Through the 2011/12 financial year JHC has taken the first steps in implementing new development projects and bringing additional social housing units to the market, in line with its five-year development plan and its long-term growth strategy. At the same time, JHC has been careful to ensure that all the existing properties in its portfolio are kept in good condition and continue to provide a welcoming, safe and secure home for tenants. Over the past year this has meant a substantial investment in long-term preventive maintenance.
It is remarkable that year after year JHC can report on its achievements and successes and there are no major issues to be addressed. We are winning in the administration of our buildings. We are winning in the management and administration of JHC. We are getting things right.
The year 2009 into 2010 was, none the less, a tough one for many people and organisations the world over.
In this changing economic environment – and despite the challenges it is facing – JHC continues to perform well. This is a tribute to the commitment of staff and management, and to the systems and procedures that JHC has put in place over the years. In managing
occupancy levels and rent collection, JHC’s systems have been tested over the past year – and, with a few adjustments and due focus, they have served us well.
JHC welcomes the shift from Housing to Human Settlements that has come about with the new administration taking office from May this year. We see this as indicative of a refocusing of emphasis within existing policies and it is in line with the kind of work that JHC has been doing over the past 14 years.
The introduction of new housing legislation over the past year is indicative of our national government’s growing recognition of the valuable contribution that the development of rental and social housing can make in meeting the country’s enormous housing needs. The new Rental Act and in particular the passing of the Social Housing Act and the Housing Development Agency Act mark important milestones in post- 994 policy which, until recently, had retained an emphasis on home ownership as a critical pillar of our emerging democracy.
Almost every day we are confronted by news headlines that, to any outsider, and many insiders, describe Johannesburg as a city in siege to a host of criminal syndicates. While it is true that the level of crime in Gauteng is unacceptably high, as the province’s Premier and Police Commissioner have acknowledged, a brief tour of JHC’s buildings in the inner city would paint a refreshingly different picture.
A testing year it was indeed for JHC. What with our raising the bar through the massive undertakings of the new Brickfields project, the renovation of Rondebosch and the problematic Stanhope Mansions! I would like to commend the staff and the Board for their commitment in taking on the social and political risks involved in providing homes for low-income people in the city and creating new urban communities.
Brickfields in Newtown, the refurbishment of both Rondebosch and Stanhope in the central city, have come to symbolise the courage that has become synonymous with the JHC.
It is enormously gratifying that in my eighth, and last, year as Chairman of the Johannesburg Housing Company, I can report that the company has achieved a position of financial sustainability – where its operational income covers all operating costs. This is a remarkable accomplishment for a non-profit organisation such as JHC and one which makes it quite exceptional among the many social institutions active in South Africa.
This year I am delighted to report that Johannesburg Housing Company achieved its highest levels of delivery yet, adding more than 300 new family housing units to the residential accommodation available in the inner city. With this growth in delivery we have, as a company, moved significantly closer to a position of financial sustainability.
In my comments last year I expressed confidence in the growing effort to reclaim Johannesburg . This year, I am gratified to be able to report that my confidence was not misplaced as we are, indeed, gradually winning the war to regenerate the inner city.
I wish to start this report marking the Johannesburg Housing Company's (JHC's) first five years by making a bold statement:
The City of Johannesburg is being successfully reclaimed.
Reap What You Sow
“The return of people to the city is the key to urban regeneration. Thus JHC and its fellow social landlords take the Centre Stage.”
Making a Difference
It is a pleasure to cast aside the pessimism characteristic of reports on the inner city and reflect on the progress of the JHC in its second year. I believe it is no exaggeration to claim that the JHC has become a beacon on the expanding canvass of social housing in our country. In doing so I am mindful that beacons embody two elements, stability and visibility. As regards stability, we are as yet a very young company, and much remains to be done before we can claim to be more than a flash in the pan.