Teaching Case – Backyard rentals, municipal connections, and the right to housing, South Africa

This teaching case introduces a scenario involving backyard dwellers in a city in South Africa and raises the question of whether the municipality should provide connection points for municipal services to backyard dwellers. It presents a dilemma between the right to housing on the one hand, and municipal concerns around planning, legal matters, safety, funding for infrastructure investments, on the other. More specifically, it presents a dilemma between two imperatives, namely (1) realising the right of access to housing for the poor, and (2) the need to integrate service delivery in a sustainable manner into municipal systems. Moreover, the teaching case encourages municipal practitioners to incorporate a rights-based perspective into town planning and municipal service delivery decisions.