While government housing can raise living standards for the urban poor, it has environmental impacts and contributes to urban resource consumption. In Gauteng Province, South Africa, government housing aims to improve quality of life, reduce poverty and inequality, and transform unsustainable urban forms. This paper draws on survey and interview data to explore the social justice and environmental sustainability outcomes of Gauteng’s government housing programmes. The data reveal improved access to basic services and amenities. However, the developments tend to be poorly located with regard to economic opportunities, and residents are forced to explore other income generation opportunities. This paper highlights the complex interplay between justice and sustainability, where the outcomes are aligned in some instances and conflictual in others. It points to the need to move beyond linear, reductionist relationships between justice and sustainability to further the conceptual understanding of their interlinkages.