SA Affordable Housing July / August 2018 // Issue: 71 - Page 27

FEATURES 'In many municipalities, state-owned entities (SOEs) own well-located land parcels, however, their insistence on market prices, bureaucracy and ongoing delays hamper the process of acquiring the land,' says South African Cities Network. As a property group that works often with government, other constraints that Schaefer names includes availability of affordable buildings to develop. “Municipal charges in the city are relatively high.” This has a knock-on effect on tenants seeking affordable housing. Schaefer says that discussions with council are being held around the state providing state or cross subsidisation to discount municipal rates in the inner city so that it is affordable overall. “Charges don’t differentiate according to area. For example, places like Rosebank pay the same charges as the Joburg CBD. Transformation is limited by volume and affordability,” he laments. Connected to that is municipality’s inability to provide on-time billing, “And to provide support around such queries,” shares Schaefer. The introduction of social housing has played a significant role in addressing the housing backlog and towards addressing transformation. However, Schaefer says that these institutions have limited capacity to apply for subsidy to deliver housing. “There is a lot of red tape and delays to access social housing subsidies,” Busgeeth says. “Broadly speaking, efforts towards increased integration have created heightened accessibility, brought about more equitable and affordable living arrangements and increased opportunities for previously excluded demographics.” SHORTENING THE DISTANCE Challenges will always be present when seeking to right wrongs of the past. However, efforts by government to work with the private sectors to deal with the challenges are gaining traction. This is seen through the City of Johannesburg’s efforts to rehabilitate bad buildings by releasing them to the private sector for conversion into low-cost housing and small, medium and micro-enterprise opportunities. “There is no question that millions will have to be spent to develop the Aerotropolis (City of Ekurhuleni) economy. The key is to devise a bankable strategy that involves the public-private sector. We have to create conditions that attract investment and funding of development,” says Mzwandile Masina, executive mayor of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. “They are trying to unlock the potential in these buildings and further promote transformation of housing availability. It’s an interesting trend that is being watched across the country,” Schaefer says. The private sector has a track record of cost effectiveness and efficient delivery partnering with them unlocks additional capacity and skills. “It is important to revitalise and invest in areas where people already live, so that there is socio- economic opportunity in multiple areas as opposed to people having to travel to one prime urban district,” Busgeeth says. The Group Areas Act of 1950 contributed to social and economic segregation. With spatial transformation projects and plans rolled out throughout the country, a bulk of the plan and budget allocation is for transport infrastructure. In 2018, Cabinet approved the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) policy to be rolled out in major cities in South Africa. The policy involved a major restricting of public transport, with new infrastructure, vehicles, electronic ticketing and improved security. Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya system, Cape Town’s MyCiTi system and Go! Durban are examples of the IRPTN policy. “There’s been plenty of progress on the transport side,” adds Schaefer. Addressing job creation, unemployment, skills development, improving conditions of health and public facilities were also part of the plan. The problem with this kind of approach is that, “Government neglected the inclusion of the minibus taxi industry. There is lack of investment in infrastructure for pedestrians and other non- motorised transport users,” expresses Busgeeth. 'A connected city is assumed to be more competitive and attractive to businesses and residents', expresses South African Cities Network. THE BIGGER PICTURE Transformation is seen (and is working) in certain areas and not in others. Busgeeth uses Alexandra as an example. “It is a well-located township that hasn’t translate BF&fV@ƗfVƖB&7V7G2f"&W6FVG2&Vr6FVBWBFFR6GFV6֖2V"2FRƗGFRf"WG&&W6FVG>( vW"F6vRfVV6R"'F6FRFP6GVVVBBVFW"VVB2vV0"g&7G'V7GW&Rf6ƗFW2B6W'f6W26G&'WFPFv&G27W7FrFW&W76VB6FF2vF&VFfVǒfWp'GVFW2BƖ֗FVB66W72F&W6W&6W2( Ф'FVB7Fr2WFvfW&VBF6'&V7BffrFR&fFR6V7F"2RvFFG&W72B6WFg&66FW2WGv&F&VvFV"&W6V&6b6FW2FB&PFVƖrvFFR77VRFW2FB6VG'F6F@67VFF2'FBFF6RFR77VRuF2vgW'FW '&r&WB&VfW&6vRB6vVFvVVBbFP&RbFR&w&R'&vr&WB&fVB&ƗGB666W6fGFR6GrB62dd$D$P4U4pTŒTuU5B##P