SA Affordable Housing November / December 2021 - Page 5

NEWS

Industry body advises rethink of property development investment

By ASAQS
In the wake of the July incidences of looting and destruction , we need to rethink the role property development can play in addressing a variety of socio-economic issues in South Africa , says Mosha Senyolo , newly elected Vice-President of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors ( ASAQS ).

Senyolo adds ,“ Before we can talk about feasible solutions , we must first understand the unique South African problem that we actually need to solve .

“ Saying that no one would want to invest in South Africa due to socio-economic instability isn ’ t likely to inspire those in need of help to make different choices ,” says Senyolo . “ We should rather have conversations about how we are going to get people to understand how infrastructure and property developments coming from outside their community benefit them .”
“ In addition to this , social responsibility should be at the forefront when rethinking how the sector approaches property development , for example ,” says Larry Feinberg , Executive Director of the ASAQS . “ To sustainably address the unique South African challenges , the property sector will be required to take on social responsibility that goes beyond just – for example – skills development .”
This proposed focus on increased social responsibility aligns with the ESG trend where investors consider the financial return and the environmental , social and governance aspects of projects and companies they invest in .
“ There are opportunities to assist people to start businesses and allow them to thrive without the usual capital constraints that goes with running a business that requires a physical location .”
“ For example , an office space developer could allocate a small rent-free portion to a business that just needs a physical location at a great address to give them an edge ,” explains Feinberg . Similarly , a retail developer could allocate a small rent-free portion to spaza-type shops , allowing the shop owners to benefit from the foot traffic of the established brands located in the mall .”
“ Collaboration between the public and private sector will be key to bringing these important changes about ,” says Senyolo . Keith Skinner , newly elected ASAQS President , agrees with Senyolo . “ Going forward , social responsibility and local community inclusivity are key to new property developments providing good returns in respect of benefits to the community , planet and being profitable investments .”
“ We can ’ t wait for some undefined point in the future ; we need to rethink our approach to the inclusion of local communities in the new property developments process now !” According to Skinner , Quantity Surveyors can support the inclusion of local community involvement in the construction phases of a project without it necessarily being a financial burden to the project . The education , training and knowledge base required of Professional Quantity Surveyors ( PrQS ) equips them to implement clearly defined – and well documented – procurement processes .
“ Quantity Surveyors are well placed to effect and manage financial governance and reporting processes on projects ,” explains Skinner . “ Thorough financial control minimises opportunities for fruitless expenditure and corrupt activities , thus ensuring that funds are utilised efficiently , and to the maximum benefit of both investors and communities .”
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