Home > South Africa > South Africa – Informal dwellings are being built as backyard properties and not in informal settlements

South Africa – Informal dwellings are being built as backyard properties and not in informal settlements

More and more informal dwellings are being built as backyard properties and not in informal settlements, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.

According to a SAIRR report, between 1996 and 2007, the total number of households residing in informal dwellings grew by 24,2 percent from 1,45 million to 1,80 million.

During that period, the number of households living in backyard informal dwellings rose by 46 percent from 403 000 to 590 000.

The ratio of informal dwellings built on bare land (which might be privately owned or belong to the state) to those built in backyards declined from 1:2,7 in 1996 to 1:2 in 2007.

The institute identified a few reasons for the changing pattern in the erection of informal dwellings.

The first explanation had to do with the safety concerns of residents of these dwellings.

“Informal settlements built in backyard properties are less vulnerable to vandals and shack fires that are so prevalent in informal settlements,” said SAIRR researcher Kerwin Lebone.

The number of households living in free-standing informal dwellings grew by 16 percent in comparison, from just over one million to 1,2 million.

At the same time, backyard informal structures as a proportion of total informal dwellings grew by 18 percent while those built in informal settlements declined by seven percent.

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