South Africa: MEC Jomo Sibiya - Report On the Transformation of the Property Sector

press release

This morning I appeared, virtually, before the KZN Legislature to present a progress and report on the Programme of Action focusing on the Transformation of the Property Sector.

It is important to point out that I am already receiving comments and suggestions from people across the province.

In my address, I appreciated the opportunity offered by the honourable members and their guidance at all times.

Collectively, we have a responsibility to move with speed to ensure the implementation of a transformation policy for the property sector.

In doing so we will realise a vision of a prosperous and non-racial society characterised by equality and a better life for all.

Critically, during this period, we need to acknowledge that the implementation of enabling transformation policies is not a luxury or a choice. But it is a must.

The people cannot wait any longer.

We are also planning to engage with the CEO and entire leadership of the Property Sector Charter Council (PSCC). The PSCC is one of the 12 sector councils recognised by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in terms of the BBBEE act.

We want to work with the Council to ensure a clear understanding of a framework which established the principles upon which B-BBEE is implemented in the property sector.

The PSCC strives to achieve its mandate through the development of Property Sector Code (PSC) legislation in terms of B-BBEE to create a conducive environment and to enable transformation of the property sector.

We do not want the people of KwaZulu-Natal to be left behind.

Historically, property has been viewed as a right. In South Africa, however, black people were denied access to productive land through the Native Land Act of 1913 and subsequent discriminatory policy and legislation.

Black people could not own property nor could they effectively trade on properties. In many cases land was held by Tribal Trusts, which precluded people living on tribal land from obtaining title deeds. These laws affected the ability of black people to create or accumulate wealth.

Consequently, significant numbers of South Africans have never in the history of their families experienced formal property ownership and its wealth creation benefits.

This has had a fundamental impact on the economic potential of South Africa and black people in particular.

Despite legislative and policy interventions to eradicate these inequalities, in practice - skewed patterns of ownership, participation and benefit remain.

Black people continue to be significantly under-represented in ownership of property, whilst administrative, legal and financial constraints restrict the ability of black people to participate in the property market.

Commercially, direct property ownership is dominated by institutional investors, large private owners, collective investment schemes, property loan stocks and listed property entities, with government being the largest commercial player. There is limited participation of black people, particularly women, in ownership and control of these entities.

The commercially driven activities surrounding property, including development, management and sales, rests largely in white-owned hands

We appeared in the legislature to proclaim our determination to change the status quo.

We however acknowledge the fact that we will never achieve the transformation alone. We are relying on the wisdom of honourable members. We also bank on the collective efforts of the people of this province.

Critically, when the majority of people voted the African National Congress into office, they believed that this is the organization that has the capacity to usher in a new era.

As an elected public representative deployed to this department, I wish to state that I can't afford to betray the trust the people of this province have placed in the government of the day.

365 Days in Office - Focus on the Transformation of the Property Sector

Today I announced that on top of my activities for the 365 Days in Office, our focus as the department is the Transformation of the Property Sector.

We are empowered by the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, the KZN Land Administration and Immovable Asset Management Act, 2014 to manage and maintain government immovable assets.

Therefore in discharging our responsibilities regarding the management of immovable assets, we will use our procurement spend/budget to fast-track the entry of those who have been previously marginalized into this sector.

In the past I have highlighted skewed ownership of properties leased by the Department of Public Works on behalf of government departments.

Today, I was able to draw the attention of the honourable members to the figures detailing the landlords of 178 leases. The overview of landlords is as follows:-

Indians - number of leases 79

Whites - number of leases 37

Black Africans - number of leases 15

Whites/Blacks (partnership) - number of leases 08

Whites/Blacks/Asians (partnership) - Number of leases 08

Other organs of states - Number of leases 01

NGOs - Number of leases 05

TVET - Number of leases 01

Municipalities - Number of leases 24

The 15 black Africans who have leases with government - 14 are males and only 1 female. We are saying as South Africans and the people of KwaZulu-Natal, this is not what we see continuing.

I indicated to honourable members that if we fail to work collectively to change these figures, we will be accused of prolonging the suffering of the people of this province, especially those who have endured the impact of the apartheid policies.

As part of changing these figures, I wish to report that we have established a dedicated Property Transformation Task Team.

Members of the Task Team are drawn from government departments such as the Office of the Premier, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs as well as Provincial Treasury.

I have however, mandated the Head of Department to ensure the representation of other stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, civil society, youth formations, people living with disability, SMMEs, Co-operatives, community property associations, industry bodies and the private sector at large.

We are determined to change this picture with speed.

We are planning ongoing consultations with all spheres of government - national and municipalities because we want a clear development trajectory for taking our Province to a better future. My message to the Task Team is based on the principle of "One Strategy and Plan for All."

We are aiming at ensuring an agreed set of objectives and targets. We want to ensure that there is a common platform for all. We want to see the resource commitments of departments, municipalities and public entities in order to achieve true transformation of the property sector.

In addition, we want to reach agreements on a monitoring, evaluation, reporting and review framework which will track our performance and hold us accountable to deliver on what we have committed ourselves to deliver in terms of the transformation of the property sector.

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