By Rory Macnamara

The Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF) partnered with the Gauteng department of Human Settlements together with the Property Developer, Rehoboth Properties to build a 30-apartment complex in Primrose, Germiston, Ekurhuleni.

Photo by © SA Affordable Housing | Rory Macnamara

Photo by © SA Affordable Housing | Rory Macnamara

The complex, in the suburb of Primrose, close to schools and shopping has 15 one bedroomed units and 15 two bedroomed units, with access off Aloysia Road along a pan handle for underground parking and staircase access to the apartments. A three-storey building is yet another GPF partnership in their quest to provide housing.

Extracts from the speech made by the Chairperson of the GPF, Ms Mahlengi Bhengu:

The Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF) is an implementing agency of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements that is focused on contributing towards the spatial transformation in our province through the provision of affordable housing in a manner that would be true to the Constitution of the Republic of our beloved country.

Staircase access to all floors. Photo by © SA Affordable Housing | Rory Macnamara

Staircase access to all floors. Photo by © SA Affordable Housing | Rory Macnamara

It is the month of March, the month in which we celebrate the universal Human Rights we enjoy today, I would be remiss in not reminding all of us that an incalculable price of human sacrifice was paid by previous generations for us to enjoy such a privilege.

The overarching of GPF mandate is aimed at radically transforming our urban landscape and the built environment by realising the right of access to shelter that is both affordable and restorative of the dignity of our people. In this way, our contribution to urban improvement integrates both the poor and the ‘gap group’ families into viable communities with access to social and economic services beyond mere survival on a firm track towards the actualisation of their hopes and dreams.

A second element that the GPF is extremely intentional about is BBBEE in our efforts to transform both property ownership and the development market.

The Property Sector Transformation Charter has highlighted the limited participation of black people, especially women and the youth, in the broader property sector.

One of our core mandates is to raise and structure the capital required for the implementation of mega projects in Gauteng. We focus on turnkey developments by providing strategic financial investment for property assets and developments. We strive to prioritise the economic inclusion of HDIs in our approach. The GPF is committed to supporting the growth of emerging black property developers and to support their participation in the affordable housing market.

As the GPF we are therefore very proud today to be a turnkey partner in this Rehoboth Hills Project with Bixowise. This project demonstrates the affirmative value of public-private partnerships in the delivery of housing. It is an example of what can be achieved when the different spheres of government, as well as implementation agencies such as the GPF, work together with the private sector and civil society to provide affordable housing solutions to our communities.

We share the vision of the MEC, Mr Lebogang Maile, and the Gauteng provincial government that it is possible to transform the province spatially through the delivery of sustainable and integrated human settlements.

Over the past five years the City of Ekurhuleni has cemented its reputation as a metro government with an enviable track record of delivery on mega-housing projects. In his State of the City address, last week, Executive Mayor Masina reported on the successful delivery of housing units and serviced stands and referred to several other mega-projects that are currently underway.

I have no doubt that the Rehoboth Hills project which we are launching today is contributing towards the broader objectives to deliver a mix of housing opportunities that will meet the needs of all sectors of society.

This is but one of the many projects in the GPF pipeline in the city of Ekurhuleni and beyond.

Through the provision of dignified shelter that is located close to work and business opportunities, transport nodes and social amenities we can create viable and sustainable communities and improve the quality of life of the people of this beloved province, Gauteng.

In addressing you as our founder, MEC, I place on record the GPF Board of Trustees, Management and Staff’s commitment to redoubling our efforts in becoming the catalyst of choice for similar developments across the Gauteng province. This is something we can do and are willing to do and a cursory look at our 2021-2025 strategy will show that we are on a firm track.

In conclusion I wish to congratulate all the partners, including Dr Dumani Kula and his team, on the success of this Rehoboth Hills project, which is a sterling example of what is possible.  This team is a testament to black excellence, to leadership and nation building through transformation. Well done Dr Kula…. Onwards and upwards, we have great hopes of your expansion in this sector.

