State subsidises one fifth of all homes

Published May 5, 2011


Around a fifth of South African households live in state-subsidised homes, according to Statistics SA's general household survey (GHS) released on Thursday.

“At the time of the survey, 18.9 percent of South African households were living in 'RDP' or state-subsidised dwellings,” Stats SA said in a report.

Of these, female households were more likely than their male counterparts to receive a government housing subsidy.

Thirteen percent of respondents had at least one household member on a waiting list for an RDP home.

“In 2010, as in preceding years, female-headed households (11.1

percent) were more likely to receive a housing subsidy than male-headed households (8.8 percent),” the report said.

However, some residents were concerned about the quality of these subsidised houses.

Nationally, 17 percent said the walls were weak or very weak and 18 percent said the same of the roof.

Stats SA found “considerable variation between provinces in the perceptions about housing quality”.

The most complaints came from the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape.

“Households in Gauteng and Mpumalanga seemed most content with the quality of their home’s walls and roofs.”

The proportion of people living in informal dwellings appears unchanged between 2002 and 2010 at 13 percent.

However, Stats SA said this period had been “characterised by uneven changes”.

“While the proportion of informal dwellings declined in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, increases were observed in Gauteng, North West and Western Cape.”

Stats SA found Gauteng had the highest percentage of informal dwellers (22 percent), followed by North West (19 percent), Western Cape (17 percent) and Free State (13 percent).

The smallest proportion was found in Limpopo at four percent.

KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape recorded seven percent.

More people fully owned formal housing, with an increase from 53 percent in 2002 to 58 percent in 2010.

“The rapid economic growth that took place between 2002 and 2007 probably furled increases in full ownership,” Stats SA said.

This growth in ownership was accompanied by a decline in the percentage of households partially owning dwellings and those renting accommodation.

“There has been an inverse relationship between fully owned dwellings and renting since 2002. This was expected “as ownership increases, renting decreases,” the agency said.

White and Indian households were more likely to stay in houses of six rooms or more.

“Dwelling sizes varied significantly between population groups with 86.6 percent of white-headed households and 76 percent of Indian/Asian households living in dwellings consisting of six rooms or more as opposed to 31.8 percent of black African and 41.8

percent of the coloured population groups.”

The GHS was conducted in July, August and September 2010 among 25,635 households in face-to-face interviews. - Sapa

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