by GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG – THE construction boom envisaged within the next three years by authorities in Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial hub, must focus on fixing endemic gender disparities in the property sector in as much as it must balance the racial scale.
This has been the prevailing sentiment as the 22nd annual South African Institute for Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP) convention held under the theme, “The New Normal”.
The event is geared towards addressing the contentious debate surrounding land reform in Africa’s most advanced economy and how it will be implemented or affect the property sector and other stakeholders.
“The new normal is across different facets, the normal of woman being in the forefront of property industry, the new normal of technology in our sector,” said SAIBPP President, Nkuli Bogopa.
SAIBPP’s convention was held against the backdrop of plans underway to expropriate derelict buildings in the Johannesburg Inner City region and make them available for development of low-cost housing, student accommodation and affordable rental space for small business.
Mayor Herman Mashaba disclosed the municipality had identified some 500 buildings that had either been hijacked or abandoned.
“This makes it difficult‚ if not impossible‚ for the City to ensure compliance with applicable by-laws‚ which in turn contributes to the decay of the urban environment,” the mayor said.
He said court action would be taken against hijackers and owners who abandoned buildings, should they resist takeovers.
“However, expropriation proceedings will be initiated in court if such owners refuse to enter into agreements with the City. Until then, members of the JMPD will continue to conduct regular raids of high-jacked buildings to push back against the rampant 19 lawless and criminality that had been allowed to fester over the past years.”
JMPD is an abbreviation for Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, the by-law enforcer.
Deelegates bemoaned the state of transformation in the property industry as revealed by the report presented by the property sector chartered accountants, which revealed targets were falling behind in ownership and representation .
“We are not meeting our targets as a sector,” Bogopa said.
She lamented management control, employment equity, skills development and preferential procurement as areas needing attention.
“There is no reason we cannot meet our targets on employment equity. After all, we live in a country where 90 percent of the population is black. We have a pipeline of young black children who are coming out in their numbers with the correct property studies,” she said.
Siyabonga Mbanjwa, the renewable energy expert, in the meantime urged property practitioners to consider the sector in their future projects, in line with global trends.
“Renewables are developing at phenomenal rate. Africa can leapfrog developed nations through rollout of renewables to those without access to energy,” Mbanjwa said.
– CAJ News