End of the beginning

Foreword

From the housing struggles waged by the people fighting for the right to reside in the inner city near social and economic opportunities; to lengthy and costly legal battles which further stripped people of their human dignity; and finally to acrimonious relations between tenants and landlords, South Africa’s people have at last arrived at the inalienable right to affordable housing supported by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The ANC-led government has put in place a policy framework that has penetrated the nether regions of apartheid spatial planning, touching hostels and turning them into family units, and transforming decaying inner city areas into viable living spaces. Integrated development and planning is no longer a dream as social and corporate housing is steadily emerging, gaining ground, and dramatically changing South Africa’s built environment. Foremost in this development is the deracialisation of our society and the construction of good quality homes for low income earners affording them the opportunity to access a diversity of tenure options. With a massive backlog of between two to three million housing needs, South Africa’s poor needed government’s intervention to ensure that affordable housing was within reach. To facilitate this, the White Paper on Housing defined new ways of doing things based on equitable sharing of resources on a transparent and fair basis, targeting low income earners regardless of race, colour, gender or creed. With a million houses built or under construction and an equal number completed in just over five years, we have most definitely touched the soul of the most vulnerable members of our society. We owe all this to the co-operation of all our partners who have played a critical role in ensuring that our beneficiaries get access to affordable housing. We commend the Johannesburg Housing Company for being at the forefront of creative housing solutions. The JHC’s pioneering spirit has helped to explode the myth of low cost housing as equivalent to low quality housing. The JHC has helped to transform decaying inner city areas from squalor to decent homes, from unsafe pockets threatening those who reside in them, to safe and secure havens. With a lot of creativity and innovation the JHC has managed to ensure that communities are integrated smashing class barriers and promoting the spirit of ubuntu and the carving of a new national identity and ethos. The government institutionalised rental housing as a tenure option, and reflected this policy position in Section 3 (4) (g) of the Housing Act No 107 of 1997. The policy was further strengthened through the Rental Housing Act No 50 of 1999 which was enacted to facilitate proper functioning of the rental housing market and to prevent and resolve conflict in the rental housing sector. The Act ushered in a new framework that has facilitated the rebuilding of a sound relationship between the landlord and the tenant. Tense and combatative relations are slowly being ironed out leading to a more normal relationship than in the past. 4 End of the beginning – five years of JHC End of the beginning – five years of JHC 5 Our mainstay has been the people who are at the centre of our developmental initiatives as well as partners who joined us in ensuring that South Africa’s poor have access to affordable homes on a sustainable basis. In supplying rental housing for low income earners in inner city Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Housing Company has done a remarkable job of setting standards for inner city buildings. It has reclaimed slums, and introduced high quality and unprecedented property management. Frequent visits paid to JHC projects such as Jeppe Oval, Carr Gardens, Tasnim Heights and others, bear testimony to immense satisfaction expressed by tenants of JHC-built and administered homes. By tenants’ own admission, and appreciation, the Johannesburg Housing Company has not only provided high standard accommodation. The company has also instituted training and education programmes to facilitate their participation in managing their own residences. All these efforts have yielded buildings in which people are only too happy to live; where children play safely, and where tenants play a role in speedy solutions to problems. This makes for nothing less than meaningful inner city, and communal living for our people. We are pleased, therefore, to have played a role in the development of new homes in excess of 1000, that the Johannesburg Housing Company has contributed to the regeneration of inner city Johannesburg. We commend the JHC for capturing a moment in the history of social and co-operative housing in this publication. Congratulations to the Chairman, CEO, Board of Directors, management and staff of the JHC for a sterling job. Their dedication and enthusiasm towards their core business comes alive and shines through each and every page of this book. This is a testimony to the fact that social and rental housing is in good hands. We applaud you for your five years of operation at the forefront of social and economic transformation for the benefit of the most vulnerable members of our society. Best wishes for the future.

Mrs Sankie D Mthembi-Mahanyele
Minister of Housing

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