By Mpolai Nkopane, Acting CEO of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority

In South Africa’s drive towards inclusive economic growth and social development, we cannot ignore that where a person lives and the cost of their dwelling plays a vital role in restructuring our society.

Affordable homes in far-out locations are not conducive to this goal, as the necessity of travelling to work may cost as much as 50% of a minimum wage salary. At the same time, urban homes in proximity to work opportunities are either unaffordable or in terrible condition. Understanding this conundrum means understanding the value and importance of South Africa’s social housing initiatives.

Social housing is state-subsidized rental housing targeted at low- to medium-income groups earning between R1 500 and R15 000. This housing offers dignified and well-located housing opportunities for our people and plays a vital role in addressing structural, economic, social, and spatial dysfunctionalities. Considering the importance of these developments, one can understand why this initiative requires professional management and oversight to ensure projects are developed with quality, integrity, and transparency at the fore. In simple terms, that is the purpose of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA).

Mpolai Nkopane, Acting CEO of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority. Image by SHRA

Mpolai Nkopane, Acting CEO of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority. Image by SHRA

More specifically, the SHRA enables, regulates, and drives investment into the social housing sector, bringing together all the necessary role players who work towards this common goal. At the forefront of this mandate is a no-nonsense approach to corruption, with a firm handle on the regulatory and compliance aspects of social housing projects. This ensures that projects meet their goals, benefitting tenants while offering work opportunities for accredited social housing institutes (SHIs) and other delivery agents (ODAs). These are entities that are accredited and guided by the SHRA to carry out social housing projects.

We strive to work with these and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth and efficient process. In line with this, the SHRA recently released our new Compliance Accreditation & Regulations (CAR) Operational Framework which helps create a more supportive, enabling and inclusive accreditation process for SHIs and ODAs. The framework was put together after a fruitful stakeholder engagement session towards the end of 2020 and addresses key concerns raised while also strengthening our compliance and monitoring process. This ultimately ensures that social housing developments are rolled out transparently and to the true benefit of society. With our role as the Authority, there is no room for misconduct. Indeed, our firm approach to compliance means we can meet our mandate and help house South Africa’s people – affordably and sustainably.