TUHF Stories

On the 7th of July 2020, Mahlatse Kekana, Junior Portfolio Manager at TUHF joined Private Property’s podcast series on Facebook. Hosted by Zamantungwa Khumalo, Mahlatse featured as the guest speaker to discuss entrepreneurial success tips in commercial real estate. 

“The first thing that TUHF looks for before processing a loan application, is a fit for that particular entrepreneur or enterprise. TUHF has what we call a character-based lending strategy which means that we look at the character as well as, the background and abilities of the person behind the deal.” Mahlatse explained.

TUHF will also assess:

– Whether the deal is commercially viable, i.e. does the deal make commercial sense?

– Whether the loan that it gives you can be paid back from the income that will be generated from the particular property

Over and above, TUHF’s financing process can be summarised in 8 steps

Step 1. Identify an inner-city area in which you would like to invest, in line with your knowledge & experience

Step 2. Find an existing building or site for a new building

Step 3. Do your research by gathering information to prepare for your meeting with a TUHF Consultant

Step 4. Apply for TUHF finance

Step 5. Begin the credit approval phase

Step 6. Meet the conditions of the approval & sign loan agreement

Step 7. Registration of property takes place & construction starts

Step 8. Construction complete, rent up and cyclical processes

In concluding TUHF’s steps of lending, Mahlatse mentioned that some of the most successful property entrepreneurs are those who buy correctly at the correct price. “You have to buy properties that suit your risk appetite and capabilities. The most successful entrepreneurs are street level and they have a network of real estate agents, developers, and financiers. Platforms like Private Property provide a basis for entrepreneurs to find property. But it’s when you really start engaging with your peers and fellow entrepreneurs that you start finding what a good transaction looks like” Mahlatse added.

Zamantungwa and Mahlatse continued the conversation by discussing other factors that property buyers should be mindful of when buying property in the inner city. Mahlatse explained that finding the right deal, or property is not easy, and this means that people will often enough have to let go off a few properties before finding the one more suitable for them. Mahlatse highlighted that even though you may not come with a feasible proposal in the beginning, TUHF is still able to assist you find the right deal.

TUHF is also able to fund property entrepreneurs in township areas of South Africa through its uMaStandi product offering. uMaStandi launched in 2017 and it finances township entrepreneurs.

“In summary, the best advice that I can give in closing to property entrepreneurs who want to succeed in the real estate property market is firstly; you should start small then go big, secondly; always interrogate purchase prices and lastly; be conservative in your estimates.” Mahlatse concluded.

More Information:

Podcast link https://www.facebook.com/propertysa/videos/736971557117321

Learn more about TUHF https://www.tuhf.co.za/

Learn more about uMaStandi https://umastandi.co.za/

Get to know Mahlatse Kekana – LinkedIn https://cutt.ly/qpq4hCx


Streetlight Schools: Growing Grade by Grade in Jeppestown

Jeppestown, Johannesburg
  • TUHF Product
Intuthuko Equity Fund and purchase plus construction finance.

Jeppestown, Johannesburg

Johannesburg, 03 March 2020 – From humble beginnings as an after-school programme, housed in a small storeroom in Bjala Square, Streetlight Schools’ flagship Jeppe Park Primary has grown to an innovative, 4 Star Green Star rated primary school for Grades R-5.

“Jeppe Park Primary fully embodies the concept of impact through scale,” says Lusanda Netshitenzhe, Development Impact Manager at TUHF. “It has not only converted a disused shoe factory into a globally competitive school that provides quality education in one of the most underserved communities in South Africa – but has also integrated with the local community so extensively as to have a far-reaching impact on the surrounding area.”

For example, the professional team involved in designing and building the school’s facilities sourced much of the construction and fitout materials used in the primary school campus, as well as a third of the construction team, from within a 200m radius.

In addition, much of the school’s teaching staff share similar backgrounds to the learners and have been trained by Streetlight Schools to enter the teaching profession for the first time (with help from Instil Education, Reggio Emilia Alliance and more). These two examples have created work opportunities for Jeppestown residents and involved the local community in the school’s development every step of the way.

The school’s presence also played a key role in the refurbishment of Jeppe Park across the road, where the community and municipality got involved to improve safety for the children, most of whom walk to and from school.

The school has grown with its pupils. “We started with just 70 Grade R learners in 2016, and we’ve grown a Grade every year,” says David Fu, CEO of Streetlight Schools.

In 2018, when Streetlight Schools approached TUHF for a grant through its CSI fund, the school had grown to 261 learners from Grade R-4.

TUHF’s grant of R 150 000 has funded the addition of two new Grade 5 classes, allowing 2019’s Grade 4s to move on to their next year of education at the school. The grant also allowed for the addition of a third Grade 1 class to meet the demand at the early stages, so that Jeppe Park Primary now caters for 315 learners in total.

This isn’t TUHF’s first contribution to Jeppe Park Primary’s development. “In the early days, TUHF helped us build the playground, both in the form of materials donated and time from a number of employees,” Fu confirms.

TUFH is invested in Bjala Square too, enabling the school’s landlord to make an even more meaningful impact in the area, and on the school itself.

Bjala’s aquaponics farm provides Streetlight Schools with a stimulating space for its extracurricular activities, effectively creating an outdoor classroom for the kids. School-ground greening and the rooftop farm brings learning about nature to life, while the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability incorporates recycling to teach children about waste, and art projects using discarded materials teach them about repurposing.

“It’s such a pleasure to see two of our major investments in inner-city regeneration support each other and meld together so effectively,” says Netshitenzhe.

