The Gauteng provincial government has signed a memorandum of intent (MoI) with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) for the release of five properties around Constitution Hill, as part of the provincial government's Rapid Land Release Programme.
The agreement, which was signed by Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo and Wits vice-chancellor and principal Professor Adam Habib, paves the way for the university to conduct a due diligence process and feasibility studies, including a financial model, that will result in the buildings being transformed to meet their institutional needs.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mamabolo said the signing of the agreement was an important milestone in the journey of the establishment of a student accommodation precinct in the heart of the City of Johannesburg.
“We are releasing these properties towards the spatial transformation of the area around Constitution Hill. These properties will help us change the space economy of that area and allow us to bring back these buildings of government to drive the economy,” said Mamabolo.
“With this partnership . . . we are leading a way and setting a benchmark using the precinct model of development as the best way to optimise land and space," he added.
Habib said the partnership was an important one in addressing the challenges faced by institutions of higher learning.
“If we are ever going to resolve the student accommodation challenge, then it can’t be done institution by institution, it requires a systemic solution. I want to thank the Gauteng government because they recognise that stakeholders across the public divide need to collaborate,” he said.