Housing shortages in South Africa: a discussion of the after-effects of community participation in housing provision in Diepkloof

by MAFUKIDZE, J & HOOSEN, F., 2009
Urban Forum (2009) 20:379

Community participation is a complex process and its propensity to having unintended negative effects plays a vital role in its outcome. This paper attempts to reconstruct and critique the outcomes of a participatory process that seeks to address housing shortages by using the narratives of local residents in Diepkloof. Heterogeneity of identities tied to “spatiality of power relations” and history have influenced the trajectory of community participation, which were underestimated by drivers of the process. This paper shows that community participation has far-reaching negative effects if not undertaken in the correct manner and, if discontinued, results in sensitive issues concerning housing to be unresolved. It concludes that community participation provides unintended outcomes like social tension, disillusionment, conflict and societal fragmentation. Drivers of a participation process therefore need to acquire adequate socio-cultural and historical knowledge of a community so as to limit unintended negative outcomes.