Fu agrees; “Bjala has given us the backbone and stability we need to operate a school here for generations to come. They even subsidised our rent here in the early days, which really helped us to get established.”

The school’s future includes three more classrooms, indoor play courtyards, additional bathrooms and a staff room for middle school teachers, as well as expansions to the library and a new computer room. Jeppe Park Primary aims to grow to 500 learners, doubling its impact in the community and beyond.


@Fourteenth brings colourful affordable accommodation to Boksburg CBD

  • TUHF Product
Intuthuko Equity Fund and purchase plus construction finance.

Boksburg, Johannesburg

February 2020 – A project funded by TUHF, @Fourteenth is a bright new residential complex that offers affordable accommodation within the Boksburg CBD.

Situated opposite the Boksburg Municipality Customer Care Centre on Trichardts Road, the building was originally a mixed-use structure containing retail facilities on the ground floor and residential units on the first and second floors. However, the building had not seen successful retail undertakings for some time and was rundown. When the building was put on the market for sale, local resident and property entrepreneur, Leroy Slava, recognised an opportunity and set upon a project to not only give the building a facelift, but a new purpose.

“I own property not far from @Fourteenth that I rent out and for years, when I had been near that part of town to oversee my other property, I had driven past the original building and noticed the rapid turnover of retail tenants. I often wondered if the building would have been better suited to a different use,” says Slava. “So, when the building came up for sale in 2018 I saw this as an investment opportunity; to buy the building and convert it to a full residential rental building. I contacted TUHF for property finance as I knew this was exactly the kind of inner-city property project that TUHF has the appetite to invest in.”

“We had spoken to Leroy before about similar opportunities and were thrilled when this project met our criteria so that we could move forward,” says Khumbulani Chikomo from TUHF. “Leroy knows the Boksburg inner city, has demonstrated his property management skills and has a good track record of providing good customer service and maintaining his properties well.”

TUHF provided financing to the value of R 8.3 million for purchase of the property as well as construction, refurbishment and professional fees to complete the conversion in full. The retail floor had to be converted to create residential units, and the original residential units had to be reconfigured from large 100 m2 units to smaller units of various sizes in order to increase capacity and ensure maximum impact.

“The experience of working with TUHF has been great,” says Slava. “I rent out and manage a few smaller properties, but this was my first conversion development project and property of this scale, so it was a real learning opportunity for me too, and the team from TUHF was very supportive and helpful.”

“They went above and beyond, not just in terms of helping to establish financial feasibility but also in terms of advising on risk management. In particular, the service providers that TUHF recommended –– were a pleasure to work with.”

The building not only showed promise to be economically sustainable but fully meets TUHF’s vision of achieving ‘impact through scale’. Besides the Municipality’s Customer Care Centre, the building is situated close to the Boksburg Public Library, two schools, retail facilities, several local businesses and one of Colgate Palmolive’s satellite offices. This makes it ideally located to have a positive impact on the area and provide good quality residential space with access to all the necessary amenities.

The newly renovated @Fourteenth consists of 31 residential units, ranging from bachelor studios to 2-bedroom apartments. The refurbishment was completed recently and opened for tenanting in the first week of February 2020 – and Slava as the owner and landlord is confident that the new @Fourteenth will offer a good return on investment.

“I’m especially proud of the fact that I received an invitation to enter the 2019 Investor of the Year Awards from the SA Property Investors Network for this project – and had made it to being named a finalist for the Award. And the support and guidance I received from the team at TUHF went a long way to making that possible too. I expect @Fourteenth to be fully tenanted in the coming months – and I’m already looking forward to my next project with TUHF,” concludes Slava.


Spotting the hidden potential in Nelson Mandela Bay

North End, Port Elizabeth
  • TUHF Product
Intuthuko Equity Fund and purchase plus construction finance.

North End, Port Elizabeth

A mere stone’s throw away from the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and the Transnet Port, sits Trafalgar Square, the newly renovated two-storey apartment block providing affordable housing to Port Elizabeth’s North End suburb. Striking in bright green and yellow, the property stands as a symbol of rejuvenation for Port Elizabeth’s inner city. Spotting the opportunity to bolster their property business, while simultaneously helping to clean up the city and providing accommodation for city residents, Musa waShe Nyasha and Paballo Shai leapt at the chance to redevelop the building, despite the challenges present.


Although Musa and Paballo had some of their own capital to invest input into the project, they needed further equity funding support. TUHF supported them with the senior debt for the property but more importantly

TUHF’s Intuthuko Equity Fund made the project feasible through complementing their equity to make up the 20% required. This is their second property financed by TUHF, but the first with this scale of redevelopment. For many years, the building sat in a state of complete disrepair and informal dumping site across the road. The site, a mixture of broken furniture, old mattresses and building rubble, compounded the eyesore that was the dilapidated Trafalgar Square building.

Today, however, the building stands proud as a testimony to entrepreneurial accomplishment. All 16 units in the building have been renovated from one-bedroom to two-bedroom apartments. The original wooden floors have been restored to their former glory, and the high ceilings and open-plan living areas provide comfortable accommodation for tenants. Members of the community have relished the new life that

Trafalgar Square has breathed into the area and have noticed a drop in crime since its completion.

Trafalgar Square has a steady stream of enquiries from potential tenants and the owner has had to provide minimal advertising as existing tenants recruit their friends and colleagues to move into this well-run building.

Original configuration: 16 one-bedroom units of 57m² each
Configuration upon completion: 16 two-bedroom units of 57m² each