Securing well-located land is no easy task. It is dependent on what information is at hand regarding the land’s ownership and availability, the policies and guidelines applicable to it, whether it is being competed for with other sectors, and whether there are differing valuations pertaining to it. The HDA has combatted these challenges by identifying and acquiring or facilitating the acquisition of land where it is feasible to do so. We also develop policies and frameworks to guide this process, as well as high-tech systems to map and store relevant data (LaPsis).
The HDA acquires publicly owned land through a process we have established with different owner and custodian government departments that allows for the transfer and use of identified land and buildings. In terms of privately owned land, the HDA is currently negotiating for a capital grant from the National Department of Human Settlements, which it will use to acquire this.
The first land acquired by the HDA was 72ha in Bela Bela, Limpopo, in 2009. Since then, the HDA has assembled a property portfolio of 16 properties, amounting to almost 1 000ha of land and buildings. These properties range from various portfolio set-ups, including commercial, residential and mixed-use. They are tailored in different forms such as vacant lands, developed lands and buildings.
Of the 16 properties, there are two Johannesburg inner-city properties, which are both high-rise buildings. One is located within the Park Station precinct, next to the Gautrain station, and the other in the Plein Street precinct, opposite the famous Noord Street taxi rank. When these buildings were purchased, they were largely vacant and had been subjected to vandalism, invasion and pollution. The various measures implemented by the HDA, including flood and fire prevention efforts and the removal of illegal occupants, ensured that the buildings became safe and secure once again.
Similar measures are, and can be, implemented at any property, depending on the results of initial and ongoing technical assessments. We also offer these services to organs of state to ensure the security of well-located land and buildings for human settlement development.