Alleviating Poverty Through Housing
A Port Elizabeth
company has reached the finals of a R7-million ($1-million) global
challenge to solve the crisis of creating secure and affordable
shelter for the poor. Over 100 presentations from around the world
were submitted for the 2012 Hult Global Case Challenge, in the
housing category – and just six, including PE’s Moladi Housing
Technology, have made the cut.
Patented by PE
inventor and Moladi founder Hennie Botes, the Moladi model was
presented at the regional final in London earlier this month, by
Kingston University, and the team is now bound, next month, for the
finals in New York.
Started by Hult
international business school, with the aim of finding global
solutions to alleviating poverty, the Hult challenge focuses on
energy, education and housing. The competition is linked to the
Clinton Global Initiative – and one of the judges in New York is
scheduled to be the former US president himself.
It’s a great
feather in the cap for Moladi, and the company is very proud, Botes
"We got a call
from the Kingston team leader Rachel Scotland earlier this year and
she explained that they wanted to present Moladi in the Hult
"Of course we
were very supportive. We sent her a power-point to complement what
she already knew about us. and she created a video titled
‘alleviating poverty through housing’, which is exactly what drives
"She has focused
on Africa, and has called for boldness. We believe her team will
A tool and die
maker by trade, Botes launched Moladi in 1986 on the back of two
interlocking inventions: a plastic "formwork” to shape the walls,
and a chemical additive to mix with the sand and cement. The
additive ensures that, after the mortar has been poured into the
formwork, and then set, the formwork can be removed and the
brick-less walls will stand all that the weather can throw at them,
Like Henry Ford’s
Model T’s that offered a quality guarantee, through
mass-manufacturing to exact specifications a blue-chip type
specimen, Moladi promises exactly that with its "Model M”, he said.
"It means that,
from Mill Park to Motherwell, the standard remains the same. The
size and the finishes deliver the degree of luxury but your walls
should always be of the finest quality.”
and simplicity in the design also ensures that costs can be worked
out precisely, before hand, so bonds are easier to obtain, he noted.
Cost is reduced
because a single formwork can be repeatedly used. If the Moladi team
tackles 50 houses, it will take 14 days to complete. But, with the
carefully synchronised Moladi work plan, the next one can be
finished a day later, and so on. In this way, up to 50 correct
houses can be built in 64 days using just one formwork.
number of formworks and the output increases exponentially so, with
the same approach, in 64 days, with 100 moulds, 5000 correct houses
can be built, he said.
The simplicity of
the technique allows for skills to be transferred relatively quickly
and easily. Efforts are made to use local members of each community
creating each time not only jobs but, when the job is finished,
because of the skills they take away with them, "housing
construction is environmentally friendly because the additive mixed
with the special stone-less cement creates "cork-like” walls, and
their thermal properties ensure less heat loss in Winter, and less
heat trapped in Summer. This means in turn less expenditure needed
on artificially controlling the temperature, and a reduced carbon
footprint, Botes said.
"It overtakes the
old technique of making bricks and then having to transport that
heavy load to the site, plus the breakages incurred and waste of
plaster with the plastering phase.
"With Model M,
only the formwork must be transported to the site. Local sand is
used to mix the cement and, because of the properties of the
additive, the proportion of cement needed in the mix is much less
aim is to improve the quality of housing and at the same time to
allow it to be rolled out much cheaper than the present cost. The
vision also includes creating large-scale employment and training,
with this positive cycle steadily strengthening and entrenching
itself, he said.
There is huge
work to be done to help the poor and get South Africa on a winning
track, he said.
R58-billion worth of badly built RDP homes to fix. Then there is the
2.1-million back-log of homes that must still be built. And you can
add onto that another million "gap sector” South Africans who earn
too much to get a state subsidy – and too little to get a
"And then there
are the schools and clinics and other essential buildings,
especially here in the Eastern Cape.
"We say we will
train the youth to build for the homeless and, in that way, solve
several big problems at one time.”
The company is
building houses around the world from South America to the
Philippines, and in 10 African countries. Back home in PE, they are
working on just one private affordable housing project in
Bridgemead, but have so far not been able to forge any partnerships
with government, despite their efforts to do so.
scenario might finally have changed for the better, with a positive
meeting last week with the housing department.
holistically is what is needed, he said.
"At the moment
our ministers are only looking at the problems in their departments.
We can use Moladi and sustainable building to stimulate education
and job creation and to deliver much needed infrastructure across
the housing, health, public works and education departments.”
To pull together
this "golden thread”, Botes envisages a Moladi College, and he is
talking to the authorities about the possibility of establishing
this facility at Coega.