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Introduction to Land and Housing

The Constitution of South Africa guarantees the right to have access to housing and land. It requires the government to pass laws and take necessary steps, within its available resources, to ensure that people have access to land, housing and security of tenure in their houses. Although it is not practical to ensure that everybody gets a house or land immediately, the government has to commit itself to making this happen over time. This is called a progressive right. The land and housing laws and policies are an important step in the process of creating access to housing and land to landless and homeless people. The policies make provision for financial assistance in the form of housing subsidies and grants. To address these issues, the government has stated its commitment to the following:

  • The return of land or other compensation to communities who were forcibly removed during the years of apartheid
  • The return of land which was taken over or ‘bought’ by the Apartheid government
  • Support for agricultural development in rural areas
  • Addressing the housing backlog in formal and informal settlements
  • Finding ways for the poor to access affordable housing
  • Building sustainable communities where the building of houses goes hand in hand with the construction of community facilities such as schools, hospitals, recreation centres and economic development.
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