Vusi Radebe, technical executive for integrated infrastructure at consulting engineering company, GIBB, is no stranger to the South African property sector.
He has held several positions within the public sector and now this property expert says the public sector will continue to be the main demand driver for infrastructure in South Africa for many years to come.
“As a result, GIBB’s Integrated Infrastructure sector is shifting away from being primarily focused on housing developments to being focused on initiating, facilitating and managing the development of holistic infrastructure services including building schools, hospitals and other human settlements supporting public facilities,” he says.
Remarking on some of the projects currently undertaken by his team, Radebe says the Integrated Infrastructure sector is currently involved in developing a master plan for a nursing education institution.
“Through the Development Bank of Southern Africa, we have also assisted the Gauteng Department of Health to craft a business plan for revitalising Sebokeng and Tambo Memorial Hospitals,” he said.
In addition, GIBB is the project manager and implementing agent for the Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing’s Mapetla Hostel upgrade, a five-year project, with a R800-million price tag.
Furthermore, the company is assisting the department with the planning of the Dobsonville Hostel upgrade.
“The actual design has been completed and we are currently awaiting further instructions from the client. Owing to space constraints, the hostel cannot be upgraded at its current location – alternate land has to be identified and secured,” says Radebe, who took over GIBB’s property portfolio when it was R16m and grew it to the current R52m.
Radebe studied politics and international relations at Rhodes University. His first job was with the Standerton Transitional Local Council (TLC) as assistant clerk in 1995 and worked his way up to assistant director.
As assistant director, Radebe’s main focus was to address the housing crisis. He was tasked with property management and responsible for transforming informal settlements into low-cost housing developments. This entailed assisting the municipality to acquire land, identify and plan for informal settlements upgrades as well as giving people rights to property.
In 1998, Radebe joined the Highveld Ridge TLC as assistant director of Housing. He was mandated to drive and manage the municipal process of formalising and upgrading six large informal settlements in eMbalenhle Township. The informal settlements were homes to 16 000 households and took five years to complete.
In 2001, he was tasked to drive a municipal programme to convert municipal-owned hostels at eMbalenhle and Mzinoni Townships to family units.
In 2003, he moved to Mogale City where he was the director responsible for heading the housing department, which was in charge of the planning and implementation of housing projects.
He headed one of the most dynamic and committed teams of municipal officials, which initiated and managed projects such as the Chief Mogale Integrated Human Settlement (funded by Absa Devco, valued at R1.2 billion), Munsieville Urban Upgrade, Kagiso Hostel Upgrading, Tarlton, Magaliesburg, Hekpoort and Mulderdrift Rural Housing Initiatives, including the Krugersdorp West (Moth site) Integrated Human Settlements.
Radebe's path crossed with Richard Vries, group chief executive of what was then called Arcus GIBB.
“GIBB, as a technical resource group, had been mandated by the Gauteng Department of Housing to look at the feasibility of developing social housing in Krugersdorp. Vries ultimately offered me a position at GIBB and I joined the company in March 2008,” recalls Radebe.
Giving back to his community
When not driving the human settlement agenda, Radebe can be found at home relaxing with his family or playing golf.
He participates in an adopt-a-child programme, which seeks to provide financial support to children from poor backgrounds.
“I adopted two children and I support them financially and in other ways. They are both based in the Limpopo Province.
"But charity should begin at home, which is why I am currently investigating a worthy charity that I can also support back home in Mpumalanga,” he adds.
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