DM168

BUSINESS MAVERICK 168

South African company to build homes for Ghana’s public servants

Moladi founder Hennie Botes. (Photo: Moladi Construction)

Modular construction firm Moladi says it will be delivering 60,000 houses to Ghanaians in 10 years.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

South African modular construction firm Moladi has signed an agreement with three major public servant associations in Ghana to deliver 60,000 houses to teachers, healthcare workers and municipal workers over an initial 10-year period.

This follows similar but smaller agreements in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon. Madagascar also has plans to develop three new cities with 20,000 homes per city and has expressed interest.

The Moladi building system is less expensive than traditional brick and mortar. It comprises a reusable plastic formwork mould, which is filled with stoneless concrete and a special chemical additive. The additive ensures that once the mortar is set, the formwork can be removed – and reused up to 50 times.

 Recyclability and simplicity help to keep construction costs down. The model also allows for rapid construction as the wall structure can be completed in a day.

Recyclability and simplicity help to keep construction costs down. (Photo: Moladi Construction)

Moladi founder Hennie Botes estimates Moladi’s construction costs at R4,030/m², compared with the Statistics SA average of R7,000/m². As the construction technique is simple, skills can be transferred to the local communities in a short time.

“Don’t speak to me about the Fourth Industrial Revolution when there are 12 million unemployed people in South Africa alone,” says Botes. “It is not the 4IR that is going to get people to work. We have neglected the jobs at the base of the pyramid.

“Not everyone is good with maths and science. We need to start producing doors, window frames and roof sheets for ourselves  instead of importing them from China. If we do not produce jobs for the people at the base of the pyramid, that does not bode well for our 800,000 unemployed graduates at the top of the pyramid.” In Ghana, the intention is to build 6,000 houses on government-allocated land in the first year.

Moladi’s plastic formwork mould. (Photo: Moladi Construction)

To streamline the process, Moladi has established a home loan division that works with banks and other donor funding organisations to offer bonds to qualifying public servants for terms of 10, 15 or 20 years.

It then works with those who have qualified, to determine which home design best suits their budget. The homes will cost $15,000 (R222,000), $20,000 (R295,400) and $25,000 (R369,250) for 45m², 55m² and 78m², respectively.

The monthly mortgage will be deducted by the government (the employer) and transferred to moladiHomeLoan and the dividend paid to the banks or investors.

Despite his passion for job creation and low-cost infrastructure, Botes has had more success elsewhere in Africa than in South Africa, where Moladi has been limited to building classrooms for the departments of education in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.

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  • The resistance to alternative building methods in S.A. needs investigation and change. Donations from the particular industries might explain the absolute rejection by government in South Africa. The RDP houses that have been built symbolise the failure to innovate or even consider alternatives. Respect to Mr Hennie Botes. Perhaps DM could run an article about how banks and local authorities have been forced to accept prefab and modular homes.

  • Everything about this article is marvelous! Our government needs to wake up and take note! Well done to this chap Botes…when he lists Moladi Construction on the Cape Town exchange, I’m buying!!!!

  • Mr Hennie Botes is 100% correct about the jobs. I had a masters lecturer at university that always said to us, “It’s all about jobs and job creation, stupid!”

  • For me, the last sentence beginning: “despite his passion for job creation..” points with arrow-like accuracy at the RSA national dilemma: he is white! Therefore he might ‘build a few classrooms, all within acceptable tender prices’ and no further!
    The tragic comedy that is ‘sub-economic houses in RSA’ has been laughed at in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivore, Senegal, Guinea, inter alia West African nations – I heard it spoken, and laughed at, often in Port Harcourt. In particular the source of humour was Tokyo Sexwale who made a statement as the 1st new premier of Gauteng, that ‘we will build a million houses’…roars of laughter emanated from the group at the old Blue Elephant pub in P Harcourt, with oil workers from all West African states patronising the place regularly! And as for housing quality… of course for me the irony was the FACT that so many buildings n Port Harcourt, ground plus 3/4 were condemned for the blocks were measured short of fines AND concrete!
    But, Ghana has been getting so many things right of late…at last. Well done Botes!!, and good luck further!

  • The resistance is part of corrupt vested interest in the value chain of construction by politicians, business and officials in government. Some are also due to antiquated training by technical experts in government who are resistant to change and write policies, regulations and specifications for tenders/contracts that exclude innovation which meet standards.

  • Excellent work to Mr Hennie Botes, an innovator and realist I agree with. All this focus in pie in the sky 4IR while I can’t get a plumber, carpenter and importing all things from China is unrealistic for this country.

    It’s quite strange that there’s locally available technology that is cheaper for building but is ignored here while it can save most and the taxpayer thousands.

    “Don’t speak to me about the Fourth Industrial Revolution when there are 12 million unemployed people in South Africa alone, It is not the 4IR that is going to get people to work. We have neglected the jobs at the base of the pyramid. Not everyone is good with maths and science. We need to start producing doors, window frames and roof sheets for ourselves instead of importing them from China.” Possibly the quote of the decade, now how do we send this to parliament?