"Between a Rock and a Hard Place". The Contradictory Roles of Organizations involved in Housing Delivery in South African Informal Settlements
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While considerable strides have been made in South Africa in addressing the skewed patterns of access to adequate shelter among its citizens, significant challenges lie ahead. Since the first democratic elections of 1994 the country has seen a mass-delivery of subsidized formal housing. Nevertheless, the geographical separation and unequal access to basic shelter persists, with many South Africans living in informal settlements with limited service provision. Furthermore, housing delivery in these areas has been criticized for being overly focused on product-related outcomes, while neglecting important aspects related to the processes of delivery and the effects of these processes on the communities in which they are implemented. In South Africa, these processes are seemingly marked by persistent tensions related to how they intervene in, and interact with, existing practices in informal settlements. The focus of this study is to gain insight into processes of housing delivery in informal settlements, through an in-depth case study of a project in the settlement of Witsand. The study has drawn on contributions from organizational theory in order to shed light on the persistent tensions by focusing on the experiences of a community-based housing organization which has acted as a mediating body between the community and the private company which is the implementing agent of the project. The thesis has indicated that community-based housing organizations in South Africa find themselves in highly contradictory roles when they mediate between local and extra-local considerations pertaining to the delivery process. By using organizational theories to reflect on the case, it is suggested that the contradictory roles of community-based housing organizations shed light on the persistent tensions in housing delivery in South African informal settlements.