Housing: Ownership, Management and Maintenance

Housing Report

After Implementation

The following sections are efforts by non-specialists to try and begin interpreting and highlighting key themes. The team recognizes that Monwabisi Park stakeholders will need to further address these issues if an improved housing program is to be developed here. Since the following sections were compiled by non-specialists, pages should be read critically and there maybe errors in interpretation.

Ownership and Management

Before building new housing, it is critical to decide how it will be owned, managed and financed. It has been proposed that residents will not simply be given a house, but instead must contribute to housing construction through a self-help process.  It has been proposed that the ownership will be collective, rather than the traditional individual ownership model. These complex issues need significant ongoing discussion between various key players involved in the redevelopment efforts of Monwabisi Park — the City of Cape Town, the Shaster Foundation, and the residents of Monwabisi Park among others.

The city, through the VPUU which has just begin to head up city efforts in Monwabisi Park, has stated that it is only focused on providing for public space and infrastructure. The city has no plans, resources or policy for building houses in the settlement at this time.  Given the density of shacks in the area, however, construction of public facilities and infrastructure will require removing shacks, and the city will eventually need a policy relating to how affected residents will be accommodated, relocated or compensated.

During our project work, the team had conversations with Dinny Laurence, an Australian attorney who volunteered at the Indlovu Project. The team read drafts of various legal documents she had written and gained a preliminary understanding of the policy that is needed for an effective and sustainable housing system. The housing and related assets have to be managed in order to maintain the building and the areas around it. The policy will also determine how communal spaces can be used. This becomes a pressing consideration when new housing is built in cluster formations. With cluster formations, communal areas are shared between residents. The flow chart below shows a proposed order of management that could be implemented with regards to who will be involved in the organization of new housing.


The flow chart illustrates how new housing in Monwabisi Park could be managed. The residents would have direct relations with the Home Owner’s Association. The trustees and board members will be comprised of community members that the householders elect. The main objective of the association is to care, maintain and control the common areas. It also aims to promote the interests of the householders (Laurence, 2009). The Home Owner’s Association answers to the Street Committee specific to that section of the settlement. The Street Committee would determine housing decisions. For example, if a householder wanted to add on to their house, it would need to be approved by the Street Committee. Their role will be crucial in the success of the housing plan.  It is also important that community members are involved in keeping the area a safe and functional. Participation from the community in the self-help effort and the decision making process can be used as a tool to encourage empowerment (Laurence, 2009).


It is important to incorporate principles of sustainability into the management and maintenance of new housing. If the necessary means for maintenance are not easily accessible, housing upkeep will most likely not be completed by community members. Furthermore by purchasing eco-friendly cleaning supplies, one can create a greener, more sustainable community.

To ensure that the houses are maintained, certain rules will have to be created for homeowners. As stated in the proposed Householder’s Agreement, when receiving a new home, the home and its surroundings (both communal and private areas) will all need to be maintained. One option for maintenance is to have the householder deposit a lump sum to the Shaster Foundation when they move in. This is known as a security deposit. With a security deposit, damage or destruction that is occurs in the private areas of the home can be fixed with this money. The householder would have to keep the house in compliance with all safety, sanitation, zoning, building and fire codes established by the city as well as comply with anything in the agreement. Unfortunately, the large initial sum typically used with security deposits may not be practical or fair when dealing with low income families and still needs to be evaluated (Laurence, 2009).

Another option is to apply householder rent money towards the maintenance of the private and communal areas. Based on the draft Householder’s Agreement, the householder would be responsible for maintaining and repairing their own house. One item that must be agreed upon is that there be no alterations or additions made to the house without the approval of the appropriate party. Also, no new shacks or other structures can be built in the new housing area by the householder or any member of his or her family. Only ecoBEAM additions would be allowed and the construction would need to be overseen by a skilled labourer. The extension of the house must conform to the standards of the existing house and stay within the householder’s property. If a shack or other structure is built in breach of the agreement, the Street Committee may advise the city and the city may demolish it provided that it is not already occupied (Laurence, 2009).

To ensure that the public areas remain clean, it has been proposed that the householder’s waste should be separated into trash and recyclables and disposed of in the proper bins provided. Recycling and depositing waste correctly will give each household responsibility in keeping the public areas clean. As it states in the Householder’s Agreement, it is vital that the householder and the members of his family do not damage, destroy or deface the communal areas of Monwabisi Park.  By signing the proposed Householder’s Agreement the owner agrees to its rules (Laurence, 2009).

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Author: WPI CT09 Buildings