The Herald Online **News**

The Herald Online **News**

AFTER a two-decade battle, a Port Elizabeth entrepreneur‘s award-winning instant houses have finally broken into the local market.
Hennie Botes‘s housing moulds – which enable a house to be built in a day – have been sold to developers across the world.
The concept has also won a subsidy housing merit award at the Innovation Housing Competition sponsored by the National Homebuilders Registration Council and Absa Bank.
But the South African government, with a backlog of more than two million homes, did not buy into the idea. Until now.
Eastern Cape Local Government and Housing MEC Toko Xasa has asked that Botes‘s housing moulds, called Moladi, be used to replace six low-cost houses in Uitenhage and Despatch.
Xasa‘s spokesman, Phumlani Mdolomba, confirmed the project.
“If we like it, we will build about 500 houses using the same technology in the area,” he said.
Nelson Mandela Bay local government and housing district director Thembinkosi Myalato said the technology was user-friendly and quick.
However, he said, any contractor wanting to use Moladi‘s technology would have to bid like everyone else.
Building Moladi houses entails using a mould based on a house plan. After the foundation is laid, the mould is fitted with the plumbing and wiring, and is then filled with mortar.
The mortar dries within a day and the mould is removed.
Botes conceived the idea of building instant housing in 1986 while building a wall for his house.
The system is already in use in Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ghana, Panama, Angola, Botswana and Kenya.
“They just bring me a plan for the house and I manufacture the whole kit.
“The kit can be used to build however many houses the developer wants. When you have finished building the first house, you simply use the kit for the next one.”
Although Botes ships one kit, the developer pays him according to the number of houses he plans to build using the same mould. Botes does not do any building himself, but sells to developers.
Because raw concrete is not designed for human habitation, Moladi houses are finished with Moladichem, a chemical which Botes said gave the houses thermal properties. “The chemical waterproofs the wall. The house will be warm in winter and cool in summer.”
With Botes‘s technology, a developer can build and complete a single-, double- or triple-storey house in one day.
“I am very happy the government is now realising the role we can play in speeding up house delivery,” Botes said. “With the construction boom in South Africa, many skilled people are working at the 2010 soccer stadiums and on other mega-projects. This leaves the delivery of houses to shady constructors.”
While thousands of houses have been built through his technology elsewhere in the world, Botes said his priority was his home province, the Eastern Cape.
“Conventional developers won‘t charge anything less than R3 500/m². Our prices start at R900/m² and obviously it depends on the finishes the customer wants.”

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