In this story we meet Solly Ramalamula and showcase one of the properties he owns, Verena Court in Primrose. This property was financed through TUHF, an investment in several of our funds. TUHF provides ﬁnance to entrepreneurs from all walks of life to purchase and subsequently convert or refurbish buildings in the inner cities of South Africa to affordable residential units available for rental.
Solly Ramalamula’s belief in the importance of safety, security and cleanliness, along with his hard work, entrepreneurial tenacity and TUHF’s assistance, has enabled him to leave his former occupation as a policeman to become the proud owner of five TUHF-financed properties, the first of which was purchased in 2010.
Verena Court in Primrose is one such property. Drawing on his policeman’s pension and funding from TUHF, Solly’s company, Take Shape, purchased Verena Court in 2012. Painted in Take Shape’s signature blue and purple, Verena Court stands cheerfully on a corner with the sounds of children playing behind the secure fence and neighbours happily chatting, content in the knowledge that the building is well maintained and a safe place to live.
The property comprises several building configurations, including a block of flats with 18 one-and-a-half bedroom units, a house and two semi-detached buildings, which total 18 rooms. The block of flats also has a small supermarket on the ground floor that provides residents and neighbours with their daily needs. In addition, Primrose Mall is only a short walk away, allowing tenants the convenience of a mall offering within their community. Solly employs an on-site caretaker and a cleaner to maintain the property, while the family-run supermarket provides employment to four people.
After purchasing Verena Court, Solly repainted the inside and outside of the flats and made other minor changes to uplift the building. The house and semi-detached buildings, however, needed major development. Solly installed access control, as well as a gate with remote control for tenants who wish to park their cars on the property. Solly met with residents before beginning refurbishments to explain his vision for a clean and secure living environment. Although this meant a substantial increase in monthly rentals,Solly explained that most of the tenants chose to stay on and appreciate the recently installed access control and well-maintained environment. As one resident said, “I like it here, it’s safe and clean.” The rooms are rented out for between R800 – R1 300 per month, while the apartments are let, mainly to families, for R2 800 per month, with an additional levy for parking.
Owing to Solly’s success in managing his own properties to such high standards, other property entrepreneurs looking for advice often approach him. Now, in addition to Take Shape Properties, which owns his five properties, Solly also runs Take Shape Property Management, which assists a number of property entrepreneurs, including some of TUHF’s other clients, in managing their properties.