Affordable housing on the rise in Joburg
By Ishani Chetty
A reported 37 abandoned factories in Johannesburg will be handed over from the City of Johannesburg to the private sector to be built into low-cost affordable housing. City of Johannesburg, Executive Mayor, Herman Mashaba confirms that these derelict buildings will be used for residential housing.
“Following on this success in the Inner City, the multi-party government has now identified 37 abandoned factories across the City, specifically those located in areas in desperate need of housing opportunities. Arising from their large stand sizes, the yield of these properties will offer nearly 3000 housing opportunities in multi-story buildings,” said Mashaba
The abandoned factories which have been identified are located in various areas, including; Kew, Devland, Rabie Ridge, Booysens, Nancefield and Doornfontein. The City has also identified 16 factories near Alexandra which could relieve the high density of residents currently residing in the area.
Mashaba explains that the plans are yet to be approved, but is hopeful that Council will support the project due to the dire need for housing.
“The City will now begin a process of preparing a proposal to Council in August 2019, which will allow the City to begin the legal proceedings of expropriating these properties as abandoned buildings. These factories will be expropriated within the existing legal framework of the Constitution. For this we will utilise the fact that they are abandoned, owners are untraceable and monies owing on these properties exceed their value,” he said.
The role of the private sector
Once approval has been granted, the City will place the properties on the private sector. The company in the private sector will be awarded the properties if they can achieve the largest number of residential units, the lowest rentals and generate the highest job creation and investment from the project.
Mashaba explains why the City of Johannesburg is looking towards new forms of affordable housing.
“The City of Johannesburg, previously, has sought to tackle the housing backlog with reliance upon RDP housing each year which could never begin to reduce the challenge. This is why the multi-party government has adopted an approach which is producing sizeable results in site and service projects, informal settlement upgrades, social housing and partnering with the private sector.”
The private sector can play an important role in generating low-cost affordable housing creating a symbiotic relationship benefiting both corporations and residents.
Mashaba says that the City is dedicated to providing housing for all residents. “Our residents cannot wait for dreams of new cities to materialise in the distant future, if at all. Our multi-party government will focus on fixing our existing City, turning derelict and decaying areas into high rise buildings that modernise our City, achieve investment, create jobs and provide accommodation to those who need it most,” he said.