Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

The City of Johannesburg says it has identified 37 abandoned factories in the city that it plans to “expropriate” to convert into low-cost, affordable housing.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said this came after the council’s resolution last year to make 84 city-owned properties available for the creation of quality low-income housing in the inner city.

Mashaba said the 84 buildings would generate an expected R21bn in investment, 11,000 construction sector jobs and over 6,000 affordable housing units.

“Following on this success in the inner city, the multi-party government has now identified 37 abandoned factories across the city, specifically those located in areas in desperate need of housing opportunities.

“Arising from their large stand sizes, the yield of these properties will offer nearly 3,000 housing opportunities in multi-storey buildings,” Mashaba said in a statement.

He said the abandoned factories that had been identified were located in Kew, Devland, Rabie Ridge, Doornfontein, Booysens and Nancefield.

Mashaba said 16 of the buildings were near Alexandra, offering a much-needed opportunity to reduce the density of settlement in the under-developed township.

He said the municipality would prepare a proposal to council in August, which would allow the city to begin the legal proceedings to expropriate these properties as abandoned buildings.

Mashaba said these buildings would be expropriated within the existing legal framework of the constitution.

“For this we will utilise the fact that they are abandoned, owners are untraceable and monies owing on these properties exceed their value.”

Mashaba said once the expropriations were approved by council, the city would be able to put these properties out to the private sector and award them on the criteria that achieved the largest number of residential units, the lowest rentals, the highest job creation and investment.

Mashaba said the City of Johannesburg had previously sought to tackle the housing backlog with a reliance upon RDP housing.

But he said that RDP housing could not even begin to reduce the housing shortage, he said.

“Our residents cannot wait for dreams of new cities to materialise in the distant future, if at all,” Mashaba said.