SA Affordable Housing received a request from a Cape Town resident around the different options regrading housing. We wrote to Councillor Malusi Booi, Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements who provided this response. Thanks to Cllr Booi and the City of Cape Town Media Department.


Dear resident,

Credit by: Aaron Burden | Unsplash

Credit by: Aaron Burden | Unsplash

South African citizens in Cape Town may be eligible for a number of different housing opportunities in the City. These are, BNG housing (formally known as RDP housing), Gap housing, Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP), Community Residential Units (CRU) and the Social Housing Programme. For more on the City’s five main housing opportunities, please visit:

 We also encourage residents to phone their nearest City housing office for advice and assistance about their specific matter. Contact details are listed below.

These options below may be suitable to you and your family:

Gap housing caters for those who have a household income of between R 3 501 – R 22 000. These are units available to buy and are built by our partner agencies.

 This income band represents those people who earn above R3 501. This means that they don’t qualify for state subsidy and earn below R 22 000, which means that they also don’t qualify for bank loans. If a resident earns above the threshold to qualify for a BNG home and does not have enough saving to pay for a deposit, the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) may assist with a down payment. For more on FLISP, please visit:

 Social housing may also be an option. These units are an option for those who have a household income of up to R 15 000. These affordable rental units are built by the City’s partner agencies.

 The purpose of social housing is to provide good quality rental housing in well located parts of the City at rentals affordable to people earning low to medium incomes. Social housing stock is owned and run by various registered Social Housing Institutions under the regulation of the Social Housing Act and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA). As such, the management of these residential complexes remains the responsibility of these institutions.

 To apply for social housing:

Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses (formerly RDP houses):

State-subsidised BNG houses, which are commonly referred to as low-cost houses, are specifically allocated to qualifying beneficiaries who are registered on the Register and whose household income does not exceed R3 500, among other national and provincial qualifying criteria.

Residents need to register on the City’s Housing Needs Register to be considered for housing opportunities that become available. The system is highly regulated to ensure that there is fairness and a systematic approach as the need for affordable housing in South Africa is pronounced.

Applicants need to meet the following criteria in order to register:

  • be a South African citizen or permanent resident of South Africa
  • be over 18-years-old
  • be married or be a co-habiting partner, or else have dependants (This does not apply to applicants over the age of 60 or who have disabilities.)
  • have a combined income of less than R3 500 per month to qualify for state subsidised housing
  • never have owned a property before
  • be competent to contract
  • never have benefitted from a government housing subsidy before

Applicants often ask how the selection for housing opportunities works, why some applicants are selected for specific projects and why they aren’t considered for projects outside of their area.

  • Applicants considered for BNG opportunities are selected in terms of their area of residence as provided to the City, and in line with the approved Allocation Request Form. This form specifies the percentage of applicants selected for consideration per source area and as well as the percentage of applicants on the Register who live outside of the specific source area.

 Beneficiaries of all City housing projects are allocated in accordance with the City’s Allocation Policy and the Housing Needs Register to ensure that housing opportunities are provided to qualifying applicants in a fair, transparent and equal manner, and to prevent queue-jumping.

 Applicants are selected for housing opportunities based on the date that they registered on the Register. The cut-off date reached in the source areas selected for a project depends on the project size and applicants are considered in date order.  It is not possible to advise how long potential beneficiaries need to wait to be assisted. It is therefore important to keep their contact details up to date on the City’s Housing Needs Register database so that they are contacted when an opportunity becomes available.

The City of Cape Town tries its best to provide housing opportunities in all areas of the metro and for those who have applied.

 As resources are not unlimited, we make sure to give all areas opportunities where possible. However, the City’s resources cannot stretch to providing housing opportunities to every person in every area of the metro.

 We encourage residents to visit the City’s website as a first resort if they have any questions about housing opportunities. Our website has useful information, and can often save people the trouble of phoning our offices or writing an email. Our web address is

 You may also contact us:

Human Settlements Directorate’s Call Centre: 021 444 0333 or send a WhatsApp to 063 299 9927