An illegally occupied building in the Johannesburg inner city. File photo: ANA/Siphelele Dludla
The tender process for some 84 inner-city buildings being offered by the City of Joburg for redevelopment for lower-income earners has been extended to February 28.

There are 71 buildings available, with a further 13 which were advertised last year, but still remain available due to non-compliance by initial responder submissions.

The reclaimed city-owned buildings stretch from Turffontein, through Yeoville and the CBD.

It is hoped they will be converted into affordable, low-cost housing or affordable commercial spaces for small businesses, entrepreneurs and investors.

“This presents an opportunity for property developers to be creative with their proposals,” said MMC for Development Planning, Reuben Masango, during the launch of one such project in Bramley, north of Joburg, last month.

He said developers should rid themselves of the mistaken belief that there was no good business to be done in the affordable or low-cost housing market.

The city wants to see mixed-use developments with about 20% to 30% of space reserved specially for people who can pay between R800 and R1000 rental a month, adding that the city was adopting this approach with the firm belief that it would have the effect of integrating mixed-income groups to achieve social, economic and spatial integration.

Joburg, he added, is a city plagued by poor spatial planning, a throwback to the times of segregation when one group of the population enjoyed access to everything in a centralised area, and another - the largest - was dumped at the outer edges of the city, far from everything.

City mayor Herman Mashaba engaged with members of the Green Buildings Council of SA last year to discuss investment opportunities ranging from construction materials and building methodology, to fittings, finishes and refurbishments, along with sustainable solutions, energy efficiencies and “green” initiatives.

He said the provision of affordable accommodation for students and local residents should find the best way forward in building a more “green” and eco-conscious landscape, offering sustainable solutions that are as equally cost-effective as they are environmentally progressive. @annacox