MUST READ: 12 city buildings approved for low-cost housing


The City of Johannesburg’s council approved a plan for tackling the inner city housing challenge last week, effectively jump-starting the process to create quality low-cost accommodation.

Councillors approved to make 12 City-owned properties available to use as low-cost housing.

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said that since coming into office, revitalising the inner city has been a critical component of the DA-led administration. “There is no doubt that one of the highest challenges we face in the inner city is access to affordable housing and the increase in hijacked buildings.

Read: Renovations will take 18 to 24 months, says owner of hijacked Cape York

“It is estimated that some 30 000 accommodation units are required in the short term to address the needs of the most vulnerable households within the city.”

The City conducted an audit of 500 so-called bad buildings, 84 of which are hijacked. Twenty-four of the 500 buildings belong to the City. Mashaba believes all of these buildings represent opportunities to create affordable housing.

Through the Inner City Housing Implementation Plan, Mashaba said the City is set to make the inner city housing market work better for the poor.

Read: Cape York – a hijacked building where anything illegal is possible

He said public-private partnerships are crucial to this strategic approach. “A number of private role players already operate within the City providing social housing. Working together with these private developers, the City will be better able to meet the increasing demand for quality low-income housing.

“To create incentives which bring more partners on board, the City has committed to fast-tracking development approval requirements and providing required bulk infrastructure services for driving development.”

The mayor said the City will continue to intensify raids on hijacked buildings.

Read: Plans for inner city housing challenge

“[This is] in order to fight criminal slum lords who live off the desperate need of our residents.”

The City is also conducting socio-economic and needs audits of those living in those buildings in the hope of providing much-needed support, he said.

“Further to this, the City is taking all possible steps to determine the identity of the true owners of hijacked buildings in order to begin the process of reclaiming these spaces. Where owners cannot be identified, the City will look to expropriate these buildings so as to utilise them for housing development.”

Chantelle Fourie

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