Towards the formulation of a rural housing policy : a case study of Oshwashweni.
South Africa is one of the Third World countries which are mainly characterised by underdevelopment in almost all aspects of life. This would include social, economic and to certain extent, physical aspects. Their rural areas are in a critical condition as compared to their urban areas. The major problem with such areas is that the rural poor (tribal areas inclusive), cannot contribute significantly to their own development. This is mainly due to inherent inequalities in the benefits of economic development, and technological advancement which operates under the umbrella of capitalism. Rural housing development is a deliberate intervention programme that should be designed in such a way that the people themselves are gradually drawn into the mainstream of development action. It would mean that any governmental assistance to communities should at the time be a learning process for the beneficiaries. Such actions would act as attempts to alleviate the poor conditions in the rural areas, and then empower people in realising their potential and restoring human dignity. This dissertation is a critical overview of the formulation of a rural housing policy. The study looks mainly at the housing condition in the tribal areas, with special focus to housing problems in these areas. A special reference was made to Oshwashweni (Empangeni) in KwaZulu/Natal. The area was chosen because of the rural communities that are still living according to the traditional style of the Zulus. Furthermore, their housing situation is dominated by traditional style. The study revealed that rural housing development is hindered by administrative, social and even technical constraints. Thus, a need for a well-structured housing development was confirmed. Policy formulation has been regarded as the structured and secure instrument for bringing development within the tribal rural areas, and the rural areas as such. On the basis of outcomes of the study, some recommendations have been offered towards guidelines for formulating a policy.