Land Ownership and Land Registration Suitability Theory in State-Subsidised Housing in Two South African Towns

Abstract from Volume 53 of Habitat International, April 2016, pages 48–54:

‘Land titling programmes around the world have failed to yield the benefits envisaged in many cases. In South Africa’s state-subsidised housing programme there is strong evidence that off-register sales and inheritances are occurring, which may give rise to long-term problems for the individuals involved and the general property system. What is lacking are studies that examine where land titling does work and what the critical conditions are that have to exist or be created for it to work. A situation may be analysed in terms of these critical conditions and classified as a weak, semi-weak, semi-strong or strong fit. In the latter two, properties are likely to be registered. In semi-strong situations, however, concerted effort may be required to create the conditions for it to work. Two state-subsidised housing projects were examined in terms of this theory and classified as a semi-strong fit. With some exceptions, contributing factors were that people had lived in the area for a long time, they knew who to approach on land tenure matters, and in general they registered transactions. However, a great deal of continual micro-management may be required to sustain people registering transactions in semi-strong situations.’

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