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An investigation into the use of land-based financing to fund infrastructure in South Africa

Robert McGaffin (Urban Real Estate Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Francois Viruly (Urban Real Estate Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Luke Boyle (Urban Real Estate Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 21 October 2019

Issue publication date: 15 March 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how the nature of infrastructure as a public good has traditionally lent itself to state provision and to review how land-based financing (LBF) can be used to overcome the public infrastructure funding constraints in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is largely based on a review and analysis of the academic literature, government reports and reports from research institutions such as the World Bank, Department for International Development, Urban Land Institute and the Lincoln Institute.

Findings

The paper finds that although a number of LBF instruments are being used in South Africa, the majority of them are not suited to addressing the current infrastructure funding constraint. However, the paper finds that some LBF mechanisms, such as tax-increment financing (TIF), that are currently not used could play a role provided that certain preconditions are met.

Research limitations/implications

LBF has only partially been implemented in South Africa, thus the paper is limited to exploring the issues, challenges and necessary policy and regulatory changes needed to support LBF.

Practical implications

The review of LBF mechanisms currently being used in South Africa highlights many of their practical limitations. Furthermore, concrete proposals and legislative amendments are proposed in the paper regarding the implementation of additional funding instruments such as TIF.

Social implications

Infrastructure is regarded as a key precondition for socio-economic development. LBF offers a viable and important alternative for fiscally constraint governments in emerging economies to fund infrastructure provision.

Originality/value

The main contribution of the paper is its focus on the use of LBF in the under-researched Sub-Saharan African context.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “Industrial Infrastructure and Real Estate”, guest edited by Professor Seow Eng Ong, Associate Professor Chyi Lin Lee.

Citation

McGaffin, R., Viruly, F. and Boyle, L. (2021), "An investigation into the use of land-based financing to fund infrastructure in South Africa", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 183-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPIF-02-2019-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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