The Jobs Fund (JF) is a R9 billion fund established by the South African Government in 2011. The Fund aims to catalyse innovation in job creation through structured partnerships with the private and public sectors, as well as NPOs by awarding once-off grants to organisations through a competitive process. According to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, the JF has funded 126 projects and spent over R6 billion in grant matched funding since its inception. By December 2018, the Fund had created approximately 170,000 permanent jobs, 55,000 short term jobs, and saw over 200,000 beneficiaries upskilled.

TUHF Limited is a specialist inner-city commercial property financier that provides funding to small businesses. TUHF drives inner city investment by offering loans to emerging property entrepreneurs for purchasing and/or refurbishment of inner-city residential property. The organisation has strong national footprint with branches in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and the Free State.
In February 2015, The Jobs Fund contracted with TUHF Limited on a leveraging partnership. This public-private-partnership involved a R200 million grant to TUHF to create new permanent jobs and short-term jobs over a three-year funding period. This grant was intended to leverage 800 million in matched funding in the capital markets. The objective of the grant was to attract further lenders to TUHF by providing more security to TUHF’s loan book.


A summative evaluation of the Jobs Fund Leveraging project was implemented specifically to assess the extent to which TUHF had met the intended project objectives and to extract lessons learned in terms of the impact and sustainability of the project. Looking more closely, the Jobs Fund Leverage Project was intended to fulfil several objectives as per grant agreement, namely:

  1. To contribute to job creation and employability;
  2. To reduce the cost of funding for property entrepreneurs in the affordable housing sector;
  3. To contribute to the transformation of the property development sector;
  4. To contribute to TUHF’s expansion in terms of loan book and national footprint;
  5. To catalyse private sector funding towards affordable housing finance.

A total of 66 stakeholders were consulted using interviews and focus group discussions to assess the extent to which each element had been met. Twenty-four entrepreneurs were interviewed, which constitutes a sample of 20% of the 116 single entrepreneurs who benefited from a loan during the project period (March 2015 – April 2018).

The table below provides an overview of the intended outputs and the overall performance assessment of the project. The assessment followed a colour coded progress robot as shown below.

The areas shaded in Green were assessed as ‘Met” while areas highlighted in Amber were assessed as “Partially Met” and areas shaded in Red were assessed as “Not Met”.

Intended Outputs and Assessment of Performance



During the project period, TUHF was able to give out R1.3 billion in loans to 116 entrepreneurs, who made 176 buildings and 8 053 units available for affordable housing in South African inner cities. Of the R1.3 billion, over R1 billion had already been disbursed at the end of 2019.

The project objectives preciously discussed can be grouped into three categories to facilitate discussion, namely: 1) to contribute to job creation; 2) to contribute to the growth of TUHF, and 3) to contribute to systemic change in the affordable housing sector. TUHF however, broadened the scope beyond an assessment of job creation performance alone, to also include an assessment of buildings made available for affordable housing and opportunities created for previously disadvantaged individuals to become property entrepreneurs

      a) Job creation

While TUFH failed to meet the initial job creation outputs, revised targets were met in full and a total of 7,559 permanent and short-term jobs were created.

Up until the start of this project TUHF had not explored its job creation potential, nor had it systematically collected any employment data. The initial project target of 6,345 permanent jobs and 6,384 short-term jobs was based on a job creation multiplier proposed by a 2013 study of a few TUHF properties which did not account for inflation nor the variances in development projects. This made it difficult for the organisation to be able to negotiate effective systems and achievable targets with the JF at the outset of the project. Subsequent research by TUHF found that jobs created by greenfield[1] projects vary greatly from those created by brownfield projects.

