Housing

The IFP’s housing policy focuses on the rapid and efficient delivery of essential services to the poor in both urban and rural areas. The IFP believes in assisting people to house themselves, by empowering communities to make informed decisions regarding the prioritisation of housing needs, based on:

  • The best use of available resources;
  • The affordability of households;
  • The appropriateness of the level of services;
  • Access to bond finance;
  • The proximity to economic opportunities; and
  • The durability of building materials used.

The IFP’s policy on housing attempts to address the situation on the ground. It is a dynamic policy, with a flexible approach to countering the ever changing forces that affect housing delivery. The policy is based on the following fundamental principles:

Helping people to house themselves

The IFP recognises that the state has insufficient financial resources to meet the needs of the homeless on its own, and therefore promotes a housing assistance scheme whereby impoverished households receive substantial contributions from the state towards the cost of building their own homes. Households should accept their subsidy as a contribution to building a home, and supplement this grant with their own savings and sweat equity. In this way a far greater number of impoverished people can benefit from state assistance, rather than the state limiting its assistance to a privileged few.

People centered development

The IFP strongly supports people-centered development by maximising the involvement of the community in order that communities become empowered and equipped, through the transfer of skills, to drive their own economic development, the development of their physical environment and the satisfaction of their basic needs.

Flexibility of tenure

The IFP believes that recognition must be given to all forms of tenure, including communal land tenure in the traditional areas.

Reducing the risks of developers

The IFP believes that the delivery of housing must be optimised by a sharing of risk between the government and the private sector.

Racial segregation of cities

The IFP firmly recognises that the constraints on housing delivery, imposed through past apartheid policies, need to be overcome. Urban sprawl, disparate levels of service provision, and the geographic segregation of living areas according to race and class have made South Africa’s cities very inequitable and inefficient, and therefore relatively expensive to manage and maintain. The IFP therefore, submits that the restructuring of apartheid cities is an essential component of future housing policy, and should be included in both provincial and national housing legislation.

Non-discrimination in housing delivery

The IFP believes it is essential, given the past regulatory and statutory discrimination in South Africa, that new policies, strategies and legislative actions by the state should be particularly sensitive to the removal of entrenched discriminatory mechanisms. The IFP, therefore, submits that the housing delivery environment must actively discourage any entrenched discrimination in respect of gender, race, religion and creed.

The upgrading of hostels

The majority of residents in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal hostels are IFP members, and a large majority of these people have consistently been subject to vicious attacks against their lives and worldly possessions. Whilst the situation on the ground has improved significantly since the 1994 elections, the plight of hostel residents remains a burning problem for the IFP. Through the IFP’s direct influence on the Provincial Housing Board of KwaZulu-Natal, the province has earmarked a significant portion of its provincial housing budget to pay for the upgrading of hostels. However, the IFP recognises that hostel dwellers should pay an economical rental to cover the cost of services rendered by the hostels. This will then contribute to the financial sustainability of the hostels in the long term.

Devolution of powers to the regions

The IFP recognises that the critical policy challenge for housing is to facilitate the maximum devolution of powers to provincial and local governments, while at the same time ensuring that supporting national processes and policies remain in place. Recognition of the principle of subsidiarity will ensure effective empowerment at second and third tiers of government. The IFP believes that the evolution of housing policy and delivery, over a period of time, will only be successful if it is underpinned by the continued empowerment, both financially and legally, of provincial governments and their administrations.

Accountability of government in the housing delivery process

The IFP submits that a clear distinction must be made between the competences of different levels of government with regard to housing development. There is a strong need to define the roles and accountability of government at each level. For example, whilst the integral role of local government in housing development is recognised by the IFP, this role should be defined within the ambit of provincial housing directives. Clearly, the co-ordination and monitoring functions of housing delivery and the setting of housing delivery goals within the provinces, should reside at provincial level.

Equitable distribution of financial resources to the provinces

The IFP firmly believes that provision must be made for the equitable allocation by national government of adequate budgetary resources to both provincial and local governments. Without the necessary resources, provinces will be unable to address the housing needs of their people.