Inefficiencies in the delivery of low-income housing in South Africa: Is governance the missing link? A review of literature

N. Z.D. Mhlongo, T. Gumbo, I. Musonda

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


South Africa is one of the most urbanised and highly industrialised countries in Africa, with over 61% of the population in the urban areas. Moreover, poor access to housing manifests through informal settlements, slums and backyard dwellings mainly in the cities. While several housing policy interventions have been developed, the housing backlog is estimated at more than 2 million. The Covid-19 pandemic has massified problems resultant to shortage of housing, and the quality of housing across income levels, with low-income groups being the most affected. This paper locates governance discourse in housing development, acknowledging that the concept is used both in the academic discourse and general discussions on how institutions manage their business, including broader societal structures. The paper argues that governance is the missing ingredient in the current policy interventions towards delivery of low-income housing in South Africa. Using selected case studies from literature, this paper analyses and discusses low-income housing delivery processes and systems. Key findings are that housing delivery processes largely exclude governance principles primarily stakeholder participation, accountability and transparency. Notable is that government remains the sole actor in the identification and addressing housing needs, and this results in community resistance during implementation of projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number052004
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventInternational Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction World Building Congress 2022, WBC 2022 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 27 Jun 202230 Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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