In addition, the evaluation found that The Jobs Fund definition of a ‘new permanent job’ did not align with the workings of the construction industry. This misalignment affected TUHF’s position to meet agreed project objectives. In a report commissioned by TUHF 2016 on the Value Chain Analysis and Estimation of Employment Supporting Effects to the Housing Construction and Rental Activities:  it was evident that “most of the people employed during the construction phase will have been employed on other construction projects prior to the TUHF-financed project commencing, and will go on to other construction projects once the TUHF project is completed. Sometimes, they will work on future TUHF-financed projects. TUHF cannot be sure that the construction-related employment opportunities on its projects are new jobs for people that were previously not working”[2]. The study therefore recommended using a new definition of ‘permanent job’ that is more in line with industry dynamics. This is what the report called ‘a Full Time Equivalent Job calculation’, which makes use of average annual labour remuneration rates for the different skills employed in order to estimate the number of employment opportunities supported by a specific entity on an annual basis.

TUHF also experienced practical barriers to meet the JF’s verification requirements of job creation efforts: for example, smaller contractors tend to engage labourers daily and no formal paperwork is completed; foreign undocumented workers tend to offer their services in the industry at a cheaper rate than South African nationals, which makes them more desirable for employers. Realising the stringent data verification and reporting requirements of the Jobs Fund, TUHF set up its Development Impact Unit, a five-person team that was tasked with data collection and reporting. However, despite major efforts, employment verification data was not always forthcoming from employers and a portion of jobs could not be accounted for (i.e. only South African nationals could be counted; different jobs by a single labourer working on short-term contracts at different sites could not be counted more than once).

Lastly, market conditions during the project period were also unfavourable (pipeline was difficult to find and building costs increased considerably), which meant that larger loans were granted (R8,5 million vs. R5 million projected), less loans were approved (136 vs. 200 projected), less units could be built (6,564 vs. 7,600), and in turn, fewer jobs were created than initially projected.

As a result of all the above, it became clear to TUHF in Q8 that meeting job creation targets would not be possible and new targets, a revised timeframe, and an alternative verification process were renegotiated. Subsequently, the JF agreed to review down job creation targets from 6,345 for permanent jobs to 2,350 and 6,384 short-term jobs to 3,650, which were subsequently met in full by TUHF.

Although it was proved difficult for TUHF to meet the initial employment targets, The Jobs Fund team conceded that the project’s challenges were primarily around framing and not necessarily around underperformance: “the problem with this project is that it didn’t work within the 3-year period; it didn’t fit our mould” – Jobs Fund project manager.

        b) Growth of TUHF

Through the JF grant, TUHF has largely been successful in meeting its growth objective. The evaluation found that the grant positively impacted the capacity of TUHF to sustainably grow and scale.

The design of the project allowed TUHF to grow in a variety of facets: by expanding its geographic reach into two additional provinces; by establishing a customised training programme for property entrepreneurs, which is a unique offering in the financial industry; and, most importantly, by acting as leverage for capital raising, which had historically been the single biggest barrier to growth for TUHF.

Two new regional offices were opened in Bloemfontein and Cape Town allowing for well-received portfolio diversification to other inner cities in the country, while continuing with TUHF’s model of hands-on portfolio management and client relationship.

Through a customised training programme for property entrepreneurs that was established in 2015, 111 of TUHF clients were trained during the project period (against a target of 75). The TUHF Programme for Property Entrepreneurship (TPPE) leverages the knowledge of industry experts to educate entrepreneurs on construction-related topics and provide them with practical skills that they can utilise in managing and growing their property businesses.[1] Each trainee received bi-monthly training sessions over a three-month period as well as monthly contact sessions with the programme’s mentor over a 6-monthly period[2]. In addition, six young professionals completed internships at TUHF and were subsequently employed either by TUHF or external service providers. This programme is NQF Level 5 accredited by UCT.

Lastly, TUHF’s strategy to attract private investors with secured lending by leveraging the R200 million JF grant was appropriate. The grant enabled the organisation to reach out to the capital markets and asset management industry at a price point and level of risk acceptable to investors, who would have otherwise not ventured into this sector. TUHF managed to raise in excess of its target of R800 million in matched funding however, the fundraising period exceeded the project timeframes.

