'Government – the largest land and property owner – can unlock all that wealth'

The South African government is the largest property owner in South Africa, argues Propertiq cofounder Brian Azizollahoff.

pixabay.com, 2019

Its property portfolio is worth a breathtaking R1.5 trillion, he says, more than the total listed property sector with assets valued at about R1 trillion.

Government is also the largest owner of land in South Africa, according to Azizollahoff.

Unlocking all that wealth would result in a stimulus package the likes of which this country has never seen.

His suggestion?

The government should aggregate its property portfolio and list it on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as a listed property company such as Resilient and Growthpoint.

(Also, read: "Call to government: Unlock R1.5trn property portfolio to boost economy – Brian Azizollahoff")

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Azizollahoff about his ideas.

Government is overwhelmingly the largest property owner in the county. Predominantly buildings, in many forms. Hospitals, railway stations and even something as mundane as public toilets.

Brian Azizollahoff, cofounder - Propertiq

My idea is… one takes a portfolio of buildings owned by the government… it could be healthcare facilities; it could be offices… One lists the portfolio as a normal property company. The government remains on as the tenant, signing a long lease with the company. It effectively becomes like a government bond underpinned by South African government leases. One then offers shares in that company to the public… You encourage the public to own the properties that the Government is the tenant of. The proceeds go back into the Fiscus…

Brian Azizollahoff, cofounder - Propertiq

There’s no single person who is enriched or one small group that is enriched… It’s privatisation, but you’re putting ownership into the hands of the masses as opposed to the hands of the few… I find it very sad that people can’t look past the politics.

Brian Azizollahoff, cofounder - Propertiq

For more detail, listen to the interview in the audio below.


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Government – the largest land and property owner – can unlock all that wealth'


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