GHI Joined forces with What3Words and Digitata Ltd to bring addresses to informal settlements and rural areas in South Africa. Addresses are critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Addresses are the only way we can lift people out of poverty, provide proper healthcare services, economic opportunities and uplift especially women.


As a result of apartheid, for many in South Africa, having an address has a social status, providing a sense of identity and of being recognized as a proper citizen.  

An address is used to facilitate the delivery of one or more services by one or more providers. Service delivery includes anything from utility services such as water, sewerage, telecommunications and electricity supply; refuse collection; billing; postal and courier delivery; to emergency response; goods delivery; serving summonses; household surveys; and visiting.

Addresses are also critical for services that are not necessarily performed at the address, such as opening bank accounts or buying on credit [as is required by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA); obtaining an identity document or passport (as required by the Identification Act); voting (the Electoral Act requires one to have an identity document to be registered as a voter); obtaining employment (as illustrated by the tragic example of Kabelo Thibedi, who held hostage an employee of the Department of Home Affairs in Johannesburg on 30 November 2005, because he had been waiting for two years for his identity document, without which he could not get employment); and for rates and taxes.

The challenge to provide verifiable home addresses facing South Africans was recently brought to the fore during the Tlokwe by-election crisis and the subsequent Constitutional Court ruling giving the IEC 18 months to ensure all voters have a verifiable address.

Other challenges faced by the population as a whole include among others:

• SASSA clients not being able to obtain grants or pensions

• SAPS not being able to reach crime scenes

• EMS and Rescue services not being able to reach individuals in case of emergencies or accident scene

• Missed deliveries causing huge financial losses to business

Some samples providing evidence as to the challenges facing society, government and business when it comes to addresses in South Africa can be found in the examples below:


As an organisation focusing on Health and Human Rights, Gateway has been occupying itself with finding a suitable solution to providing home addresses to especially those living in informal settlements and rural areas where “location” provides the biggest challenge in providing health services and products. In these areas demand is high, but delivery poor due to inability to reach the location of affected people due to unavailability of home addresses.

Having a home address will help in reaching targets for SDGs

Our priority projects focus on:

SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG2: Zero Hunger

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Our Secondary focus is on:

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 13: Climate Action

SDG: 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions