As part of its turnaround strategy, construction group Basil Read on Thursday launched Basil Read Homes with the first of its 44 residential units on a land parcel at Savanna City, south of Johannesburg, which will, upon completion, boast about 18 399 integrated housing units.
“This launch is a practical demonstration of how our company is moving full-steam ahead with our turnaround strategy, which includes the reignition of our top-structure division, Basil Read Homes,” says Basil Read CEO Khathutshelo Mapasa.
He tells Engineering News Online that Savanna City is a “mixed housing development which will cover a bigger spectrum of affordability” by offering either fully bonded units, Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme housing, high-density apartments and fully subsidized housing complying with government’s Breaking New Ground strategy and the Financial Sector Charter.
Construction of the R24.9-billion development project started in 2013 and is being developed by Basil Read Homes in partnership with the R9-billion Housing Impact Fund of South Africa, which was established by Old Mutual, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Government Employees Pension Fund, and the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund, explains Basil Read GM Davina Piek.
Other costs included a R35-million grant to the local Midvaal municipality, which will be drawn out over a decade, in order to assist the municipality to deliver services to all of Savanna City’s residents.
“Effectively, we are doubling the municipality and we had to come up with innovative urban management to assist the local municipality in being able to deliver these services to residents”.
Commenting on the project’s timeline, Piek lamented that developments take a long time to “get off the ground” owing to challenges in terms of funding, which is why, Mapasa added, a lot of affordable housing developments have been announced, but few have gotten off the ground.
Mapasa cited affordable housing as a “key enabler for urbanisation”.
The 1 462 ha Savanna City development will further, upon completion, include 16 schools, eight churches, nine business and retail facilities, public parks and a 400 ha environmental area.
Further, Basil Read, which is aiming to build about 500 affordable housing units a year, has identified a portfolio of its business in which the company remains an “industry leader”.
Mixed housing developments is one of the company’s strongest areas, as is its mining business and civil construction.
Mapasa said the group wanted to grow its mining business, particularly in the contract mining space, while also focussing on its civil construction business, saying “we will remain available for government infrastructure projects, when those opportunities come”.