Concern over rental sector

2016-03-28 12:30

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - The Department of Public Works wants to see transformation in the property business in Pietermaritzburg’s CBD.

MEC Ravi Pillay told finance portfolio committee members last week that “about 75-80%” of landlords in the city are white and Indian.

Pillay said this was nowhere near reflecting the city’s demographics.

“In terms of our transformation objectives, it is a serious problem. We have to have a radical approach,” he said.

Pillay said the department was engaging with treasury on some policy issues.

“Generally in the property sector for example, we want to propose that buildings that we have available, [are used for] student accommodation.

“We want to put it out that it could be made available preferably for that purpose, and we want the beneficiaries to be 51% black African owners,” he said.

Committee chairman Sipho “KK” Nkosi commended the department for coming up with the proposal.

“If we do not address this issue, our grandchildren will spit at our graves because we are afraid to confront the elephant in the room,” he said.

The committees also raised concerns over “exorbitant” rental prices for office space in Pietermaritzburg, which are “controlled by a few”.

Public Works portfolio committee member Hassan Motala called on the department to “zoom in and underscore” the issue of rentals.

He said every year they had discussed the matter of high rentals and “the cartel, especially, that is controlling rentals in Pietermaritzburg”.

“We are paying exorbitant rentals, even more than market-related rentals,” he said.

Pillay said “buildings cannot be pulled from our back pockets, you have to use what is there”.

He said cartels distort the market.

“That is the market. Most times the market is not really fair. It is supposed to operate according to these economic principles. The procurement process delivers a market related price, but if you benchmark it against the market, generally you will find distortion because the ownership patterns and concentration of ownership distorts,” he said, adding the department was negotiating “to make sure there are reasonable prices”.


THE Department of Public Works has said they are not at fault for any delays in fixing schools that are damaged by storms.

Committee members had asked the department why it took so long to fix schools that are damaged by storms. “When we ask the Department of Education to account for the delay, they indicate that the matter was referred to Public Works and that they are waiting for Public Works,” said committee chairperson Sipho “KK” Nkosi.

MEC Ravi Pillay said he monitors storm damage repairs and his department is not at fault for any delays. “You must understand that the storm damage repairs are effected with a budget from the Department [of Education]. In other words you get a request for the work with the allocation of the relevant budget from that client. It is not something that you do of your own initiative, by virtue of your own mandate. You have to be instructed as an implementing agency with all the scope of work and budget allocation,” he said.

Head of department Roger Govender said some delays had been caused by budget constraints in the Department of Education. “In 2011 we evaluated 257 storm-damaged schools. We did a detailed report that was submitted to the Department of Education. They came back to us and they said we can only do 119 schools; they prioritise the schools, which schools we can do because of budget constraints.

“We evaluated the schools in the 2011 storm damage. That first assessment we did, we are only completing in the 2015/16 financial year. That is three years down the line, because of budget constraints.

“Now I evaluated 357 schools in terms of storm damage. When I get the infrastructure plan, they will tell me which of the 357 schools I can repair,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  housing  |  rent

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.