‘Breaking New Ground’, social housing and mineworker housing: The missing link

  • Jan Cloete University of the Free State, South Africa
  • Anita Venter University of the Free State, South Africa
  • Lochner Marais University of the Free State, South Africa
Keywords: Breaking New Ground, BNG, South Africa, housing policy, mine-housing provision


Despite the fact that South African housing policy has focused on ownership for the poor, the provision of rental housing through the Social Housing Policy has become an important delivery vehicle in the Breaking New Ground (BNG) policy direction. The possibility of applying the Social Housing Policy in a range of environments does however have has an inherent bias towards larger urban areas. In the process, the application of policy in remote mining areas has not received adequate attention. Some form of rental housing – through the Social Housing Framework – might be applicable in these areas for three reasons. Firstly, the possibility of public-private-partnerships as a result of interest from the mines has laid a foundation for this approach to housing. Secondly, the characteristics of migrant labour correspond to the description in the policy of potential clients of social housing. Thirdly, and probably the most important reason, the undesirability of longer-term settlement in these remote arid areas and the subsequent risk of mortgage bonds are factors that require far more attention than they have hitherto received. This article explores these three arguments with reference to mine-housing provision in Kathu. 


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