South Africa

Special Rapporteur Miloon Kothari conducted a mission in South Africa April 12 to 24, 2007, after invitation by the government. In his report, he acknowledged several recent legal achievements by the government, such as constitutional protections for economic, social and cultural rights, including housing.

The Rapporteur stated that South Africa implemented several progressive political and legal measures pertaining to the right to adequate housing, but this basic human right is still not a reality for a significant number of South Africans.

He observed that the realization of the right to adequate housing is hindered by the fragmented perspective of the government regarding the implementation of housing policies, as well as by the real estate speculation promoted by market forces.

The Rapporteur also noted problems concerning the lack of support for recent settlements created by land redistribution programs.

Progress was observed in the areas of water and electricity, but the water policy faced implementation difficulties and unaffordable prices led to frequent interruptions in the supply for low-income populations. Interruption to the water supply is an especially serious problem for people living with cholera, HIV, or other illnesses.

The Rapporteur particularly recommended the re-structuring of lease policy, security of tenure and the creation of a specific national policy for housing.

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