To reinforce its vision the National Department of Housing released its Comprehensive Housing Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements. Entitled ‘Breaking New Ground [BNG]’.
The Breaking New Ground [BNG]) strategy aims to promote an integrated society by developing sustainable human settlements and quality housing within a subsidy system for different income groups.
Since our country became a democracy twenty years ago, substantial progress has been made in the creation of a more equal society. Enabling an environment for the delivery of affordable housing form a large part of this. Although millions of houses have been built, we are still facing a huge backlog and many people are still living in poor conditions.
Breaking New Ground, or BNG housing, represents a more updated version of the Reconstruction and Development Programme, or RDP housing.BNG subsidy housing builds on the existing housing policy articulated in the White Paper on Housing (1994), but shifts the strategic focus from simply ensuring the delivery of affordable housing to making sure that housing is delivered in settlements that are both sustainable and habitable.
How is the BNG housing plan an updated version of the RDP housing plan?
RDP houses are single-family homes for people that earn between R0 and R3,500, paid for by the government. Their main goal is to address the massive housing shortage in the country, and they have historically been constructed on larger plots of land in the outer areas of cities.
Unlike the previous 20-34 square metre RDP subsidy houses, the BNG house is 40 m2 in size with two bedrooms; a separate bathroom with a toilet, shower and hand basin; a combined living area and kitchen with wash basin; and a ready-board electrical installation where electricity supply is available in the township, to qualifying households earning less than R3 500 a month.
The BNG incorporates principles such as:
- integrating subsidised, rental and bonded housing
- providing municipal engineering services at a higher level and being applied consistently throughout the township
- providing ancillary facilities such as schools clinics and commercial opportunities
- Combining different housing densities and types, ranging from single-stand units to double storey units and row houses.
Within this broader vision, the Department is committed to meeting the following specific objectives:
- Accelerating the delivery of housing as a key strategy for poverty alleviation
- Utilising provision of housing as a major job creation strategy
- Ensuring property can be accessed by all as an asset for wealth creation and empowerment
- Leveraging growth in the economy, combating crime, promoting social cohesion and improving quality of life for the poor
- using housing development to break down barriers between the First-Economy residential property boom and the Second-Economy slump
- Utilizing housing as an instrument for the development of sustainable human settlements, in support of spatial restructuring.
The housing department developed and launched a number of instruments to guide the implementation of the comprehensive plan and initiated a project-monitoring process to measure the performance of provincial housing departments against targets set in their business plans, to identify constraints and assist with addressing them swiftly.