PURPOSE: A significant shift in the perceptions of the value of publically owned land in South Africa has occurred in the last decade. Up until the turn of the century, public land not quarantined for municipal use was typically regarded as surplus land with low or minimal value. The disposal of such land was typically executed as an administrative process, often with the main objective of reducing the cost of maintenance of such surplus land to the public authority.

With the saturation of traditional property nodes during the South African property boom, investors and developers began exploring emerging property markets in areas such as townships and rural areas dominated by public land ownership. Large areas of public land became in demand for commercial development. This demand brought private sector property developers and the public land administrators into close and sustained contact, and triggered an evolving reconsideration of the value of surplus public land.

Despite a large evolutions leap, the understanding of the value of public land and in particular the logistics of extracting maximum returns in property development projects remains underdeveloped.

In order to further the understanding the City of Joburg Property Company has together with the UCT established a Public Land Development Research Project (PLDRP) focused on researching issues particular to the property development on public land.

The presentation to Afres in September 2015 will introduce the research project, present details on the research agenda together with preliminary desktop finding of the project. The presentation will also solicit further issues from participants which could be added to the research agenda.

DESIGN / METHODS FOLLOWED/ APPROACH: The Public Land Development Research Project (PLDRP) will focus on researching a collection key issues confronting public officials attempting to extract maximum value in property development projects on public land. It is planned that the Project will operate for a number of years with a defined research agenda set on an annual basis.