The impact of housing and basic service delivery on low-income communities in South Africa: The case of the northern free state region

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates the impact of the provision of housing and basic services on poor communities in the northern Free State (NFS) region of South Africa. Service delivery and housing backlogs in poor communities have led to an increase in violent protest marches throughout the country. Poor communities seem frustrated with the rate of service delivery since the election of the first democratic government in 1994. A community household survey, which included 2 900 households, was conducted in 2013 in the NFS region and included twelve poor communities. The regional result was compared with four selected poor communities in the region, namely Moakeng (Moqhaka Local Municipality), Qalabotjha (Mafube Local Municipality), Tumahole (Ngwathe Local Municipality) and Zamdela (Metsimaholo Local Municipality). The impact of delivery of basic services and housing were analysed regarding poverty levels, as well as the relationship between the concepts of poverty and service delivery. Results of the survey indicate that 75.9 percent of the households reside in formal subsidised houses with high levels of ownership but a relatively low average monthly household income of only R1 458 ($140/month) relating to high levels of poverty. Only 35.6 percent of all households surveyed are of the subjective opinion that local government delivers quality services. More detailed results per specific area are analysed and discussed in the article. The results could play an important role in development policy formulation and policy adjustment. The results should also be taken into account in the formulation of local economic development (LED) plans for the areas under investigation with a focus on the benefits of housing delivery and associated basic services. Improved service delivery must be promoted by means of improved coordination between all spheres of government.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalMediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
Issue number13 SPEC. ISSUE
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Housing provision
  • Local government
  • Northern Free State region
  • Poverty
  • Service delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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