for the poor who meet specific criteria. In the decade since it began the programme has seen 1.5million houses being constructed, with approximately 6 million citizens havingreceived housing. In total it has seen R24.22 billion ($3.5 billion) being spent onhousing for the poor. Simply by providing the poor with an asset in terms of shelter;basic connector services such as water, sanitation and internal roads; as well assecure tenure, the Housing Programme has contributed significantly to alleviatingpoverty. By subsidising these aspects of residential development the subsidy hasprovided the foundation to enable beneficiaries to make additions to the core housingunits and provides a foundation to accumulate assets. Besides the subsidy, theDepartment of Housing enables low-cost housing by mobilising housing credit for beneficiaries and builders through the:
National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) which provideswholesale capital for intermediaries lending to the target group; and
The National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency (NURCHA)which provides guarantees for the housing development sector toensure access to capital.To ensure that quality low-cost housing is constructed the National Home BuildersRegistration Council (NHBRC) manages a warranty scheme that sets norms andstandards for the construction of low-income housing. All low-income houses builtneed to comply to the warranty as a part of the housing construction process.Ensuring secure tenure is a major component of the Housing Program, and subsidybeneficiaries receive freehold tenure with their new home. Other tenure optionsencouraged are rental and communal tenure, as provided through social housingoptions. Ensuring the right to secure tenure are two acts: The Extension of Securityof Tenure Act (ESTA) which aims to protect people who live on rural or peri-urbanland with the permission of the owner or person charge of the land, and the

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