Backyarders Matter! Within the South African context, it has become increasingly apparent that affordable housing is not easily and readily accessible to populations most at risk. Many people have to resort to living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions due to the lack of physical and economic resources to live sustainably. In 2019, Isandla, DAG and other NGOs collaborated to submit the Informal Settlements Upgrading Matters report that looked into introducing new policies for the development of human settlements.
In 2022, DAG, in collaboration with Isandla Institute, and the National NGO collective seek to influence the content of the #HumanSettlementsDevelopmentBill. The backyard sector is currently overlooked in the existing national legislative and policy framework and is a crucial component of citizens having access to inclusive and sustainable housing opportunities. As the national government is working towards a new policy for human settlements, the NGO collective decided to be proactive and set the agenda of the new legislation. The joint civil society submission addresses four key areas of intervention that the NGOs believe start to address some of the significant challenges facing the backyard housing market.
The Proposed 4 key areas around which the submission can focus on are:
👉Access to basic services (and the artificial distinction made by municipalities in respect of service provision on public-private land).
👉Improved tenure (including accessibility, tenure of landlords and tenants, including mediation of relationships in terms of the draft Rental Housing Regulations in terms of the Rental Housing Act).
👉A ‘neighbourhood improvement approach’ (which extends beyond the interests of individuals even to ensure sustainable, safe, dignified neighbourhoods inclusive of quality public services).
👉Facilitating ‘top structure’ and the right to build (municipalities cannot adopt a hands-off approach to assisting communities in realising their right to build.
Models such as Housing Support Centres could potentially fulfil this role. Check out the Housing Support Centres’ animation in the second video below.
Click to read more about the Submission into the proposed New Human Settlements Policy & Human Settlements Bill. The submission is accompanied by an animated video below, that synthesises the above focus areas into a summarised version that is easily digestible to all stakeholders.