- ‘An exploration of the informal backyard rental sector in South Africa’s Western Cape Province’   click here to open paper content301 kb
by    Lategan, Louis & Cilliers, Juaneč | 21441480@nwu.ac.za   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper examines the backyard sector in South Africa’s Western Cape
Province and examines why the sector remains largely unregulated and
unaddressed whilst being recognised as a major component of SA’s stock.
South African low-cost housing development is extremely complex. The post-
Apartheid government struggles with a fragmented and segregated urban
inheritance and also with a housing demand which far exceeds delivery
capacity. In response to inadequate delivery South Africa’s otherwise
destitute have turned to informal backyard renting as a last resort.
Backyard structures can house a multitude of tenants in single one or two
roomed wood or corrugated iron structures, which are traditionally
constructed by tenants in the backyards of homes provided by government
under such housing programmes as the RDP (Reconstruction and Development

This paper examined the state of the backyard sector in the Western Cape
Province (South Africa) and investigated if and how the province attempts
to address the plight of backyarders who live in dire conditions. It was
found that the prevalence of backyard accommodation dramatically increases
densities and reduces urban sprawl, but simultaneously increases pressure
on infrastructure and public facilities. Backyarders are also dependant on
their landlords for access to basic services and the informal nature of
lease agreements leave them vulnerable to eviction at any time.

The main research question to answer was: ‘What is the scope of the
backyard sector in the Western Cape and what is being done to address the
complexities of the sector in order to improve living conditions?’ This
paper found that the Western Cape Province tolerates the backyard sector as
a ‘necessary evil’, but also that, except in the City of Cape Town, very
little has been done to address the issue. Although the sector has been on
the radar for some time as an integral component of the country’s housing
stock, a provincial and national policy which attempts to regulate the
sector remains absent.

The research for this paper included the results of surveys conducted in
low-income areas in the province, interviews with municipal and provincial
officials and private stakeholders, national and provincial policy reviews
and an evaluation of existing literature sources from a variety of

The conclusions drawn in this paper and the subsequent recommendations
made, may inform the formulation of provincial and national policies on the
backyard sector, which may improve the lives of millions of South Africa’s
previously disadvantaged by enhancing a sustainable planning approach.
click here to open paper content  Click to open the full paper as pdf document
click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper  Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper