Property charter process launched

South Africa's Property and Construction Charter, aimed at transforming the industry and advancing the aims of black economic empowerment (BEE), will come into effect in June 2005, Deputy Director General of the Department of Public Works, Lydia Bici said on Monday.

The process to establish the charter was launched in Johannesburg on Monday by Public Works Minister Stella Sigcau, who said it was acknowledged that too little transformation had taken place in the property sector over the past decade.

She added that the industry was indispensable to infrastructure development which was integral to poverty alleviation and economic growth.

Social infrastructure includes houses, roads, schools and other public buildings, while economic infrastructure comprises airports, shopping malls and hospitality infrastructure.

Encouraging BEE

"The transformation of our society and our economy became the government's main focus to entrench democracy, cultivate patriotism, promote growth and alleviate poverty and empowerment hence our announcement today to launch a process that will culminate in the transformation of the property industry and the adoption of a transformation charter," Sigcau said.

The charter, she said, would seek to cultivate an environment that promoted broad-based black economic empowerment and brought about meaningful changes in ownership, control, skills development, employment, equity, procurement, enterprise development and corporate social investment.

Development of rural lands

The lack of development in the former homelands and black townships would be one of the issues addressed by the charter, Sigcau added.

The government expected the construction industry to set targets to achieve charter objectives.

The Property Sector Transformation Charter Committee, chaired by Andy Ntondi, consists of seven national bodies: the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners, the South African Property Owners Association, the Women's Property Network, the Estate Agents Affairs Board, the South African Black Technical and Allied Career Organisation, the South African Council of Shopping Centres and the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa.

Limpopo MEC for public works, Collins Chabane said the challenge the committee faced was ensuring that communal land was evaluated properly and that rural communities would be able to use this as collateral while at the same time ensuring that "land sharks" did not take advantage and grab the land, leaving the communities destitute and landless.

Article by: Shoks Mzolo