The Housing Crisis

No comments yet August, 12, 2013
As demonstrated in these pages the housing crisis is complex and multi-layered and cannot be separated from the wider social malaise facing South Africa. The causes of this crisis include policy confusion, market-based mechanisms for service provision, and the conception of ‘word-class cities’ as the ultimate goal of urban planners.

It should be noted that the housing crisis is not unique to South Africa. A similar phenomenon can be found across the developing world, from Brazil to India. Millions are flocking to the growing megacities in search of a better future as neoliberal policies force peasants off their land to make way for new mining projects and small-scale farmers are forced to compete with large-scale agribusiness from the EU or the US.

The cost of the neoliberal vision of the ‘world-class city’ is the emergence of new human dumping grounds in South Africa, termed ‘temporary relocation areas’ (TRAs). The most infamous of these is Blikkiesdorp, in Delft, Cape Town. Many of those evicted due to gentrification in such neighbourhoods as Woodstock, or because of decisions to ‘clean up’ the city for tourists for the 2010 World Cup, are dumped into these areas, supposedly for a short period. But, as any Blikkiesdorp resident will tell you, nobody seems to be moving out of these areas and into brand new RDP houses.

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