Access to affordable housing received a major boost on Tuesday following the launch of SA’s first land fund. The fund, which was created in partnership with the department of human settlements, water and sanitation, aims to fill in the 1.7-million shortfall in the 5-million housing target that was set in 1994.
Kameel Keshav, a former CFO of Rebosis Property Fund, and Rali Mampeule, the CEO of Phadima Group Holdings, unveiled The South African Housing and Infrastructure Fund (Sahif), which already owns land worth R1.7bn. Sahif plans to acquire vacant and unused land near towns and cities, prepare it for development, then sell it to the government.
“This will assist the state in building much-needed homes for poor and middle-class citizens,” said Mampeule.
Keshav said the government “has a large budget for housing development. A lot of the budget is returned each year. We saw this niche where we could provide land to the government and help to speed up the housing roll-out process so that government can meet its housing targets.”
In his state of the nation address in June, President Cyril Ramaphosa hinted at plans to accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans.
“While we have made great progress in providing housing, many South Africans still need land to build homes and earn livelihoods. In the next five years, we will accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans,” said Ramaphosa.
The fund has a potential pipeline of land worth R15.3bn and expects to yield 108,160 stands in Gauteng, the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, the Free State and Limpopo over the next three years.
While Sahif’s first priority will be affordable housing, the land can also be used for other property developments. It expects its project to result in about 11,000 jobs.
In 2018, Keshav tried to list a student accommodation fund but struggled to get enough capital amid weak economic conditions. Mampeule previously worked at Chas Everitt International, later buying a franchise from the estate agent.