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Support for Mbeki over golf estates

Posted On Tuesday, 16 August 2005 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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President Thabo Mbeki’s scathing remarks about the adverse effect of golf estates and boomed areas on residential integration have found surprise backers in the property development sector.

Thabo MbekiNeil Gopal, incoming CEO of commercial property association Sapoa, which includes most major developers in SA among its members, agreed with Mbeki’s concerns.

“I think there has been a flight of the prorich to golfing estates. I don’t believe these golfing estates are sustainable,” said Gopal.

Gopal said he was meeting Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu today to discuss finding joint solutions to these problems.

Mbeki has slammed housing development strategies that favour the rich, such as gated communities and golf estates, saying they perpetuate apartheid settlement patterns.

Speaking on Friday at the mixed-income Brickfields residential project in Newtown, Johannesburg, Mbeki said golfing estates perpetuated settlement patterns along racial, gender and class divisions.

“We have, among others, an urgent challenge of bringing to a stop the prorich housing development strategies that ensure that the best-located land close to all the best facilities is always available to the rich,” the president said.

The poor, he said, were condemned to “dusty, semideveloped land” far from modern infrastructure, while the best land was “allocated especially to create gated communities and golf estates”.

SA’s spiralling property prices have been pushed in part by the demand for housing estates centred on golf courses and other attractions such as Dainfern, north of Johannesburg. Prices for houses in Dainfern average R3,5m. Unbuilt stands in other estates can start from R650000.

One developer — and Sapoa member — who did not want to be named said the president’s comments missed the mark.

While golf estates catered for the elite, they existed all over the world and provided for a “tiny” part of the population, and they were not holding back the “mixing” that was taking place in SA, he said.

“The general population in suburbia is becoming more integrated,” the developer said.

“You are also finding where there are redevelopment opportunities in the traditionally more affluent areas such as Randburg and Rosebank (in Johannesburg) that units which are affordable for the poorer community have become available at entry levels,” he said.

The Brickfields development is likely to prevent the scenario Mbeki painted, the developer said.

“Newtown is probably a good example. You have Brickfields, and one or two blocks away you will find more expensive housing.”

The development aims to provide affordable quality rental accommodation and services for the low- and middle-income market.

The R120m Brickfields development is financed by public and private funders.

Gauteng government provided 30% of the initial capital for the project on an equity basis, which was followed by an additional R70m from groups including private sector stakeholders Anglo American and Absa, the National Housing Finance Corporation and the Gauteng Partnership Fund.

Last modified on Saturday, 07 June 2014 17:43

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