With Youth Month commemorations ending, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) held a seminar, on 29 June, aimed at raising awareness for opportunities for young people in the social housing value chain.

Mandla Mochoko, SHRA Marketing and Communications Officer, chaired the event and said, “We are here today to stimulate interest in the built environment sector, where young people can partner with the SHRA to develop government-subsidised affordable social housing rental units.”

With South Africa’s startling youth unemployment rate, it is vital that all sectors of society and industry aid in easing barriers to entry for young people. The virtual seminar was well attended by over 130 individuals, and demonstrated how the social housing development process works, as well as an explanation of the wider value chain. The presenters explained how the SHRA can guide companies to become successful contributors to social housing, through various avenues including:

  • Becoming an accredited social housing institution (SHI), which must be a non-profit organisation. Through this avenue, the Authority can subsidise up to 70% of the total project costs. SHIs are required to meet a set of qualifying criteria designed to ensure quality delivery standards to achieve accreditation status.
  • Becoming another delivery agent (ODA), which can be a private company although 20% equity is expected from them. An ODA may construct, own, maintain and rent out housing to qualifying tenants.
  • Becoming a service provider to the SHRA, which procures various services including recruitment agencies, legal services. auditors, IT equipment, marketing, and other services in support of SHRA’s core programme.

The professional guidance of the Authority is available to young people who are looking to explore these avenues. “The SHRA team remains available to you outside of this seminar to address your queries, as it is vital that you receive help early on, to make the most of the opportunities available,’ said Lesego Diale, Marketing and Communications Manager for SHRA. She highlighted the Authority’s interest in procuring services from youth-owned companies as vital for stimulating transformation across the value chain.

Diale further highlighted the distinction between free government housing and subsidised social housing. “We aim to offer quality, comfortable and well-located urban housing options to low- and middle-income households. These developments go a long way in overcoming the spatial inequalities of the apartheid era, where housing options were placed far from economic opportunities. It is important that our developments are appealing to tenants, and are in areas where they can work, live, and learn in proximity.”

Dudu Phoswa, Acting Sector Development and Transformation (SD&T) Executive provided insights into the SHRA’s mandate, and the SD&T Training programme. “We contribute to a transformed social housing sector and aim to establish functioning and well-managed delivery agents which are sure to meet a landlord’s responsibilities to its tenants.” The SD&T Training programme offers capacity-building grants and management assistance, which helps up-and-coming entities grow into sustainable businesses.

Demonstrating SHRA’s commitment to youth-owned companies, the final presenter of the seminar was Bob Mukahanana, CEO of Let us Care South Africa – a youth-owned NPC which has successfully entered the social housing sector. “The SHRA’s capacity building grant went a long way in assisting us as a young SHI, and we have made great progress. We recently won a project in Springs with 246 units!”

The seminar closed with a detailed Q&A session, which demonstrated the keen interest and excitement felt by the young South Africans in attendance. The seminar successfully equipped interested youth with the information they need to become successful players in the social housing supply chain. Parties interested in attending the next SHRA information session and training can register online here.