Official ribbon cutting ceremony by Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile and watched by Ms Mahlengi Bhengu, Dr and Mrs Kula. Photo by © SA Affordable Housing | Rory Macnamara

Official ribbon cutting ceremony by Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile and watched by Ms Mahlengi Bhengu, Dr and Mrs Kula. Photo by © SA Affordable Housing | Rory Macnamara

I leave you quoting the wise words of the father of nation, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings…” 

All of us gathered here today have been gifted the opportunity to contribute to the eradication of poverty and homelessness and the restoration of dignity in our chosen profession.  I urge you to exploit this privilege fully. 

In uTata’s words: “Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?”  May we all go forth in promoting human rights especially the right to shelter with renewed vigour.

Speech by Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile:

A report by the South African Human Rights Commission on housing challenges in Gauteng, makes the following pertinent observation: “Since the advent of democracy, the South African government has delivered more than 4.5 million housing opportunities. Although this is to be lauded, the reality remains that South Africa’s housing crisis persists. This housing crisis, although national, is more pronounced in certain provinces and is increasingly becoming a defining characteristic of South Africa’s urban centres. With trends all pointing to a further increase in the rate of urbanisation, attempts to address the housing crisis in metros across the country require closer scrutiny.” 

In agreeing fully with the sentiments of the report as expressed above, we must also add that it will require not only greater scrutiny, but also innovation and an entrepreneurial approach from government, in partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders to address housing challenges within the province and come up with creative, sustainable solutions.

The launch of these two projects, Rehoboth Hills, and Bravo Enterprises, showcases the innovative and entrepreneurial work done by the Gauteng provincial government, through its entity, the Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF):

  • in facilitating spatial transformation for the benefit of historically disadvantaged individuals and families, by providing affordable housing in areas where they are more integrated withing existing communities.
  • in contributing towards acceleration of spatial transformation and addressing spatial inequality within our city region and improving the quality of life of historically disadvantaged individuals and families through the provision of dignified shelter that is close to transport, work, and other amenities.
  • in empowering emerging black property developers to participate in the affordable residential property market and
  • contributing to the development of the Corridors of Gauteng City Region (GCR), the Eastern Development Corridor specifically in this case, in line with the GCR economic development plans five development corridors.

These projects are being launched under the ambit of the GPFs Entrepreneur Empowerment Property Fund (EEPF), an incubator programme that was established in 2010 to encourage emerging black property developers to participate in the affordable housing residential property market, a market which remains untransformed and there is a need to ensure participation by previously disadvantaged developers.

Applications are always open to any historically disadvantaged Individuals’ (HDI) entities who want to participate in this lucrative but untransformed segment of the property market, which itself requires greater efforts at transforming. Since inception of this incubator programme, 36 projects have been completed, yielding 1736 liveable units. We want to scale this up for greater impact as part of socio-economic transformation. -12357

Black ownership within the R6 trillion property sector sits at less than 7% and black developers continue to be constrained by the lack of access to finance and the lack of access to land. As the Property Sector Transformation Charter itself clearly states, “Commercially, direct property ownership is dominated by institutional investors, large private owners, collective investment schemes, property loan stocks and listed property entities, with government being the largest commercial player. There is limited participation of black people, particularly women, in ownership and control of these entities. The commercially driven activities surrounding property, including development, management and sales, rests largely in white-owned hands.”

We want to facilitate the entry and development of black developers within the affordable housing residential sector specifically. We want to assist in creating an enabling environment, support mechanisms, funding options and the regulatory framework for smaller black developers to enter the space and not just compete, but be able to become significant, even industry-leading players.

The granting of approvals and development rights by municipalities must be slanted towards the empowerment of emerging black developers. We must look at land release opportunities for emerging black developers or even state-owned land that could be released or leased to emerging black developers for development.

We see a unique opportunity for the private sector to partner with us through the GPF in the following manner, amongst other things:

  • Fundraising and investment facilitation: Use of public sector funding to leverage additional funding and facilitate capital flows into integrated, sustainable human settlements, through the formation of strategic partnerships with local and international donors, development finance institutions and private sector partners.
  • Project Financing: To facilitate an equitable risk sharing and project the spatial transformation of the GCR to develop integrated, sustainable human settlements is through leveraging financing model.

We are doing all of this in pursuit of the spatial transformation of GCR by developing integrated, sustainable human settlements so that we can address all the requirements that the -International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights identified as critical in providing adequate housing: legal security of tenure; availability of services, materials, facilities, and infrastructure; affordability, habitability, accessibility, location, and cultural adequacy.