The way forward for economic recovery driven by housing development

Posted On Thursday, 01 October 2020 22:11 Published by
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In a thought-provoking virtual seminar hosted today, over 200 industry stakeholders joined the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) Investment Seminar to discuss the urgent solutions needed to address South Africa’s high-density social housing challenges and revitalise the country’s economy.

Mbulelo_Tshangana

Keynote speaker at the seminar was the DG for the Department of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation, Mbulelo Tshangana, speaking on behalf of the Honourable Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Tshangana highlighted collaboration and investment as key in changing the trajectory of the future of South Africa, with a focus on promoting industry transformation. “It is important to acknowledge that in this business of social housing, there are many players to consider. For every unit built, we have to consider the wide supply chain. The big question is, how many of these players are transformed? We must look at the entire value chain to identify female-owned and transformed SMMEs for development. It is not just about social housing institutes – who are their suppliers? Real transformation is about making sure all these areas are attended to.”

Referring to economic transformation, Tshangana showed enthusiasm for working with SHRA to “do things differently” to achieve a common objective. “The end goal is not to have social housing for everyone – the end goal is to achieve a transformed economy where social housing is not needed.” He went further to acknowledge the role of municipalities and steering committees in achieving this goal, but stressed that first “we must get our house in order” to come up with a structured approach for a way forward. He recommended greater collaboration with the Housing Development Agency to ensure that well-located land can be made available for social housing initiatives close to economic hubs.

“In closing, I must commend SHRA on this effort. This seminar is the beginning of many initiatives to come, and I know that the minister is supportive of this,” Tshangana concluded.

Promoting the social housing mandate

The seminar presented partnership opportunities to potential investors, developers and contractors who have the required capacity, as well as funding entities and government departments dealing with infrastructure development and funding. With the SHRA aiming to achieve 30 0000 housing units by the end of government's Medium Term Strategic Framework, this seminar was well-placed to stimulate greater action into this pressing problem.

Welcoming attendees to the event, programme director Vuyiswa Ramakgopa highlighted the critical role that partnerships can play in housing South Africa’s low- to middle-income citizens. “State-subsidised rental housing is in high demand, with a current backlog of 320 000 units. We are here today to see how we can collaborate to overcome current challenges in delivery, and promote the social housing mandate. Today we will unveil our pipeline of accredited projects and map out how you can contribute to economic growth.”

Following Ramakgopa’s insightful introductions, SHRA CEA Rory Gallocher presented a detailed account of the current economy and the social housing landscape, it’s challenges, bottlenecks, and opportunities. “South Africa is undertaking an economic recovery plan, and we need to understand where we fit within that plan.

We are not pursuing a healthy economy so that we can house our people. Rather, we pursue housing development and investment into infrastructure so that we can have a healthy economy. If we do our job well, we will reach a point where government doesn’t need to be the key investor for housing. The aim is to enable and equip families to a point where they can house themselves.” Gallocher added that what is currently being done by SHRA and its partners is not wrong, it is just not enough. “We need to press the repeat button on what we are doing, and become proactive rather than responsive to the increasing housing demand.”

The seminar showcased accredited projects in the SHRA pipeline to present opportunities for investors. The event was successful in mapping out the role of social housing in the economic recovery plan of the country through infrastructure investment. The seminar also presented a platform for consultation on the SHRA’s strategic planning work and displayed the authority’s combative posture in the current and post Covid-19 environment. 

Last modified on Thursday, 01 October 2020 22:31

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