You can’t just scale up a paper aircraft into a Boeing 707. The difference in size and complexity requires completely different systems. When the government scaled up services for the majority after 1994, however, it changed remarkably little in its core systems. Officials stretched capacity and budgets in a vain effort to provide the entire population with services previously enjoyed by a privileged 10%. The results have not been kind. Regarding housing, in 2016 3.9-million households, almost a quarter of the total, told the Community Survey that they had received a housing subsidy. From 2007, the government spent more than R300bn (in constant 2016 terms) on housing, or nearly 2.4% of the budget. From 1996 to 2016 the share of households living in formal housing climbed from 65% to 80%, while the share in traditional or informal dwellings dropped from 35% to 20%. Yet the government still provides most housing on the apartheid model — far from economic centres and jobs, with tiny ho...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.