On 8 August 2017, the international news website, Al Jazeera, published an opinion piece written by the Local Government Action (LGA)'s national coordinator, Koketso Moeti. The op-ed argues that tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire in London and the Cape York fire in Johannesburg can be avoided if cities rethink their approach to urban housing. 

Moeti quotes research published by SERI in 2013 to show that cities like Johannesburg are failing to provide affordable housing solutions to low-income residents. She writes:

"...Across the world's cities, many residents live in substandard conditions, mostly out of desperation. For too long local governments across many cities have allowed only market forces to dictate the kind of development that is taking place. All too often that is at the expense of low-income residents who are either pushed out of the city or forced to live in unsafe conditions. City authorities are failing to prioritise safe, affordable accommodation.

"Research (pdf) into the supply of and demand for low-income accommodation in Johannesburg's inner city found that both availability and affordability were major problems for almost half of these residents, who earn less than $245 [R3 200] per month. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa found a household would have to earn about $440 [R7 500] per month to afford the cheapest formal rental available from the private sector."

  • Read the full op-ed here.
  • Read SERI's research report on the lack of affordable housing in inner-city Johannesburg here.
  • Read more about SERI's work on 'Securing a Home' here.