South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) launched their 2014 election manifesto this month. The promises the ruling party is making for the next five years of government are based on a longer policy conversation, the roots of which can be found in the April 2012 National Development Plan (NDP), which detailed the developmental vision of national government. Essentially the NDP is centred on 5 core pillars: Economic Development, Infrastructure Investment, Rural Development, Environmental Sustainability and Human Settlements. As I have mentioned in a blog written back in 2012:
“The plan sets out three areas of focus for future policy reform: the housing subsidy programme, the gap market, and Informal settlements. The focus on the subsidy programme proposes moving away from top structure investment, while simultaneously keeping in line with the Constitution and being able to find sustainable ways to provide housing for that 60% of the nation that otherwise cannot house themselves. Within the gap market, the plan seeks to promote the role of the private sector by reducing the risk for the sector and incentivising them to engage at an increased scale.”
Fast forward two years later, three months before the national elections, and we have the launch of the ANC Election Manifesto 2014. The manifesto provides an overview of the past 20 years successes and failures. Since 1994 the ANC has managed to deliver close to 3 million subsidised. That is a massive accomplishment for any government. The ANC identifies the first phase of their 20 year rule as having overseen the democratic transition of the country, and in the second phase they need to drive the economy towards achieving equality, eliminating poverty and creating sustainable livelihoods. The manifesto refers back to the NDP as the implementation plan that will address the second phase of the ANC’s goal towards achieving economic equality. The plan will drive these political instruments: New Growth Path, National Infrastructure Plan and the Industrial Policy Action Plan.
The 2014 manifesto is also an extension of the 2009 manifesto, and will further implement the priorities outlined therein. In 2009, the ANC’s mandate was to (among other things) expand access to housing and basic services; and focus on rural development, land reform and food security. With regard to rural development and land reform, the focus was on improving the tenure security of the persons living in communal areas and settling the land claims. The settlement of the land claims aims to give back people and communities who had been dispossessed of land, when the 1913 Land Act was instituted to regulate black people from owning land other than in certain areas.
Subsequent to the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme policy framework that outlined the dire lack of adequate housing and basic services, the 2014 manifesto aims to continue on that path of ensuring that all South Africans have access to adequate human settlements and quality living conditions. A key promise is to provide 1 million houses over the next five years (2014- 2019) – echoing the 1994 election promise, but with a shift from the delivery of single units to a focus on housing in sustainable human settlements.
Moving forward, the ANC will continue focusing on building inclusive settlements that emphasise proximity to amenities and public transport, and overcome apartheid spatial development. The ANC sees in-situ upgrading as a viable option for dealing with informal settlements. They want to continue providing basic services and infrastructure within informal settlements.
Over the years, CAHF has undertaken research within property markets in former black townships in SA (RDP Assets Study), as well as within the housing gap market. Through the Affordable Land and Housing Data Centre (al+hdc) CAHF has focused on providing housing related data in order to understand how affordable (less than R500 000 -about US$70 000) property markets perform.
In his 2012 State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma revised the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP). The scheme promised to extend housing subsidy towards those that earn between R3500 –R15 000 monthly. The manifesto aims to further increase the supply of affordable housing through such allowances.
Furthermore, through the establishment of a mortgage insurance scheme, housing provision can be strengthened by partnering up with financial institutions co-operatives and social partners. Inner city housing (through the creation of mixed income housing), mining towns and those still developing are still seen as one of the viable solutions to sustainable housing supply. Creating human settlements means that residential projects have to address the apartheid spatial patterns, by fashioning integration within residential projects.
Overall, the manifesto speaks to the past, present and the future through showing what the party has done and how they see the future unfolding.