The impact of rural housing policy on the socio-economic status of households: a case study of Vulindlela rural housing project context.
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Rural socio-economics have been both progressive and regressive over the years when it comes to the levels of sustainable livelihoods. Rural communities today face the drawback of socio-economics, as enormous backlogs of social services, economic and infrastructural developments challenge the sustainability of livelihoods in rural communities. This study aims to analyse and critique the socio-economic impact of the rural housing policy on rural households. The case study of Vulindlela Rural People’s Housing project sets a perfect landscape of a modern rural community. To illustrate the dynamics around the rural socio-economics brought to light by the Rural Housing Policy and the previous Apartheid Policy. The researcher made use of both secondary and primary data to enrich and bring insight to the research study. A purposeful random sample of 100 was implemented to assist in ensuring credibility in the findings; this further helped achieve good representativeness. This research applied a mixed methodology design, incorporating household surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus groups discussions (FGDs). Other major tools used to collect data were observations together with mapping as a tool that assisted in collecting and compiling visual representation of the regularly perceived concepts and relationships of socio-economics in rural communities. The data collected were analysed utilising MS Excel, in a thematic manner to aid conduct, emphasise, pinpoint, examine and record patterns of socio-economic issues and the rural housing policy. Theoretical constructs shaping this study range from Neoliberalism, the Sustainable livelihoods theory and the integrated development theory of change. The Neoliberal theory provided a foundation for South Africa’s status quo and the self -help nature of the approach taken by VDA (Vulindlela Development Association). The study further elaborated how integrated development and sustainable development theories need to transition from being mere slogans into becoming actual strategies in order to adjust local and national socio-economics. Major findings of this study found that the South African rural community continuously faces challenges of poverty and unemployment, compounded by limited access to basic services. Findings proved that there is pressure to derive a policy that would deal with socio-economic issues in a holistic manner. This would be made possible if policy and implementation prioritised integration when delivering sustainable development. Thus creating an opportunity for rural households to leverage their assets and generate wealth. Integrated development, therefore, considers the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and geographic realities that shape communities, ensuring that housing development is paired with economic stimulation and progressive activity in the rural areas. Key recommendations found in this study emphasised how housing delivery should adopt people centred approaches in order to achieve sustainable effects socio-economically. Furthermore beneficiary selection process for government projects still needs to be reviewed with regards to finding truly worthy and deserving beneficiaries. Other recommendations are focused on the monitoring and evaluation aspects project and the need to document lessons learnt and deliver project blue prints to ensure a dialogue is created around lessons learnt.