National Directives

National Directives for Housing and Living Conditions

The Housing Act, 1997
The Housing Act (no 107 of 1997) – amended by the Housing Amendment Act in 2001 (no 4 of 2001) - defines housing development as the establishment and maintenance of habitable, stable and sustainable public and private residential environments, to ensure viable households and communities in areas allowing convenient access to economic opportunities, health, educational and social amenities, and that all citizens and permanent residents of the Republic, on a progressive basis, have access to permanent and secure structures, adequate protection against the elements, potable water, adequate sanitary facilities and domestic energy supply. This primary piece of housing legislation compels all spheres of government to prioritise the needs of the poor in respect of housing development, and consult meaningfully with individuals and communities affected by housing development. Required processes include racial, social, economic and physical integration in urban and rural areas; measures to prohibit unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender and other forms of unfair discrimination by all actors in the housing development process; higher density in respect of housing development to ensure the economical utilisation of land and services; and the meeting of special housing needs, including the needs of the disabled.
Breaking New Ground: A Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human
Settlements, 2004
This plan reinforced government’s vision of promoting the achievement of a non-racial, integrated society through the development of sustainable human settlements and quality housing. It built on the 1994 White Paper on Housing, but was unique in that it shifted government’s focus from providing poor households with houses and basic services (e.g. potable water and sanitation) on an equitable basis, to improving the quality of housing and housing environments by integrating communities and settlements. It outlined a five-year plan for the achievement of its objectives and was also included in the 2009 National Housing Code, which simplified information on the various housing subsidy instruments available to assist low-income households. In support of this plan, various stakeholders who attended the 2005 Housing Indaba in Cape Town committed to removing or improving all slums in South Africa by 2014 and fast-tracking the provision of formal housing within human settlements, as stated in the Social Contract for Rapid Housing Delivery.
People’s Housing Process Policy, 2008
The main aim of this policy is to deliver better human settlement outcomes at household and community level, based on community contributions and the leveraging of additional resources through partnerships. It replaced the People’s Housing Partnership Trust Programme, and is aligned with the Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements.