President Cyril Ramaphosa: Launch of the Mooikloof Mega Residential City
Pretoria, October 4th 2020, the president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, unveiled the first phase of a development that is pushing back the frontiers of human settlements in the country, by way of design, planning and construction.
According to the president, the launch of the Mooikloof development is the outcome of a successful public-private partnership. He congratulated the developers Balwin Properties, the provincial government, and the City of Tshwane for their commitment to bringing this project to fruition, and within constrained timeframes.
He further noted the considerable energies being brought to bear to the project by Dr. Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who heads up the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency.
“As we know, Dr. Ramokgopa is a son of Tshwane, and it has been a boon and an advantage to have him on board to drive the national infrastructure build effort, and in supporting this development in particular”, the president said.
The Mooikloof Integrated Development has a total project value of over R84bn and is one of the 62 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) that were gazetted at the end of July.
The listing of the SIPs followed the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium (SIDS) in June, which managed to unlock over R340bn in private sector investment in key economic sectors.
The first phase of the project is residential developments, and some 50,000 sectional title units are planned.
Once completed, the Mooikloof Mega City may end up becoming the world’s largest sectional property development, with land also earmarked for schools, shops and offices.
“It is pleasing to note the development is being pursued in line with green building principles, and will make optimal use of green belts and green spaces for residential recreation”, the president said.
Furthermore, the use of recycled materials and solar energy technology furthers our commitment to making green human settlements a permanent feature on the national landscape.
This housing development addresses what may be referred to as the ‘housing missing middle’; people who earn too much to qualify for fully subsidized housing but who don’t earn enough to afford debt-financed housing in areas of their choice.
But by far the most important aspect of this catalytic project is its contribution to inclusionary housing development.
In the inaugural State of the Nation of the 6th Administration I outlined the seven priority areas that will guide the work of government.
Amongst the priority areas mentioned was spatial integration, human settlements and local government.
Spatial integration is aimed at undoing a prominent feature of the apartheid project.
While a minority lived in comfort and security with access to centers of commercial activity, the black majority were confined to townships that served as labor reserves. In the rural parts of our country this was even worse, with the under-developed Bantustans existing alongside more affluent so-called white South Africa.
We continue to feel the effects of apartheid spatial design in what may be termed the 40/40/40 principle.
This means that most people are housed 40 kilometers from employment opportunities, as a result, they spend over 40 minutes travelling to and from work, and spend over 40% of their incomes on transport expenses. In many cases those affected are the poor who live in 40m2 houses.
This development has all the key features of spatial integration. It is located in one of the most sought-after addresses in the City of Tshwane, with some of the highest average house prices. It is a nodal development giving residents and tenants easier access to vital transportation corridors.
The successful launch of Mooikloof further reinforces the appropriateness of the District Development Model, and the collaboration of the three spheres of government has made the project possible.
The City of Tshwane has facilitated the approval of appropriate zoning and the provision of water, waste-water, and energy bulk infrastructure. I trust that as government we are walking the talk on enabling conditions for development by issuing licences and zoning rights speedily .
These are some frustrations that investors face and it is our mission to unblock these administrative blockages. For example, together with Minister Sisulu we are working to ensure that the issuing of water use licences as well as appeals takes 90 days.
The Gauteng Provincial Government is funding the expansion of the Garsfontein provincial road to accommodate the projected increase in vehicle traffic generated by the development.
The National Department of Human Settlements through its agency, Housing Development Agency, is assisting a model to make it possible for more low-income households to benefit from the development. Potential homeowners will also be able to apply for assistance from government’s Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP)
This development will also lead to the creation of some 41 000 jobs at a time when they are sorely needed.
The success of any future mega housing development rests with public/private sector collaboration. Private sector resources and expertise will aid government’s efforts to meet the housing demand. The public sector can incentivize further investment by providing the necessary bulk infrastructure to enable development.
It is this approach that has made it possible for this development to take off.
The reality is that the fiscus cannot on its own support the rising housing demand in the country. COVID-19 has only worsened an already dire situation. We will be looking at how best to leverage private sector resources and skills to help government deliver its mandate to provide decent housing to our people.
Mooikloof is an excellent example how public/private sector interests can be aligned and work for mutual benefit.
The economic recovery plan that I will be unveiling in the very near future will provide greater insight into how government plans to revive the economy. The emphasis will be on infrastructure as a flywheel for economic recovery, with an additional focus on job creation.
Ultimately the recovery plan is anchored in social compacting.
Overcoming the devastating legacy of COVID-19 requires a collective effort.
It is for this reason that we have invested time and effort to engage with social partners through the NEDLAC process. All the social partners remain committed to the recovery plan and to working with government to turn the economy around.
We face challenging times as we drive the economic recovery effort, and a momentous task awaits us.
The launch of this development is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy climate. It is a demonstration of our resilience as a country and of the strength of public/private partnership.
“I once again congratulate all who have made this occasion possible. What we are seeing is impressive indeed, and I look forward to seeing this form of integrated development being expanded to all parts of the country”, The president said