Redressing the inherited inequalities of apartheid has established a complex and challenging context for meeting basic needs in contemporary South Africa. Given the physical and political segregation of apartheid, meeting the demand for housing has been a central development challenge since 1994. But even as local government has been drawn into more responsibility in this area, it must do so while managing complex relationships with private-sector actors seeking access to basic service delivery previously associated with the public sector. The result is that not only has the structure of local government been dramatically reformed since 1994, it has also acquired a new responsibility to enable markets to work in the name of poverty alleviation.
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