By: Tebogo Mokwena
Property developer Nthabiseng Sejake believes that the property sector in townships has the potential to grow exponentially, and this is why she decided to strike while the iron is hot. Having worked in the facility management sector, Sejake was exposed to the property environment for years. She started off owning one property, and now has three. Sejake not only wants to provide accommodation but also aims to get involved in business property.
Sejake launched her property business, B Evolusion which trades as Black Evolusion, in 2017. The businesswoman, who is based in Protea Glen in Soweto, told Vutivi News that she started by building a 40-room structure. “Funding was difficult, but thanks to uMaStandi which is a division of TUHF (Trust for Urban Housing Finance), I was able to build my first structure in Protea Glen,” she said. Her hunger for property grew, and soon she bought more property.
She erected a second structure with 10 units, which was used for student accommodation in Protea Glen. She then retired from her job and used her pension payout to purchase her third property, this time in Pimville. It is a four-unit structure and a house and is also used for accommodation. Sejake told Vutivi News that her units were modern. “The properties have alarm systems and are secure. There is wifi, a kitchen sink, wardrobes and a stove,” she said. “There is also an area where residents can braai and entertain people.
“Due to the constant load-shedding, I have had to replace the conventional geysers with solar geysers,” she added. Sejake believes that this sector has huge potential for growth. “The market value for the properties will go up because people cannot afford to buy houses,” she said. “Most of my tenants find themselves in a situation where they are either underqualified for a bond or are overqualified for RDP housing, and so they opt to rent rooms.”
However, Sejake has warned against big businesses moving into townships and ruining the chances of their smaller counterparts. “Most of our challenges lie in bigger companies buying large pieces of land which are sold to them by the government,” she explained. “These big companies are now also looking to provide student accommodation, and they have the advantage of financial muscle and this puts many smaller property owners under threat because we cannot compete.”
Sejake believes that the solution is for the state to protect smaller businesses. “They can section off hectares of land and reserve it for smaller businesses to develop and develop laws that will protect the small businesses as well,” she said. Sejake’s next move is to build office parks for township businesses. “I am already working with investors that are looking to grow with me, and this will mean that I will be able to develop more property in the future,” she said.