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SA’s property sector ‘still too white’

Nov 06 2016 08:30
Justin Brown

Johannesburg - The local property sector remained dominated by white business and this needed to change, Qedani Mahlangu, Guateng MEC of health, said this week.

“We don’t own the property sector and we remain an unequal society,” Mahlangu said at the SA Institute of Black Property Practitioners’ annual convention held in Johannesburg.

Mahlangu stood in for Gauteng MEC for human settlements Paul Mashatile at the convention.

“Significant black players don’t own much of the property sector. We need to address the issue of fronting,” Mahlangu said.

Mahlangu called for an end to the “banking monopoly” in the country that denied people access to finance.

She said there was a need to end apartheid-era spatial city design that sees people live far from where they work.

“Poor people spend about 60% of their income on transport,” Mahlangu added.

Helen Botes, Joburg Property Company CEO, said the property sector needed to be transformed.

The Joburg Property Company has a property portfolio worth about R34 billion.

This property portfolio includes 30 000 parcels of land covering 77 000 hectares.

“About 90% of the players in the property sector are not black players. Transformation is about radical change,” she said.

“Twenty-two years into democracy there needs to be radical and bold change.

“The private sector does not play ball,” she said. Companies like Growthpoint and JHI had to create opportunities for new entrants, Botes said.

“We need to change the approach to this industry,” she said.

Portia Tau-Sekati, Property Sector Charter Council CEO, said that there had been “mixed results” achieved in the transformation of the property sector.

“The pace of transformation is extremely slow and limited, and in some areas has regressed,” Tau-Sekati said.

Tau-Sekati put the value of the local property sector at R5.8 trillion, which includes R3.9 trillion worth of residential property.

Looking ahead, Tau-Sekati said that the property sector BEE codes were about to be gazetted.

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