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CAPE TOWN - The Minister of Public Works, Minister Nathi Nhleko during his address to the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP) Annual Convention and Property Indaba, said Black-owned enterprises have benefited very little and inequitably form the massive growth in commercial returns and rapid increase in new growth areas in the property sector since the inception of the democratic dispensation.

Minister Nhleko said this is besides the fact that black people are a significant economic force whose contribution to the business expansion of the property sector is far reaching. 

"Closing the gap between established, large, predominantly white operators and emerging black-owned enterprises alone could lift employment and growth of other connected sectors. Continued major reliance on established previously advantaged operators, is one of the main inhibitors to fair and equitable participation in the property sector," Highlighted Minister Nhleko.

He said that the growth in the property sector is attributed partly to the significant growth in the black middle class and the introduction of residential and commercial developments in historically under-developed black areas that were predominantly commercially not serviced. He added that skills development, innovative approaches, enterprise development and partnerships are needed to scale up black economic empowerment and challenged black property practitioners to be knowledgeable about how properties operate and also unlocking their value as economic assets.

"Radical economic transformation is about empowerment and shared economic benefits that must cascade through mentor-ship to reverse the legacy of neglect of public infrastructure and inefficiency," he stressed.

Nhleko said the hold of dominant monopoly capital must be broken and the pace of radical economic transformation heightened for meaningful and unapologetic empowerment through the property sector.

"We must urgently address the skills gap that hampers the participation of youth and women from historically marginalized and root out collusion and fronting that undermine our advance to an equitable society envisaged in the National Development Plan," he emphasized.

Ministerial spokesperson, Lesiba Kgwele said: "He pointed out that although achieving economic empowerment requires sound policy, a holistic approach and long-term unwavering commitment from all industry players and greater focus on implementation will reverse the legacy of exclusion and marginalization that confined black people to be hewers of wood and drawers of water."

Nhleko declared that 25 percent of new leases for client departments to be allocated by his department will benefit a majority of black designated groups owned enterprises.

"A database of transformed estate agents will also be established as part of the Property Incubator Programme to ensure that leasing activities and sale transaction related activities for the state owned property portfolio benefit the historically marginalized," Kgwele said.

Minister Nhleko's department is playing a leading role on behalf of government in the Property Sector Council (PSCC) to drive and monitor the implementation of the Charter hence the Public Works Sector decided to utilize its property portfolio of 92,500 immovable properties and 31,300 land parcels across the country and spends approximately R4 billion on private leases for the accommodation of government departments to drive the transformation of the sector.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE