SA Affordable Housing March - April 2019 // Issue: 75 - Page 4

EDITOR’S COLUMN The morality of affordable housing In January, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba took a tour of local construction sites where he found that some of the major criminals behind power and water theft in the city are, in fact, the developers who plug themselves into the grid to skim free services for the duration of their construction. P ower and water theft leaves a nasty taste in the mouth of the average citizen who is fully aware that these companies are shooting us all in the foot. What may seem like a good idea in terms of short-term exploitation by these companies, in the end results in massive debts for the service providers, a failure to maintain infrastructure and ultimately long-term service disruption for all. There is little doubt in my mind that the executives at these companies are among those who harp on about the lack of service delivery around the dinner table while being fully aware of the impact of their actions on this parlous state of affairs. What is particularly distressing is that one dominant affordable housing developer was among those named as culprits of this crime. This is unfortunate, if there is any area of construction where executives need to show foresight and fully understand the impact of their decisions, it is on the vulnerable members of society in this sector. Building affordable housing isn’t just about knocking up cheap shells and walking away with as much profit as possible. Those who have chosen to go into this sector provide places to live for a segment of the population who need the most protection. Making these homes sustainable, well insulated, long-lasting and cheap to live in, should be as important as the money made at the end of the day. The good news is that for each corrupt and dishonest developer there are those who are cutting back on development costs through innovation and creativity. These companies are constantly updating the products they use and the services they offer in their developments, to build homes that are increasingly sustainable and comfortable for their future residents without stealing from taxpayers or negatively affecting their bank balance. These are the developers that should be celebrated and applauded. At the end of the day, ask yourself: which legacy would you like to leave? Send your article and high resolution images to: Send your article and high resolution images to Benjamin Brits: or call +27 (0) 11 579 4940 for more information. or call +27 (0) 11 579 4940 CONTACT US: CONTACT US: +27 (0) 861 727 663 2 MARCH - APRIL 2019