Developing residential entrepreneurship in Yeoville

Yeoville prides itself on being a thoroughly Pan-African community. Its residents hail from various parts of the continent, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Angola and Zimbabwe, to name a few. Its earlier incarnation as a largely Jewish suburb also contributes to today’s terrain, and a handful of synagogues still operate in the area. This vibrant, dynamic part of Johannesburg thrives as a so-called ‘third economy’. Much commercial activity takes place at street level while the suburb as a whole is kept alive by its multi-cultural mix.

Soweto-born Sibusiso Maphisa believes in this vibrancy. He has, with the assistance of TUHF, acquired a building in Yeoville and, through his new project, is sharpening his entrepreneurial skills. Still under construction, the building lies in the heart of St. George’s Street and is imbued with social and economic promise. It is located just a few metres away from a Rea Vaya bus stop and close to schools and shops.

Due to the popularity of the area, rooms are often rented out in ‘illegal’ buildings, causing overcrowding, with multiple families sharing small spaces. This situation sparked Sibusiso’s social foresight. He has embarked on a development venture that will provide safe living conditions. “The amazing thing about Yeoville is that I don’t have to painstakingly look for clients,” Sibusiso says. “There is always a supply of people in need of accommodation.”

Sibusiso’s story is one of entrepreneurial tenacity and offers inspiration for young entrepreneurs wanting to get into the property business.
“I had aspirations to own a business while in high school and went into repairing shoes for Sowetan locals to gain enough money to acquire a driver’s licence,” he says. “From there, I became a taxi driver. I finally had the courage to apply for a job at the City of Joburg. After landing the job, I bought my first property in Cosmo City. This led to a deeper interest in property as a whole. I met with a TUHF official and voiced my interest in acquiring space in Yeoville. Things took shape from there.”

Sibusiso’s venture as a property owner has led to the development of two separate dwellings on his St George’s Street property. The original ‘main house’ has seven units and a new built section at the back offers eight bachelor units. The bachelor flats outside feature a clever separation of the bedroom and kitchen. Rental for these units is R2 500 per month, while the main house’s self-contained units offer each tenant their own bathroom and kitchen, all for an affordable R1 900 monthly rental.
Sibusiso’s partnership with TUHF has created a learning curve for the new property entrepreneur, gaining knowledge about the finer details of property ownership along the way. Sibusiso has worked in active collaboration with TUHF through interactions with structural engineers, City Power and other stakeholders.

“One thing that I’ve come to appreciate while working
with TUHF is that they require brutal honesty from an entrepreneur,” he says. “I have had to make my intentions crystal clear and meet my TUHF loan manager halfway. I have also had to make sure the residences are always safe and secure, and TUHF’s standards and the promises we as entrepreneurs make in the market are lived up to. This, for me, is probably the most exciting part of the whole venture.”
From our 2015 Integrated Annual Report

Developing residential entrepreneurship in Yeoville