“Please show us the money. Don’t show us a bucket of paint and a brush. We need to know if you have got the money to develop these buildings. Please demonstrate how many job opportunities will be generated during the construction and management phases.”
That is how the mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, welcomed more than 200 key property players in the new Council Chamber on Tuesday (14 August).
Mashaba told the property investors and financiers that the city would release 71 inner city properties to the private sector to be consolidated into business spaces, student accommodation, and low-cost housing units. This is in addition to 13 buildings that had already been offered to the private sector earlier.
“You don’t have to invest a cent upfront for the buildings, so already you’re ahead of the guys in Sandton, as long as you can meet our requirements,” said Mashaba, who also promised that the city would release 50 to 100 buildings annually for development for mixed use, low-income commercial and residential properties in the inner city.
He added that the city has identified about 500 buildings that are either hijacked or abandoned and it is in these properties that people will be housed at affordable monthly rates of between R800 and R1,000.
“We want to bring work closer to home. People shouldn’t have to travel 80kms to get to work, or see their children once a month due to lack of low cost accommodation and affordability, they should have a choice,” said the mayor.
The requirements that investors, who will know by 30 November 2018 if they have been granted 50-year leases, include that they have a clean credit record with the municipality in their personal and corporate capacities, must train young residents of Joburg as artisan, and offer affordable family and student accommodation.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Leah Knott said investors would also receive incentives in order to make the partnership between the City of Joburg and the private sector work.
These include the establishment of a fast-tracking committee for town-planning issues, Urban Development Zone incentives, rates and taxes holiday during construction phase and staggered discounted rental and rates incentive for social landlords and the inclusionary housing incentive.