Assessing beneficiary perceptions of the efficacy of RDP housing: A case study of housing projects in Nollothville, Northern Cape
Dunn, Charnelle Candice
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The Reconstruction Development Programme (RDP) housing program was instituted to provide South Africans with quality housing that meet their basic needs. For people, fortunate enough to receive RDP houses, numerous complaints were raised. With government's focus on quantitative housing delivery, there have been qualitative shortcomings and the perceptions are that the constructed houses are of very low quality and do not meet the needs of the occupants. Consequently, the quality of housing constitutes the physical condition of housing as well the perceptions of occupants. However, since perceptions of housing quality are context specific and differs from one person to the other and across cities/countries, what therefore constitutes as housing quality is highly subjective. Also, despite the increased discussion on the quality of housing and people's perception of it, most empirical research on housing has been undertaken in the larger metro areas while there is not much focus on housing in small towns. The purpose of this the study was to explore the perceptions of RDP beneficiaries on the housing quality in the small community of Nollothville, Northern Cape. Since housing is important as it satisfies many different human needs, a case study approach was adopted and Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs was used as a theoretical framework to guide this study. Research conducted in Nollothville reveals that the RDP houses especially the first phase of the RDP houses are of sub-standard quality. Both primary and secondary resources were used to obtain data. The study used a semi-structured interview guide as a data collection tool while the questionnaire was used to solicit the magnitude of RDP beneficiaries' perceptions of the RDP houses and, lastly, observations were conducted to validate these findings. Findings revealed that although the RDP houses were well received by the recipients, many complained about the substandard quality of these houses and that the houses do meet the criteria for quality housing. The following perceptions raised by most of the study participants regarding the quality of the houses included unstable foundation, poor quality roofing; poor quality doors or no doors inside the house; cracking floors; no bath or shower, weak and poor-quality toilets. Also, since many of the houses were in such bad conditions there was a struggle to cope with the financial upkeep of the houses. Based on previous research conducted in other provinces, the study concludes the RDP houses are the of the same sub-standard quality as the houses found in the other provinces.