Towards increasing the scale of co-operative housing delivery : lessons from the Troyeville Co-operative Housing Project within the Johannesburg Municipality.
In response to the current housing backlog of approximately two million units for both low and middle-income earners, the democratic South African government has adopted different approaches and instruments to deliver affordable housing. One is the co-operative housing model. Co-operative housing is an alternative tenure option to individual ownership and rental; it enables collective ownership for urban households with a monthly income of R1 500 - R7 500 which is slightly different from the income groups (R2 800 – R3 500) accommodated by the pilot projects. This study examines the co-operative housing model in South Africa generally and the extent to which it has been employed by the Johannesburg Municipal authorities to deliver affordable housing to the low to middle-income earners within its area of jurisdiction. Lessons are drawn from the pilot projects delivered between the mid-1990s and early 2000s across South Africa. Given that post-apartheid housing policies recommend the use of co-operative housing, the study explores the development ideologies which influence these policies. Furthermore, the conventional approach to housing delivery is examined as one of the approaches that recognise co-operative housing as a formal strategy to build habitable and high quality homes. The co-operative movement is also analysed as a concept that had a significant influence on the co-operative housing sector. The concept of co-operatives traces its roots to the principles adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) that govern co-operatives across all economic sectors at an international level, including South Africa. International and local experiences of co-operative housing are analysed and discussed in order to establish its strengths and weaknesses. The evolution of the co-operative housing sector with reference to housing policies and the legislation that supports and strengthens its delivery is explored. This lays the foundation for an understanding of the history of co-operative housing delivery and the formation of the Troyeville Housing Co-operative as one of the pilot projects. The historical background of the case study – the Troyeville co-operative housing project - is examined in order to ascertain the practical experience of the delivery of the co-operative housing model. The researcher found that the co-operative housing model has not been vigorously pursued as an alternative tenure option for affordable housing by the Johannesburg local authorities responsible for housing policy implementation. This is due to the challenges experienced during some of the pilot projects as well as political interference, a lack of understanding of the concept, and hasty implementation of the model. Mass housing delivery and rental social housing are preferred over co-operative housing because the local authorities are under pressure to address the housing backlog. These challenges can be addressed if advocates for the model help the existing housing co-operatives to move forward and be independent. The study thus offers recommendations based on the lessons learnt from the Troyeville co-operative housing project in order to promote the successful and sustainable delivery of co-operative housing.
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