12 May 1998

12 May 1998


For decades, the National Party had a deliberate policy of not supplying
low-cost housing for the country`s poor. The ANC Government is dedicated
to reversing the dire effects of this policy on small, poor communities
and to making a major contribution to the alleviation of both homelessness
and poverty. Housing Minister, Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, has developed
a National Housing Policy - outlined in a document "Supporting the
People`s Housing Process" - which aims to mobilise, encourage and
provide support to communities so that they can fulfil their own housing
needs. This will assist people to gain access to land, secure tenure, services
and technical assistance. The process will lead to empowerment and transfer
of skills to individuals and communities.

What does this policy mean for our people?

The ANC is tackling the legacy of the NP`s Apartheid policy with new
measures that will:

  • mobilise and support community efforts
  • facilitate access to subsidies
  • promote the most cost effective use of resources
  • regularise settlements and create secure tenure options
  • build capacity and facilitate an optimum transfer of skills, economic
    upliftment and employment creation
  • promote a culture of saving
  • create mechanisms to link credit and savings.

Who will benefit?

The People`s Housing Process is directed at four broad categories of
families, who are either:

  1. settled on fully-serviced sites with ownership rights (owners),
  2. settled on fully-serviced sites on a rental basis without ownership
    rights (non-owners), or;
  3. settled informally on land to which they have no claim, but have built
    some form of housing on the land (occupants), or;
  4. without land and reside in overcrowded hostels and backyard shacks
    without any security of tenure (landless people).

Funding and the People`s Housing Partnership Trust (PHP Trust)

The ANC Government will provide housing subsidies and facilitation
and establishment grant funding for the establishment of housing support

The PHP Trust will be the main thrust behind the implementation of the
support programme, and international organisations, like USAID, have expressed
keen interest in funding and technical support. The Trust will start a
national capacity-building programme that will have five pillars:

  1. the creation, propagation and promotion of support for the programme
  2. simplifying and speeding up procedures for land delivery, finance and
    infra structural services
  3. assistance to community organisations which mobilise and support the
  4. developing and advancing technical and developmental support skills
    for government, NGOs, communities and the private sector
  5. simplifying and advancing Housing Support functions, maybe at a Housing
    Support Centre.

Decisions and monitoring

Decisions relating to projects under this policy will be assigned to
the Provincial Housing Board in each Province. Provincial departments will
be required to report on the implementation of the programme to the National
Housing Minister, who will monitor progress.

How does the programme work in practice?

Because of its people driven nature a group of families or a CBO can
form a legal entity themselves, or pro-actively, a local government or
organisation interested in being the legal entity can identify a group
of families as a target group on whose behalf they will act.

Support functions include:

  • general advice around housing
  • settlement planning
  • preparation of a housing project subsidies application
  • completion and submission of subsidy application forms
  • advice on the purchase or manufacture of building materials
  • design and draft houses to be constructed by families
  • supervision of building work
  • certification of building progress
  • management of the operation of a Specified Account.

Facilitation Grants, Housing Subsidies and Establishment Grants

Facilitation grants are meant for preparatory work before a project
application is submitted. They can be provided:

  • to any group of families or community that will make it possible to
    establish itself as a legal entity
  • to any group, organisation or local government for setting up a partnership
    with any group of families or community
  • to a legal entity for the preparation of a project application and
    a business plan.

Approval of these grants rests solely with the PHB, which must determine
the amount on merits, needs and requirements.

Housing subsidies are granted when the PHB has approved a Peoples
Housing Support Project application. Each application should include a
business plan.

Establishment grants are paid to the legal entity to fulfil its
support functions. These grants can be used for the establishment of physical
facilities, essential staff, consultants, and basic office and construction

The programme will create opportunities for poor families to boost the
value of their subsidies by contributing their own resources and
taking important decisions around the design and construction of their