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Backyard Rental in Cape Town

Setting the stage for community collective advocacy

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Backyard Matters, Development Action Group

01 August 2023


uKESA Librarian 2


South Africa

This report titled Backyard Rental in Cape Town (PDF, 418 KB) addresses the issues surrounding traditional backyarding, which is a housing option for low-income households and marginalised communities, including the under-employed, female-headed households, and those in the informal sector. The research, conducted through the Backyard Matters Project and other sources, highlights that many backyard tenants in Cape Town live in sub-standard conditions with limited avenues for assistance. Despite this, as of 2023, no government sphere has initiated specific measures to address these poor conditions and uphold the rights of backyard dwellers on private property.

The report was commissioned by Development Action Group (DAG) with the following objectives:

  • Identify and understand the important and pressing challenges faced by the backyard sector and the communities residing in these backyards.
  • Identify the role that different government spheres should play in supporting the backyard sector, acknowledging the absence of specific initiatives up to 2023.
  • Develop an advocacy agenda for the backyard sector in collaboration with backyard communities. This involves creating a plan to address the identified challenges and improve living conditions.
  • Identify actions that need to be taken to empower the backyard community to speak as a collective and collaborate with the government to address the identified issues. This could involve building a platform for communication and negotiation.

In essence, the report aims to shed light on the challenges faced by backyard communities, propose roles for the government in addressing these issues, outline an advocacy agenda created in partnership with the communities, and provide actionable steps to facilitate collaboration between the backyard community and the government.


In addition to the report, you can access the research summary here (PDF, 1.52 MB).


Abstract based directly on source.


Website References

Adequacy of shelter


Affordable housing

Backyard dwellings

Built environment

Cape Town




Government programmes

Household costs


Human settlements

Informal settlements


Poverty & inequality

Rental housing


South Africa

Stable communities

Stakeholder engagement

Standard of living




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