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Tenants perception regarding the social housing rental flats : case study of Acacia Park, Aloe Ridge and Signal Hill in the Msunduzi Municipality, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

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The right to adequate housing was first promulgated in the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights. However, time and experience has shown that the realisation of this right is difficult to attain. The developing regions are the ones that suffer the most when it comes to the provisioning of adequate housing. The most obvious reason in the developing regions is urbanisation and colonialism. Urbanisation has been coupled with overcrowding, unreliable, inadequate infrastructure and services. For South Africa, the housing backlog is attributed to the apartheid government. When the new democratic government the African National Congress (ANC) won the elections, housing was one of the basic needs where there was a backlog. In 1994 a policy called the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was implemented and it was used to address the housing backlog. The RDP policy was providing free fully subsidised houses to the low-income class but in 1996 the RDP office closed due to a financial crisis. In 1996, a new policy called Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) was introduced and it was aimed at boosting the economy but it was criticised for being a neoliberal policy. In 2004, the Department of Human Settlement introduced a new housing policy called Breaking New Ground (BNG). BNG was a housing policy that was used to address the problems which were evident in the low-income (RDP) houses such as size, peripheral locations and structural defects. BNG also had a housing option called social housing. Social housing is a relatively new concept in South Africa, and it is different from the mass housing delivery which was evident in the low-income (RDP) houses. Social housing is a rental or co-operative housing that is aimed at low to middle income households who earn a monthly salary of R 1500 to R 15 000 it is provided by accredited social housing institutions in designated restructuring zones. Social housing can be in the form of flats, houses or townhouses that are located in greenfield, infill areas or inner city blocks that are purchased and renovated. Social housing rental flats tends to be located in neighbourhoods where it is close to social amenities unlike the low-income (RDP) houses which were in peripheral locations. The aim of this study is to assess whether social housing is alleviating the housing backlog and is it affordable for the low-income groups. Social housing was intended to be affordable for the low-income household and create a society that is not dependant on the government for housing. The objectives of this study were to investigate if social housing is a viable option for the low-income class, to assess the tenant’s socio-economic conditions, to assess the tenant’s perceptions regarding the social housing rental flats and to investigate the operating standards of the social housing rental flats. This dissertation evaluated the three social housing rental flats in terms of their affordability, management and safety. The research study sites were Acacia Park, Aloe Ridge and Signal Hill, respectively. This study used a mixed method approach where both the quantitative and qualitative research approach was used. The quantitative research approach consisted of a structured questionnaire surveys. The statistical analysis was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25. The qualitative research approach consisted of an interview with a social housing official. The main findings from the study revealed that respondents from the three social rental flats were struggling with their monthly rent which is coupled with their monthly utilities. The respondents indicated that the management is very poor, their concerns are not addressed, they feel dehumanised and victimised. In terms of safety the respondents indicated that the crime rate is very high as there are always burglaries. It is recommended that the rent must be increased according to a tenants monthly income, the management needs to fulfil its duties as stipulated in the social housing policy, there needs to be more security presence and there must be consistency between policy and practice. Keywords: affordability, rent, management and crime.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.