Business / Business News

Ray Mahlaka
2 minute read
26 Feb 2019
5:32 am

Furore over new city housing plan

Ray Mahlaka

'Why should it be the right of only the wealthy to live close to work?' asked Balwin chief executive Stephen Brookes.

RDP houses. File image for illustrative purposes.

The so-called “adopted housing” policy announced by the City of Joburg last week has garnered mixed reaction from private property developers.

The policy envisages the rich and poor living side by side in some of the city’s exclusive residential developments. It compels property developers to allocate at least 30% of any new residential developments comprising 20 or more units to what is called inclusionary or affordable housing.

The requirement will be imposed on property developers by the city when they apply for land use and development approvals.

The policy, which comes into effect in the next three months, means that property developers who build residential units for rent and sale in wealthy Johannesburg neighbourhoods such as Rosebank, Sandton, Melrose, and Hyde Park, must dedicate a portion of their developments to affordable housing.

The city said its policy will give those in lower and middle income households – who live in far-flung areas and spend a huge amount of time and money to travel to places of work – an opportunity to live close to economic nodes.

The SA Property Owners Association (Sapoa) said it is “disturbed” by the “onerous policy”.

“The city, even though we submitted extensive comments after undertaking best-practice international research on this matter, ignored most of the private sector view,” Sapoa chief executive Neil Gopal told Moneyweb. Balwin Properties has welcomed the housing policy.

“Why should it be the right of only the wealthy to live close to work?” asked Balwin chief executive Stephen Brookes. “We have a shocking legacy of apartheid and developers have a responsibility to redress the crimes of the past.”

The city has offered developers options through which to comply with the policy:

  • At least 30% of total units must be finance-linked individual subsidy programme, where government subsidies are offered to first-time homeowners earning between R3 501 and R22 000 a month, or housing with rentals capped at R2 100 a month.
  • The other option stipulates that 10% of the total residential floor area of a development must be made up of units that are a minimum of 18m², a maximum of 30m² and an average of 24m². And at least 30% of total units in the development must be for inclusionary housing

– Brought to you by Moneyweb

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