Community and Charity

Innovative partnerships can drive empowerment initiatives in the property sector

Standard Bank is partnering with Resilient Property Income Fund Limited, Capital Property Fund Limited and Fortress Income Fund Limited, who are key participants in the success of the Siyakha Education Trust.

The Siyakha Education Trust recently received a billion rand in its third debt facility from Standard Bank which reflects how innovative financing can be used to help develop black empowerment initiatives in the property sector that benefit broader communities, says Standard Bank.

Standard Bank was involved in two earlier debt facilities, where approximately R400m was raised in total, before this third billion rand debt facility was completed earlier this year.

“What makes this funding rare in the context of the property sector, where lending usually takes place against mortgages, is that this lending took place against shares as collateral. This provides Siyakha with leverage and introduces third party debt facilities to its funding sources,” says Colin Murphy, Head of Structured Debt for Real Estate at Standard Bank.

The structure also means the Trust, which is the educational initiative of the above property funds, continues to grow its independent funding capability.
According to Mr Murphy, the Siyakha initiative is playing an important role in broad-based empowerment and community development. Apart from creating a BEE shareholding in the three respective funds, the true benefit of the Siyakha initiative is that it is about supporting education.

“It is this type of partnering that allows us to provide our clients with innovative solutions in meeting their strategic objectives”, said Mr Murphy. “The distribution of surpluses is not specific to one group of beneficiaries. It is about finding a suitable need which Siyakha is well placed to support. It shows how well a partnership approach can work,” he says.

Ms Keziah Venter, COO of Siyakha Educational Trust says “The word “Siyakha” means “we are building” in isiZulu, building on the future of the youth. The Siyakha Education Trust sees itself as an “academic investor” that is passionate about uplifting and inspiring the youth.”

The Trust collaborates with the schools in the areas in which it operates and partnerships with other brands on a national, provincial and district level are being developed, as the Trust looks to penetrate further into the rest of the country.

One of the main features of the initiative is a “think tank” concept, which caters for 30 users at a time. Within these labs computers are formed into hive and tree shapes, while “quick-fix pillars” of 4 tablets per structure are also made available. The tablets cater for people who need a quick solution such checking e-mails, Internet banking or on-line shopping. There is also a “study bar”, which is a long table structure where people can bring and use their own devices.

Over 80 schools have benefited directly from the Trust with either computer or science labs. A career guide has been developed and has been distributed through South Africa with over one million copies.

“Stakeholders are beginning to notice the benefits of an initiative like the Siyakha Education Trust,” says Mr Murphy. “We are proud to be associated with the trust and the sponsors in the focus on education.”