BK awards gold / Own Haven Andrew Wiseman

LISTEN | Ensuring real homes in vibrant complexes

From engineer to providing homes for the needy.
From engineer to providing homes for the needy.

Own Haven was established as an NPO in 2002 with the aim of providing sought-after and well-managed rental homes.

To date it has developed 2,500 rental units in secure residential complexes, which it manages.

MD Andrew Wiseman, under the guidance of the Own Haven board, is responsible for the strategic direction, expansion and management of the company.

Wiseman, a qualified and registered professional civil engineer, said his path took a developmental route "in pursuit of a deep-rooted passion for the upliftment of those in need".

“I was presented with the opportunity to set up Own Haven, with the mandate of providing housing for those in need.

"This spoke to my calling as it ensured personal job satisfaction and fulfilment.

“At face value, Own Haven can be described as a property development and management company.

"However, we pride ourselves on being more than this.

"We strive to establish vibrant residential complexes through community development initiatives that the residents are eager to be part of.

"Own Haven reinvests in targeted community development programmes to ensure that the complexes are safe places and real homes for their residents.”

He said this philosophy is nurtured among staff, and they are encouraged to participate in the community programmes that OH provides.

This, in turn, fosters staff participation in the overall company objectives.

“It is important that leadership and company strategic goals are aligned so that a common purpose and focus is upheld.

"We have a staff of 71, including ground staff and technicians."

He said when the rand took a dive in 2014/5 it was a major setback, as the Euro-denominated loan book exposed Own Haven to solvency and going-concern challenges.

“After failed negotiations via an intermediary third party, the CFO and I contacted the Dutch guarantors of the loans directly, who were also financially exposed.

"Our transparent declaration of the realities of the SA economy at the time, and our position in it, facilitated the establishment of a middle ground that ultimately led to the restructuring of the debt."

The company's strategic objective is to expand the existing property portfolio of 2,500 units to 5,000 owned and managed units, which will ensure financial stability and long-term sustainability.

OH is an East London-based company with its head office in Oxford Street, but under Wiseman, it has expanded its footprint westwards to include the Garden Route and, more recently, Cape Town, where an office has now been set up.

The Cape Town office recently oversaw completion of the Conradie Park social housing project of 432 units in Pinelands.

The recent securing of development rights in George and Mossel Bay has completed the OH Garden Route footprint.

“Our target market includes people in need and the working class, which means we locate our developments in the engine room of industry.

"We operate in areas where our tenants can work and raise their families while having access to social amenities and opportunities.”



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