The Department came into being in 1994 after the dawn of democracy. Its roots can be traced back to 1956 when the Freedom Charter was adopted in Kliptown. The clause that says: There shall be houses, security and comfort is the founding base for the department. Also the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) state that access to housing is a basic human right, the government has to ensure that an environment conducive to progressive realisation of the right.
Constitution of South Africa (Chapter 2: Bill of Rights Housing)
Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right. No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.
To provide for the facilitation of a sustainable housing development process; for this purpose to lay down general principles applicable to housing development in all spheres of government, to define the functions of national, provincial and local governments in respect of housing development and to provide for the establishment of a South African Housing Development Board, the continued existence of provincial boards under the name of provincial housing development boards and the financing of national housing programmes; to repeal certain laws; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The National Housing Code, 2009 sets the underlying policy principles, guidelines and norms and standards which apply to Government’s various housing assistance programmes introduced since 1994 and updated. The purpose of this guide is to provide an easy to understand overview of the various housing subsidy instruments available to assist low income households to access adequate housing. The detailed description of the policy principles, guidelines, qualification criteria and norms and standards are available in the National Housing Code.
A nation housed in sustainable human settlements
"To facilitate the creation of sustainable Human Settlements and improved quality of household life.”