The Government Employees Pension Fund has invested R10.5 billion into mortgage finance provider SA Home Loans to facilitate housing financing for qualifying government employees and members of the public. File picture: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg - The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has invested R10.5 billion into mortgage finance provider SA Home Loans (SAHL) to facilitate housing financing for qualifying government employees and members of the public.

Read also: PIC plugs R10.5bn into home loans

GEPF said yesterday that it had made the investment through its asset management company, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

The GEPF is the largest pension fund in Africa with more than 1.2 million active members, approximately 406 395 pensioners and beneficiaries and assets worth R1.6 trillion.

The SAHL lists PIC as its 25 percent shareholder. Other shareholders include Standard Bank (50 percent) and the Bolatja Hlogo Consortium (25 percent).

The PIC said the investment in SAHL was meant to provide government employees and qualifying members of the public with end-user home finance and development finance for approved affordable housing projects.

It said the cash injection to SAHL was part of the developmental investment mandate that the PIC was carrying out on behalf of the GEPF.

Of the investment, R5bn was for public service employees and R2bn had been set aside for affordable housing end-user financing. Another R2bn would enable SAHL to extend home loans to qualifying home loan applicants, while the remaining R1.5bn would fund affordable housing developers, the PIC said yesterday.

“The PIC is intentionally implementing a developmental investment mandate, which primarily seeks to achieve two types of returns, namely, financial and social returns,” PIC board member Claudia Manning said.

“Financial return means the PIC must generate profit for clients and social return means our investments should positively affect the social conditions of the stakeholders.”

Social return

Manning said: “Our view is that members of the GEPF should benefit during their active working years and during retirement – and this is a social return. Investing in affordable housing finance schemes such as this provides these members with a real benefit.”

GEPF principal executive officer Abel Sithole said there were many GEPF members who often did not qualify for bank-issued housing loans and housing subsidies offered by the government.

“We are, therefore, excited about this investment as it will enable many government employees to own their own houses at a much more affordable rate. Most importantly, we believe home ownership can restore people’s dignity.”

Mashwahle Diphofa, the director-general of the Department of Public Service and Administration, said: “The GEHS (Government Employees Housing Scheme)… finance access service seeks to secure and deliver affordable and enabling housing finance for government employees.

“It is even more pleasing to see the PIC stepping forward as the first investor and participant in the GEHS finance service to bring this much needed value-added service to government employees.”

PIC said interface systems between GEHS and SAHL had already been developed and were operational.

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