Q. What is the difference between RDP and Government Subsidised Housing?

Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is a South African socio-economic policy implemented by the government of President Nelson Mandela in 1994.


The programme oversaw many major advances in dealing with South Africa's most severe social problems:

  • Housing
  • Clean running water
  • Sanitation
  • Electricity

Subsidised Housing – is a programme that affords a beneficiary to acquire a house that is built and provided by the government through a government subsidy. These houses were commonly referred to as ‘RDP Houses’

Q. Who qualifies for a Government House?

To qualify you must:

  • Be a South African citizen.
  • Be contractually capable.
  • Be married or habitually cohabit with a partner.
  • Be single and have financial dependants.
  • Earn less than R3500.01 per month per household.
  • Be a first time government subsidy recipient.
  • Be a first time home owner.
  • Single Military Veterans without financial dependant.

Q. What are the essential documents that I must have to qualify?

  • Applicant and spouse’s Identity Documents
  • Birth certificates of children
  • Proof of income if working. (Salary Slip)

Q. Where can I apply for a Government Housing Subsidy?

  • Provincial Department of Human Settlements
  • Local Municipality

Q. How long must I wait on the waiting list for a housing subsidy?

Waiting lists are locally driven initiative and in each municipality the waiting period differs. Housing development normally takes place within a planned and prioritised process where the local conditions dictate what area should receive assistance first. You must also remember that housing development takes time normally atleast two years before a house in a new area is ready for occupation. We are trying our best to speed up the delivery rate.

Q. What fees - if any – I am going to pay when applying for a Government subsidised house?

No fee is charged. In the past, beneficiaries were expected to contribute R2 479.00 towards achieving access to the housing subsidy – or as a way “to top up” to the subsidy for houses that were being build using the People’s Housing Process model. With this model people were responsible for the construction of their own house. This model no longer exists.

Q. If I applied in Limpopo for a housing subsidy and is on the waiting list could I get a house in Gauteng?

Yes, remember that you can only get a subsidy once. So if you have not acquired a house in Limpopo you may apply anywhere in the country. However you would have to wait your turn again in the new area where you have applied, as that area will also have a waiting list.

Q. If my husband and I received a housing subsidy and we are now divorced, can I get a subsidy again?

Normally when a marriage is terminated the assets of the marriage arrangements is divided by mutual agreement or by order of the court. This implies that if you had a house you would have received a benefit from the property when the marriage was terminated. If however this is not the case and you have lost everything, the MEC may after investigating your circumstances decide to give you a new subsidy should you qualify in all other respects.

Q. If I am still legally married but my husband and I live apart, could I apply for a subsidy?

Under normal circumstances where a legal marriage was registered you as a married woman will not be able to enter into a contract and therefore you will not be able to apply for a subsidy in your own right. You will have to reconcile with your husband or if this is not possible enter divorce proceedings to obtain competency to contract again.

Q. I am single and have a child, can I apply for a housing subsidy?

Yes, if you comply with other qualifying criteria you may apply. This means over 21 years of age or previously legally married.

Q. Can I sell my Government Subsidy House?

It is illegal for the recipient of a subsidy house, now referred to as BNG house, to sell the house before they have lived in it for a minimum period of eight (8) years.

Yet, experience shows that in many instances the houses are used to make quick money by unscrupulous individuals who sell them within the 8 year period.

Alternatively recipients rent out the houses to be used as business premises, while the beneficiaries return to live in informal settlements.

While the minimum occupancy period may be adjusted from time to time, the current limitation is 8 years and, within this period a beneficiary may only re-sell the property back to the relevant Provincial Department of Human Settlements. This type of Voluntary sale occurs when a beneficiary, for whatever reasons, chooses not keep the subsidy house.

Q. In case I have already applied for a house, where can I do follow-up on my application?

It is always recommended that follow-up to be done at the office where application was done as they will have your file and they can talk to you about progress and any outstanding documents in your file. This also includes updating your contact details.

Q. When I become the owner of the subsidised house, what ownership papers do I get, and is the ownership registered on a government database?

The beneficiary will be registered on the government housing database. When beneficiary receives the house they need to sign a ‘happy letter.’ Beneficiaries then receive their Title Deeds only after eight years.

Q. What is First Home Finance?

Financed Linked Individual Subsidy Program, better known as First Home Finance, was developed by the Department of Human Settlements to enable sustainable and affordable first time home-ownership opportunities to South African citizens and legal permanent residents earning between R3501 and R22 000 per month (the “affordable” or “ gap” market). Individuals in these salary bands generally find it hard to qualify for housing finance. Their income is regarded as low for mortgage finance, but too high to qualify for the government “free-basic-house” subsidy scheme.

Q. What to do with First Home Finance?

Qualifying applicants may use First Home Finance to do one of the following:

  • Buy an existing, new or old, residential property.
  • Buy a vacant serviced residential –stand linked to NHBRC registered home builder contract or build a residential property on a self owned service residential stand, through an NHBRC registered homebuilder.

The once-off First Home Finance subsidy amount ranges between R10 000 and R87 000, depending on the applicant’s monthly income.The maximum price of a property that can be financed through First Home Finance is R300 000.

Q. Who can apply?

First Home Finance Applicants must meet the following qualifying criteria:

  • RSA citizens with a valid ID or permanent residents with valid permit
  • Over 18 years and competent to legal contract.
  • Never have been benefitted from Government Housing Scheme before.
  • Have an approval in principle of home loan from accredited South African banks.
  • First time home buyer, earning from R3501 to R22 000 per month.
  • First Home Finance is for residential properties in formal towns where transfer of ownership and registration of mortgage bond is recordable in the Deeds Office.

Important Documents

  • RSA Bar coded ID or Bar Coded permanent residence permit.
  • Birth certificates/RSA IDs of all financial dependents (where applicable).
  • Proof of foster children guardianship (where applicable).
  • Marriage certificates, civil union certificate or cohabiting affidavit (where applicable).
  • Divorce settlement (where applicable).
  • Proof of monthly income.
  • Home loan approval in principle/ Grant letter from an accredited Lender.
  • Agreement of sale for the residential property.
  • Building Contract and approved Building Plan (where applicable).