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Revisiting the Self-Help Housing debate: Perception of Self-Help Housing by the beneficiaries of South African low-cost housing

par Andre Mengi Yengo
Witwatersrand of Johannesburg RSA - Master 2006

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1.2: Rationale and Problem Statement

This research report deals with three problems identified which, in principle, should foster the expansion or the widespread use of SHH if they are overcome. These problems are the following:

a) Twelve years after the adoption of housing policy, a significant number of South Africans are either in bad housing conditions or do not have shelter (Olufemi, 2000);

b) The houses delivered by RDP4(*) (Reconstruction Development Programme) lack quality and are badly located5(*).

c) The incapacity of the government alone to provide adequate solutions to people's housing needs (Mthembi-Mahanyele, 1996).

Given these problems identified above, it is our concern, through research, to find out the main reasons which prevent the expansion or the widespread use of SHH in South Africa and in turn contribute the improvement of low-income housing conditions.

1.3: Research questions

1.3.1 The main research question

Why do the failure of low-cost housing (often identified with low-quality) and the housing shortage in South Africa not stimulate a widespread use of aided or assisted Self-Help Housing?

1.3.2. Sub-research questions

- Is SHH possible in South Africa?

- Is SHH desirable in South Africa?

- How can a successful form of SHH be attained?

* 4 The reconstruction Development programme (RDP) initiated in 1994 by the Post-Apartheid government aims to correct the unjust system, especially the access to basic needs created by the Apartheid regime. For Urban Development Framework (1987), RDP seeks to help poor South Africans to meet their basic needs and a sustainable development.

* 5 Many authors have shown that it deepens the segregation created and planned under the apartheid regime and reinforces the vulnerabilities of poor people as they are isolated from the centre of economic activities (Huchzermeyer, 2002a and 2003a; Baumann, 2003).

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