Absa commits R2.6bn to housing

3 April 2007

South African financial group Absa has committed R2.6-billion to provide 100 000 low-cost houses by 2010, fulfilling its part of an agreement between the financial sector and the government to fund such housing projects.

Speaking during the hand-over of 200 government-subsidised houses outside Pretoria on Friday, Absa chief executive Steve Booysen said the money was the bank’s contribution toward sustainable human settlements for the country.

“We will have at least one project for every province and two to three projects for every metro,” Booysen said.

South Africa’s four major banks entered into a memorandum of understanding with the government in 2005, paving the way for R42-billion to be spent on low-cost housing in the country.

Absa has set aside R400-million to develop Oleivenhoutbosch, an informal area next to Centurion, south of Pretoria. The project, to be completed by 2008, will have 5 400 homes built on 180 hectares of land, with 1 200 being bonded, 3 000 being subsidised and 1 200 for rental.

“Happily, this relationship has been a productive one,” Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told Business Report. “The project . addresses integrated development. It is a mixed housing project. Its implementation is to achieve 70% black ownership and have 30% female participation.”

According to Business Report, the development will comprise three schools, two clinics, a public open space, religious facilities and commercial and industrial development.

“We regard urban renewal through residential development as wise infrastructure development, because wise infrastructure investment helps to make development sustainable,” Booysen said.

He pointed to the Brickfields apartment complex in Newtown, Johannesburg as an example. Absa has funded 35% of the 100-million residential project, which benefits over 700 families, as part of a public-private partnership.

The bank has also signed an agreement with the Gauteng provincial government to provide 7 500 houses in Droogeheuwel and Middelvlei in the Randfontein Municipality.

In addition, the bank has acquired about 2600 hectares of land in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, to be used for affordable housing.

“This project will allow in excess of 65000 residential homes in mixed mode developments to be developed in phases over about five years,” Booysen said.

SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews

Using SAinfo material Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?
See: Using SAinfo material