Department Of Human Settlements History

The formulation of South Africa’s Housing Policy commenced prior to the democratic elections, with the formation of the National Housing Forum. This forum was a multi-party non-governmental negotiating body comprising 19 members from business, the community, government, development organisations and political parties outside the government at the time. At these negotiations the foundation for the new government's Housing policy were developed and agreed to. This culminated in the achievement of the broad housing sector convention also referred to as the Housing Accord that concluded into the White Paper on Housing 1994 The Government of National Unity in 1994 made use of these negotiations and investigations when it formulated South Africa’s National Housing Policy.

In October 1994 a National Housing Accord was signed by a range of stakeholders representing the homeless, government, communities and civil society, the financial sector, emerging contractors, the established construction industry, building material suppliers, employers, developers and the international community. This accord set down the beginning of the common vision that forms the essence of South Africa’s National Housing Policy. Most importantly, it comprised an agreement that all of these stakeholders would work together to achieve the vision encapsulated in the Accord.

The National Housing Accord was soon followed by the Housing White Paper which was promulgated in December 1994. The White Paper sets out the framework for the National Housing Policy. All policy, programmes and guidelines which followed, fell within the framework set out in the White Paper.

The promulgation of the Housing Act, 1997 [Act No. 107 of 1997] [the Housing Act] legislated and extended the provisions set out in the Housing White Paper and gave legal foundation to the implementation of government's Housing Programme. The Housing Act aligned the National Housing Policy with the Constitution of South Africa and clarified the roles and responsibilities of the three spheres of government: national, provincial and municipal. In addition the Housing Act lays down administrative procedures for the development of the National Housing Policy.