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Lehae takes mixed income route
21 August 2008

Over 1 150 of the 2 200 houses built in Lehae have been occupied by approved beneficiary families from targeted informal settlements

The Lehae residential development in the south of Johannesburg will include various types of houses, building a fully integrated community.

The fully subsidised houses include both normal freestanding and semi-detached units
The fully subsidised houses include both normal freestanding and semi-detached units

THE City's drive to eradicate informal settlements has stepped up a notch with the addition of 2 200 affordable houses in Lehae to its stock.

The first phase of the Lehae housing project, Lehae Proper, is almost complete and is expected to yield 3 134 stands. Already, 1 153 of the 2 200 houses have been occupied by approved beneficiary families from targeted informal settlements.

The second phase, or Lehae Extension 1, has started with bulk infrastructure and the contractor for top structures is expected on site in the middle of September. About 7 000 mixed-development housing units consisting of fully subsidised, partially subsidised and bonded homes will be realised. In total, there will be close to 10 000 homes in Lehae when it is complete.

Located in the southwestern quadrant of the intersection of the Golden Highway and the R554 road to Lenasia, Lehae, a greenfield housing project, is being developed in terms of a funding agreement between the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng department of housing.

When work began in 2005, Johannesburg resolved to accommodate beneficiaries from Dlamini Camps 1, 2 and 3, Eikenhof and Thembelihle settlements. Smaller communities from Old Vista, Mshenguville, Orlando East, Orlando Park, St Mary's in Region D, and Kapok in Region G were also targeted to be resettled in Lehae.

Inclusive neighbourhood
At first the entire Lehae project was intended to accommodate only approved and fully subsidised beneficiaries from these settlements. However, its development plans were reviewed after the City and the project developers, took a decision to turn Lehae Extension 1 into an all-inclusive, mixed-income development.

According to a report authored by Walter Melato, the programme implementation and monitoring director in the City's housing department, the project vision was "reviewed during 2005/2006 to incorporate different types of housing products and projects, including bonded housing, into [its] Phase 2".

The City's decision took into account the national Department of Housing's Breaking New Ground initiative to promote mixed and integrated sustainable housing developments. It encourages the principle of developing all-inclusive, mixed-income and mixed-density suburbs, instead of monolithic subsidy townships.

"Johannesburg's department of housing, together with its consultants, have therefore been compelled to review the entire development, and in particular the whole development of Lehae Extension 1 in line with the principles and objectives described in the policy on Breaking New Ground," says the report.

Following this, a new plan was adopted for Lehae Extension 1. Under it, this phase will be developed on a "turnkey" basis, meaning that the City will take responsibility for building all the housing typologies in the extension.

Lehae Extension 1
A 156,32ha site has been set aside for Lehae Extension 1; of this, houses will be built on 30,44 hectares, while the balance will be used for urban agriculture. In all, 6 813 homes are expected to be built on the site, including subsidised, bonded and social housing:

  • Full subsidy housing: 1 281 units;
  • Social housing: 3 513 units; and
  • Bonded housing: 2 019.

There will be a variety of housing types, consisting of freestanding houses of various sizes, semi-detached options and flats. The full subsidy and the social housing components will absorb low-income families.

Joburg will undertake a detailed market survey in the identified informal settlements and in greater Soweto to test affordability and needs against the proposed project model. The new project will then be aligned with the actual identified needs of the residents of the informal settlements to ensure all beneficiaries are accommodated appropriately.

The fully subsidised houses will be both normal freestanding and semi-detached units. Again, the beneficiaries will come from the listed informal settlements.

The social housing options are aimed at low-income families who can afford either to pay a monthly rental or a monthly instalment on a partially financed scheme. This component will be partially subsidised and partially financed. It will comprise semi-detached and multi-storey houses that initially will be owned and managed by a housing institution.

A component of this housing stock will, in future, be converted to full or sectional title ownership when the subsidised beneficiary has paid off the loan portion of his or her home.

To provide a "balanced" living environment, non-residential supportive and community facilities will be included, such as a community hall, library and  municipal pay-points.

Facilities like schools, crèches, churches, a business node, a local economic hub and an agricultural training college are also planned for Lehae, working with the development's partners - the Gauteng departments of education, sports and recreation, housing, local government and health.

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Last Updated on 19 September 2008