The largest pension fund in Africa – the South Africa Government Employees Pension Fund – has invested $730 in home loans in a bid to boost access to housing for low-income earners and government workers.
The investment will be done by the Public Investment Corp. on behalf of the GEPF, according to a statement distributed in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Of the funds, 5 billion rand is earmarked for civil servants, 2 billion rand will be allocated to affordable housing for low-income earners, 2 billion rand to help SA Home Loans extend mortgages to other qualifying applicants, and 1.5 billion rand for affordable housing developers.
“We can make good financial returns,” Dries de Wit, vice chairman of the GEPF, said at a presentation in Johannesburg. Housing is key to economic development, stimulates the demand for goods and services, and will help grow the economy, he said.
In South Africa, with unemployment at 27 percent, there have been increased protests over a lack of decent housing, access to finance and the slow pace of land reform since the end of apartheid in 1994. The GEPF’s initiative will be available to its 1.2 million active members who qualify for credit and will also yield social returns with loans extended at competitive rates, the pension fund said.