This has been my first year as Chairperson of JHC, and it has been a pleasure to become part of an organisation which, at all levels, so thoroughly embraces, executes, and so obviously enjoys, the work required by our mission and values. JHC's performance over the year under review has surpassed expectations. At a financial level, the company has maintained that rare status, first reached last year, of achieving financial sustainability within a social mission. A number of external audits required by our various funders confirmed that good corporate governance and risk management policies are in place and are integral to the company's ongoing business practice. Our first externally administered customer service survey shows pleasing trends of tenant satisfaction which underlie the excellent occupancy and rental payment levels. The ongoing development of a skilled professional staff remains a hallmark of our organisation, as does the relationship of mutual responsibility and respect built over a long period with tenants. All the above happen within an organisational framework where learning features strongly, and problems and mistakes are highlighted and dealt with.
The successful refurbishment of our Smitshof building demonstrated the difficulties and possibilities of high-rise upgrade while tenants remained in-situ. The Brickfields project, now under construction, demonstrates that new financial possibilities are opening up. The partnership between public and private sector institutions that Brickfields has pioneered, points to the way forward for the development of housing at scale within a broader urban regeneration programme. Here I must thank especially our funding partners for their commitment in bringing this landmark project to fruition.
Through our particular style of operation - as an organisation that embraces a socially sensitive approach while following strict business principles – JHC is contributing as much to restoring social values and a renewal of the social fabric of the inner city, as it is to the physical regeneration of building stock. It is these social dimensions of JHC's work that underpin its future success.
Looking at the wider housing context, the new Minister of Housing, Lindiwe Sisulu, has introduced new dimensions to government's comprehensive plan for housing development and has brought the related social issues firmly onto the agenda. The provision of housing for those previously without houses or secure tenure options is precisely the focus of JHC's operations.
We can offer considerable experience in these areas and we look forward to participating in the implementation of the new housing plan, particularly as it relates to the urban environment and inner city regeneration.
In raising the level of provision, it will be important to extend the mix of residential options available to match the range of different needs and to overcome present constraints which, by and large, confine the poor either to the outer limits of the city or to high-rise slums. In this regard, JHC's approach to housing provision is in line with the new national housing plan and can contribute to overcoming the spatial and social distortions of the historical apartheid city.
Returning to home base, it was during the past year that we lost one of our valued housing supervisors, Wilfred Mntambo, in a tragic car accident. We grieve with his family on his untimely passing.
Now that the Flemish Regional Government is satisfied that its investment has run its course and been wisely spent, Yves Wantens, their representative, has resigned from the Board. We want to again acknowledge the support of the Flemish Government, and express our thanks to Yves for his contribution over the past years.
To those members of staff who have moved on from the company, we trust that they will continue as champions for the JHC way in whatever work they are doing.
In conclusion I want to acknowledge the exceptional commitment of the staff, which I see as a distinguishing characteristic of our organisation and key to its continuing achievements. I have enjoyed, too, the support of a Board equally committed to JHC and its mission, and I have noted the positive relationship between Board members and staff. Such commitment and interaction are critical ingredients for any successful organisation. At JHC we recognise them as assets and, going forward, we will continue to invest in them. To JHC staff and my fellow directors, to our partners who have invested considerable time and funding, to our various service providers, and of course to our tenants, my thanks and congratulations on a highly satisfactory year.
Click on the link below to view and download the complete JHC 2004 Annual Report:
JHC 2004 Annual Report