According to Tonkin (2008), low –cost housing is dwelling units whose total housing costs are deemed affordable to a group of people within a specified income range, low cost housing includes social housing and low income housing. In South Africa these houses have been provided through the Reconstruction Development Program (RDP). Since 1994, the government has been implementing this program to address the housing backlog which is continuously increasing. The post-Apartheid has era has been enlightened by different successes and failures of low cost housing. Some of the successes include provision of housing to the poor at affordable rates and failures include that it promotes continuous segregation of people in accordance with economic class and race (Tonkin, 2008). The main purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss the successes and failures of low cost housing (RDP).
The Successes of Low-Cost housing in Post-Apartheid
Low cost housing has brought attention of excellence to South Africa by different countries in the world. South Africa has been classified as the world‘s leading country in relation to the provision of houses and its inspiration to eliminate informal settlements. Researchers have suggested that South Africa by 2011 had build-up 2 million houses for the poor. South Africa has been identified on the international arena as a country leading by example in relation to the initiatives it takes to provide low cost housing (Tonkin, 2008). Furthermore, Tonkin (2008) suggests that low-cost housing has managed to provide housing to the poor who could not afford housing on the market. The market forces could not provide for choice and selection for these people to have housing of their preferred choices. Low cost housing has played a role of making equitable selection for those who cannot afford housing. This has helped in improving the living conditions for these poor households. In addition, jobs have been created due to the low cost housing provision process. Low cost housing has played the role of job creation strategy. South Africa has been hit by massive unemployment rates since 1994, which has made most to survive on nothing, due to no shortage of employment opportunities (Tonkin, 2008). Moreover, Tonkin (2008) indicates that the historically black population, which has been supressed by the apartheid system, have been catered for, by low cost housing. Back under the apartheid blacks were not allowed to have accommodation especially in towns. Exclusionary zoning was the ordinance which dominated the housing allocation, favouring those with money and those who are racially deemed acceptable. Low cost housing has been a catalyst in addressing this issue. Lastly, low cost housing has made availability of cheap labour especially in areas, where low cost housing is located near heavy industries. The availability of the labour has made industries to operate on low cost strategies and help them utilize their resources more efficiently and effectively. In addition expenses for these industries reduce especially in relation to wage expenses (Tonkin, 2008). Failures of Low-Cost housing in Post-Apartheid
On the other hand, Low cost housing has had its failures .One of the failures of low cost housing is that a small number of the population have benefited from the program. In South Africa a larger share of the total population lives in informal self-built houses. In reality low cost housing has failed to benefit large groups of people (Zhang, 2008). To add more, Zhang (2008) clarifies that low cost housing has even made lives of the poor to become more difficult, this is because the (RDP)s have been characterised by the issue of being of low quality. Reports have made variously about their lack of quality by occupiers. Some of the issues raised include that the roofs in some instances are always leaking when it rains, another issue has been of the material used which can be easily get...