Positive Impact of the South Africa Homeless People Federation
Related Videos
Most Recent
Most Viewed


The positive impact of the South Africa Homeless People Federation has changed people's view on housing in the rural area of South Africa.


Positive Impact of the South Africa Homeless People Federation Host: The work of the Federation has inspired similar saving schemes in South Africa and has also influenced government policy. Sankie Mthembi-Makanyele: You look at the participation level. Some of the people’s housing process, it’s the women. You look at the majority of members of the saving schemes that have been talking about, they are women. Joel Bolnick: The government is moving clearly towards placing savings at the center of its subsidy system and that can be trans directed to the federation. The federation has organized and mobilized moving from this very inception around savings and has used their savings as a leverage for housing. Charlotte Lamohr: I think the federation has changed everyone’s view towards housing and I'm very pleased about that. The government understand that they had been housing themselves for years and all the required where the mechanisms to enable them to do that. And, I think this is -- it’s brilliant! Host: Selma is visiting her old shack to fetch her cat. Her adult children and their families have moved in. Selma: I have stayed in this house for 15 years from 1985. As you see, it’s not a proper scene which is well done. All day time I will stay squashed. I like it because I spend most of my life in it so that’s why I left it standing. I didn’t want to demolish it. Then, it’s the future for my child. I think this is going to be all right like this is -- very used to me. Host: Boniswa has only recently joined the federation and is now waiting for her turn to build. Boniswa Kuse: It’s nice to join the federation because you save, you do things, we solve things with the people. It’s very nice! I am very happy for that! Host: In other parts of Khayalitsha, the people’s housing process is also a saving scheme for the homeless endorsed by the government and too, allows people to have a say in building that kind of housing they really want. Ma May is one of the founding members. Jane Ma May: I came from the Eastern Cape at 1974 because I come in look for work -- for job. The People's Housing Process works like this, we say the people will build their, their own houses themselves. Secondly, the people will choose what size of a house does she wants or he wants to build. And thirdly, people must know you can also stand up and use your head and your brains and your mind to get something -- not to sit and say, "I want that!" I've learned a lot in this Housing Process. I am filling the forms in for the people who is coming in to make application for the subsidy. When there is work outside for the block-yard I am also there helping the people there, making blocks. If one is missing -- no problem, I am there. Host: Ma May's house is her pride and joy. Jane Ma May: When I move here they make the finishing day on top there -- it was on Friday. I come and sleep here on Friday, the same day! I say, 'I-I cannot wait!' And I called the guy there, I say, 'Please go and put my doors in. I don't mind the windows, I haven't got glasses but I will stay in my house, that same Friday when they finish I move in. I sleep here, on this mat here on the floor. I was so happy! So happy! I couldn't believe. Early in the morning, I wake up -- half past four I open the door and I stand there by the street and look outside, “Is this really my house?” I couldn't believe it -- really. I am very happy! Sankie Mthembi-Makanyele: If you've involved people initially from the planning process to the completion of their home, they get attached to that structure because they've added what we call "Sweat Equity". They've made sure that they've participated in acquiring their own home. Joel Bolnick: Well, the government policy has shifted more and more towards pushing developers to increase the size and the quality of the houses that they deliver. And the Federation has always been like a ghost in the machinery here. They haven't demanded that the government must increase the quality or the size of houses. They've just gone out and done it. Jane Ma May: It's for my kids to stay here when -- while -- when I'm dead. Then they can show and say, "This house -- my mother built this house." Host: Before dawn each day Boniswa leaves for her job as a domestic worker in the smart suburbs of Cape Town. It is a long journey and she earns very little -- but having a job enables her to save. Like more than four million other South Africans, she is still waiting for her house.