Page 1




affordable, safe and clean h o u s i n g i n J o b u rg

Johannesburg has over three million inhabitants, many without access to basic services. Providing affordable, low-cost housing is a major challenge. South Africa Magazine talks Joshco’s CEO Rory Gallocher about how to tackle the problem while giving Joburg’s tired old buildings a new lease of life.

By Ian Armitage


Joshco focus property


ccess to adequate housing is a constitutional right and the Government has built over three million subsidised housing units

since 1994. However, the backlog remains difficult to eradicate. Although consistent and reliable statistics on housing are hard to come by, current estimates suggest as many as 12 million people across South Africa are still without adequate housing. The Department of Human Settlements has recognised that things aren’t happening quite fast enough and has committed to increasing the rate of delivery with a view to wiping out the current housing backlog by 2030. It’s ambitious. At current levels, Government earmarks over R16 billion for housing each year. But this may not be enough. Human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale recently claimed that, “We need all hands on deck to sort this problem out and to create a better South Africa for all.” In the last year Johannesburg Social Housing Company has not only provided affordable housing, it has given Joburg’s tired old buildings a much-needed facelift. Completed projects include ‘hostels to homes’ in Orlando, Antea Village and Klipspruitand Klipspruit in Soweto. “Proper housing is a fundamental building block not only to human decency in terms of living conditions, but also in terms of stability,” says Joshco’s CEO Rory Gallocher. “We are addressing a need for affordable, safe and clean housing in the inner city and nearby suburbs. We’re a council-owned body run by an independent board, and are both a developer and a rental agent. We acquire and convert buildings ranging from residential houses to multistorey apartment blocks and entire housing estates, and then offer them to residents at monthly rates that start at under R1000


Joshco focus property

Motheo Construction Group The Motheo Construction Group was established in 1997 by Dr Thandi Ndlovu and has during its sixteen year history developed into one of the largest BEE construction companies in South Africa. The Group’s activities range from Housing Development and Construction, General Contracting (Building and Civils), Property Development, Material Supply and Project Management.

and go up depending on the sizes and facilities available.” Joshco was established in 2004 in response to the growing demand for affordable, quality and sustainable housing in the city. Today it has 7,500 units spread across its 22 projects in the city and greater Johannesburg. About 25,000 tenants now have a roof over their heads. In 2010 Joshco won the UN Scroll of Honour, a prestigious award for work done in the field of human settlements. It is working towards a goal of 15,000 units. “When we last spoke in 2010, I told you guys 4

about a very exciting development called AA House in Wanderers Street on the northern edge of the Johannesburg CBD. We hadn’t completed the project at that stage but it reached final completion at the end of November 2012 and the first families began moving in that month. The building was restored to the tune of R40 million and now, in January 2013, the property is almost full - there are only a couple of units that haven’t yet been signed up. It has proved to be a very successful development. The contractor we awarded the work to for that was a well-known company, Stefanutti Stocks. We’re pretty excited because

One area of focus has been the development and construction of rental accommodation. This has been carried out in the major centres of Johannesburg, Germiston, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Polokwane. We have cumulatively built 4,700 units with a combined value of R756 million. Concentrating on the Johannesburg area, we have assisted the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) in the creation of 700 rental opportunities through their projects at Roodepoort Inner City and Antea. We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship that has existed over the last five to six years. It is our sincere belief that we have afforded them a quality product at a competitive cost. We hope to continue working constructively with them, as they fulfill their mandate to provide affordable rental accommodation across the face of Johannesburg.

this building was one of those famously disastrous buildings in the inner city that had been illegally hijacked and it had been illegally occupied. It was in a terrible state and quite dangerous conditions. “We’ve also recently completed a further 56 units in an area called Industrial West. That was a conversion from what used to be a hostel into family units. That is 100 percent complete. “We’re also nearing completion of another conversion in the inner city, again a former hostel, called Selby Village. It has reached the advanced stage. The first batch of units is due for completion by March.” Joscho has been doing a lot of infrastructure work, Gallocher says. “We are doing a lot of investment in that respect, mainly in three areas. One is the inner city of Randburg where we are gearing up to do a 650 unit development, very high density development of 160 units per hectare, which is helping to revive the inner city. We have put a lot of investment into infrastructure - roads, electricity, water and sanitation. There were two other similar infrastructure investments: one in Soweto and the other was in City Deep for the final phase of the City Deep development, quite close to the container depot. It is the busiest port in the country, even though it isn’t a seaport, and that’s how a lot of goods are moved in and out of Joburg. The last one which I haven’t mentioned was that we completed Linatex building in New Doornfontein, east of the CBD, an emergency shelter with 160 beds. “Am I proud of what Joshco has achieved? Well, yes, the external 6

We’ve also recently completed a further 56 units in an area called Industrial West. That was a conversion from what used to be a hostel into family units. That is 100 percent complete

Joshco focus property

evaluators are pleased and if they’re pleased with our performance then we’re pleased - it seems to be hitting the mark, so that’s a good thing. Also, the work that we do has a positive impact by supporting small business and supporting previously disadvantaged individuals and emerging small businesses. If you look at our total expenditure in the last financial year, 81 percent of that went to the benefit of small and emerging businesses and previously disadvantaged individuals. That’s a good indicator. The other very good indicator is the number of jobs that we created. Not jobs we created inside Joshco, I’m talking about the jobs created in the wider community and of the positive effects things like our job pathway programme has had. There are a number of people we put through our job pathways programme who were previously unemployed and secured employment by working on our construction sites or providing cleaning services on the completed sites. Last year alone, we created 2,003 jobs. So investing in affordable rental

housing doesn’t only benefit the tenant but has also positive effects in the economy generally around Joburg.” Several new projects are just the beginning. “There’s a lot lined up. For instance, I’ve just signed off a new tender for the final phase of Orlando and we have awarded that development to a contractor called the Motheo Construction Group. “We’re investing in a range of different projects either in the form of planning and design, in the form of further infrastructure upgrade or the form of top structures. The total unit yield, excluding the infrastructure investment for the current financial year, is not a massive number of units. It’s 325. The reason why it isn’t so high is that so much of the money is going into infrastructure for future developments.” Social housing presents its own challenges but Joshco is determined to make a difference. END To learn more visit


South Africa Magazine, 22 Wensum Street, Norwich, Norfolk. NR3 1HY TNT Multimedia Limited, Unit 209, 16 Brune Place, London E1 7NJ Enquiries Telephone: +44 (0)207 989 0491 Fax: +44 (0)1603 624 642 Subscriptions Call: +44 (0)207 989 0491

137 Sivewright Lane 1st Floor New Doornfontein 2094 Tel: 011 406 7300 Fax: 011 404 2504 Email:



JOSHCO Business Brochure - South Africa Magazine - Issue 34