Housing delivery and beneficiary perspectives on poverty reduction : a case study of Ntuzuma D Phase 4 Housing Project, eThekwini Municipality.
Mbambo, Sanele Brian.
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This dissertation assesses beneficiaries’ perspectives on the extent to which housing delivery has reduced their income poverty. Ntuzuma D Phase 4 Housing Project in the eThekwini Municipality was used as a case study. Oscar Lewis in his culture of poverty theory argued that the culture of poverty is persistent, passed down from generation to generation along with family lines. He further states that people’s traits while living in poverty are resistant to change, even if the structural conditions that gave rise to poverty were to change. Lewis’ theory has informed this study, which investigates if standards of living people improved they moved out from poverty conditions in the slums, to formal houses. Housing beneficiaries were able to use their houses to establish income generation activities, which have helped to give them income to acquire household daily needs. Some other beneficiaries who do not run income generation activities from home and are unemployed, felt that the stable houses they now live in, have changed their lives for the better. This is because they are able now to save money from the little income they get (e.g. social grants) which is spent on household needs rather than house maintenance. The Enabling Approach suggested seven enabling instruments that should be used by the governments to ensure a housing market that benefits the poor. These are three demand-side instruments, three supply-side instruments, and the one that entails developing an institutional framework for managing the housing sector. All these instruments have been applied by the eThekwini Municipality Housing Unit and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements and have proved to work in the betterment of the living standards of poor people. The asset vulnerability framework outlines different forms of assets that a house provides and can be utilised by households amongst other things to generate income and reduce income poverty. In this way, a house can be used as an asset in three forms, being a productive, economic and social asset. The South African democratic government introduced a housing policy in order to address the previous housing imbalances created by apartheid segregation policies. Most importantly, the aim of the South Africa’s housing policy is to alleviate poverty of previously disadvantaged citizens. The Housing White Paper (HWP) was introduced in 1994 after robust discussions in the National Housing Forum. One of the aims of the HWP was to ensure security of tenure through ownership of the houses. Furthermore this policy suggested local economic development through the establishment of micro-economic activities and the involvement of small-/medium enterprises in the housing market. However after nine years of existence of the HWP, the Department of Housing realized that this policy has not been effective enough in responding to the housing needs of the poor. The HWP’s lack of effectiveness was due to the poor-location of RDP houses, which excluded the poor from the economic opportunities in the urban centres. These houses were of a poor quality, being a small standardized size and constructed with inferior materials. Owing to these factors the RDP houses could not be used as economic and productive assets for the establishment of home-based enterprises or collateral. As a result, in 2004 the Breaking New Ground (BNG), a comprehensive plan for the development of human settlements was introduced. This is a second phase in South Africa’s housing policy introduced after Government realized the shortcomings in the HWP. The purpose of BNG was to enhance the existing mechanisms and instruments of the HWP to ensure more responsive, flexible and effective housing delivery. The BNG housing policy suggested that income poverty can be reduced by providing well located, good quality houses, integrated settlements, and the use of a house as an asset to create employment opportunities. Ntuzuma D Phase 4 is an in-situ informal settlement upgrade housing project. People have lived in poverty conditions for so many years. However various services, amenities and infrastructure have been delivered since the beginning of housing development in that area. These services have assisted beneficiaries by reducing poverty. Through the houses delivered, beneficiaries have been able to explore different income generation activities in the form of home-based enterprises. The location of this housing project also exposes beneficiaries to various economic opportunities. The proximity to the Durban CBD and the Bridge City Shopping Mall has helped to provide economic support to the beneficiaries.