Land & Housing

SACSIS endorses the right of the poor to decent housing. We also support solutions aimed at transforming the unequal balance in land ownership, which currently concentrates much of South Africa's land in a few hands.

A Poorly Conceptualised Plan: Government's Proposal to Transfer 50% of Commercial Farm Land to Farm Workers

Picture credit: Farmworkers courtesy John via Wikimedia Commons Stephen Greenberg - Just before the 2014 national elections, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) announced a plan to redistribute 50% of commercial farm land to farm workers as part of ongoing efforts to redress historical imbalances in the country. The objectives of the plan are laudable: to deracialise the rural economy; to democratise the allocation and use of land by race, gender and class; and (less clearly) to support “production discipline” for food security and food...

Revitalising Agriculture: Healing the Land, Feeding our Nation

Picture credit: Women packing vegetable courtesy AUSAID South Africa/flickr Glenn Ashton - South Africa is a harsh country, a place of extremes. Producing sufficient food for our people has always been a difficult challenge. The new Minister of Agriculture, who can only be an improvement on the previous incumbent, is an interesting choice. Senzeni Zokwana is the national chairperson of the South African Communist Party, as well as having headed up the National Union of Mineworkers. He has no background in agriculture, in common with his deputy, ex-Police commissioner Bheki...

The Nomzamo Eviction: A Potential Turning Point?

Picture credit: Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Richard Pithouse - The destruction of the Nomzamo settlement in Lwandle, Cape Town, has received an extraordinary degree of political and media attention, much of it noting the illegality and brutality of the eviction, and much of it sympathetic to the occupiers. Evictions, generally illegal and frequently violent, have been an everyday part of actually existing modes of urban governance in post-apartheid South Africa. Most of the major cities have units maintained for the sole purpose of mobilising state...

Why Is There Not Enough Affordable Rental or Social Housing for the Poor In South Africa's Cities?

Picture credit: The Jackal Blog Louise Scholtz - Why is there not enough affordable rental or social housing for the poor in our cities? As the Constitutional Court’s Grootboom decision highlighted, cities should be read as shorthand for well-located spaces that provide access to economic and social opportunities for the poor. This lack of affordable and well-situated rental or social housing accommodation is not unique to South Africa. There are many urban centres in the world where land has run out and state support is...

Service Delivery in South Africa: Putting the Poo-Cart Before the Horse

Picture credit: Abahlali baseMjondolo Cameron Brisbane - One of the ANC’s 2014 election slogans proudly boasts “A better life for all.”  Its claim is supported by a series of service delivery achievements such as the building of three million (a contested figure) subsidised homes. The feel-good factor of these claims belies the reality that many communities are tired of empty promises, and the frequency of service delivery protests that has reached unprecedented proportions bears testament to the ”gatvol” factor....

The Urban Land Question

Picture credit: Heavy cross to bear - community members from the township of Gugulethu hold a march to raise awareness of the "hellish reality" of township life (courtesy Abahlali baseMjondolo/flickr). Richard Pithouse - Urban land is acutely contested in contemporary South Africa. There are regular land occupations, some taking the form of quiet encroachment and some taking the form of overtly political acts. At the same time most municipalities have armed units that, often acting violently, and more or less invariably acting illegally, try to sustain the duopoly of the state and the market over the allocation and zoning of urban land. When land occupations are presented as simple acts of criminality,...