Two years after the fall of apartheid, it was revealed that South Africa had 1.4 million shacks or informal dwellings.
Fast forward to 2011, and you would expect some improvement. However, the 2011 census found the number increased to 1.9 million! Nearly all those in such housing are black. A shameful legacy of apartheid.
As the Constitution states “everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing”, clearly, something is going wrong with the promise of a Rainbow Nation.
The rotten provinces
At national level, a great deal has been achieved. In the twenty years to 2014, the government delivered close to 3 million social housing units. That’s over 400 homes every day!
However, the problem lies in some of our provincial governments who simply refuse to take their constitutional responsibilities seriously.
For example, despite being South Africa’s second richest province, the Democratic Alliance-run Western Cape only last week took the decision to sell the Tafelberg School building in Cape Town privately, instead of developing it for much needed social housing.
This decision, taken by Helen Zille and her cabinet, has already been described by residents as showing “a deep contempt for the needs of poor and working class black and coloured people”.
On the 30th March 1951, the apartheid government passed the Group Areas Act, a law that forced black South Africans into segregated communities.
66 years later and little appears to have changed.