Demonstrating the potential for the success of public–private partnerships, residential property developer Calgro M3 and construction products supplier PPC have partnered to upgrade an informal settlement along the Fleurhof dam, in Johannesburg, into a fully integrated city.
The project, which began in 2010, entails the completion of 9 600 housing units by 2018, as well as infrastructure for community services, including schools, shops, a police station, a clinic and recreational park areas. About 7 000 units have been built and construction on a further 1 000 units began last month.
The housing comprises a combination of units that fall under government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme and bonded units. Calgro M3 project manager Adrian Ford explains that, although the units have a uniform appearance, they differ in terms of their internal fittings, depending on the type of unit.
“We have provided the basic infrastructure needed for a house, but it is up to the individual to empower himself or herself and turn the building into a home. The area is central to Johannesburg and ideally situated in terms of transport routes, enabling residents to easily commute to work.”
The units are grouped in blocks, with Ford highlighting that a body corporate has been elected in each block to manage the tenants and levies. He explains that engagement with the community and its leaders has been central to the success of the project, as it aims to empower the people who were living in shacks in the area by providing them with necessary infrastructure, but without imposing on the social structures they have in place as a community.
PPC key account manager Rajesh Harripersadh highlights that “bold” initiatives brought about by partnerships such as the one between PPC and Calgro M3 are needed to assist in redressing the legacy of apartheid still evident in the spatial distortions in many of South Africa’s cities.
“PPC is proud to be associated with Calgro M3 through the supply of cement and concrete for the Fleurhof development, which we have supplied since the start of the project. PPC’s quality products and service delivery on this project have helped to facilitate efficient production and ensure that deadlines are met. PPC’s relationship with Calgro extends beyond Gauteng to projects in the Western Cape as well.”
Engineering News reported in August 2016 that, in a further bid to alleviate the current shortfall of housing units in the low- to mid- income segment of the residential market, Calgro M3 and real estate developer SA Corporate Real Estate had announced the establishment of a real estate investment trust (Reit) – in this case, a joint venture (JV) in the form of a controlled company of the Reit called Afhco Calgro M3 Consortium.
Afhco is the brand with which the market will engage – the entity that will market the portfolio to the public, and be responsible for the management of facilities, assets, finance and corporate governance.
Calgro M3 MD Wikus Lategan highlights that the goal of the initiative is to build a substantial residential portfolio in the next few years to give South Africans access to rental options within the metropolitan areas.
“The current housing shortfall in metros is estimated at a mammoth two-million units. Despite government’s commitment to closing the gap, spending on infrastructure for housing development is under pressure, and this JV will assist government in improving living conditions for ordinary South Africans.”
SA Corporate MD Rory Mackey adds that the expertise of both companies in their respective fields will be complementary and ensure a successful roll-out of a mass residential portfolio, with SA Corporate adding its experience as a property asset manager and Calgro its extensive knowledge in residential development.
“To safeguard the sustainability of the process, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life for all our residents and creating homes that they can take pride in,” says Mackey.
All efforts will be made to ensure that the portfolio is environmentally sound, with a focus on energy conservation, he concludes.