Initially the company listed R350 million Domestic Medium-Term Note (DMTN) on the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange), but this product did not achieve the required A- local credit rating to be able to attract new investment and lower the cost of funding for SMMEs. A new listing of R500 million securitisation eventually ripped benefits in December 2018. Two new funders came on board and TUHF’s listings combined were able to raise over R1,3 billion instead of the R1 billion initially targeted, which represents 8.6 times the amount of funding received from the JF. However, lowering the cost of capital to entrepreneurs still remains an unmet objective for TUHF.

       c) Systemic change in the affordable housing industry

From the perspective of changing mindsets and investor appetite, TUHF management believe that the Jobs Fund grant brought substantial benefits to TUHF by enabling “unprecedented access to commercial banks”, through the success of the DMTN listing.  The grant has helped to de-risk the inner-city property development sector by attracting investors in capital markets and the asset management sector, who would have otherwise not ventured into this area.

Thanks to the work of TUHF over the years in the Johannesburg inner-city, a sector traditionally red-lined by banks and investment houses is slowly being perceived by a growing number of investors as a worthy investment.


The JF – TUHF partnership brought about several other benefits among direct and indirect stakeholders, as explained below.

       a) Targeting previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs)

The JF grant was meant to be used to directly benefit previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs). The partnership agreement stipulated that 50% of the borrowers should be those characterised as previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs). Almost 80% of all loan recipients (14% female and 74% previously disadvantaged) became new clients to TUHF over the project period. Research and anecdotal evidence from interviews point strongly towards an important hypothesis: through the relationship with TUHF, many previously disadvantaged individuals have become landlords, an opportunity they would have otherwise struggled to access.

TUHF’s financing model prioritises emerging entrepreneurs who are classified as previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs), or who are seen as not suitable for funding by traditional financing and lending banking institutions.

     b) Impact on property entrepreneurs

The evaluation showed that TUHF has enabled many entrepreneurs to start or grow in the property development sector.

Evidence from the sample that was interviewed suggests that some of them had received their first opportunity at becoming landlords through TUHF. This initial opportunity allowed these emerging property entrepreneurs to gain momentum and replicate their success by acquiring more properties. Most respondents were planning to expand their businesses by increasing their building portfolio. In addition, the majority of those looking to expand indicated that they would consider approaching commercial banks to finance their future business growth. While for some this is primarily a business decision in the pursuit of efficiency and lower cost of borrowing; however, this is also a clear example of greater access to financial products thanks to having built good credit history and a business track-record.

Half of the entrepreneurs interviewed spoke about the benefits of TUHF’s training, skill-building through events and networking as well as mentoring opportunities. As a result, they felt they were better capacitated, more informed and more knowledgeable about how to run their property businesses effectively.

   c) Impact on property tenants

In most cases, the interviews revealed that, by living in a TUHF financed building, tenants were able to meet their needs for quality affordable housing. In broad terms, tenants indicated they were now more secure, had a neater and more aesthetically pleasing living environment and in some cases, bigger spaces as well as increased access to other facilities and services. From their responses and the evaluation team observations during site visits, the need for building maintenance was being met to different degrees in the various buildings visited.

In the case of business tenants, working from a renovated or newly built building financed by TUHF meant that customers were close and accessible and business premises looked appealing and professional.


The JF Leveraging project mostly followed TUHF’s tried-and-tested model of lending to inner-city property entrepreneurs with some innovations around training, and financial structuring for capital raising and office footprint expansion. From this perspective the project design was fit for purpose: TUHF’s team holds a wealth of knowledge and experience on the dynamics of inner-city property development as well as the needs and assets of emerging property developers and affordable housing users.

The JF grant was important in enabling TUHF to secure additional streams of funding from capital markets, thereby enhancing TUHF’s ability to finance more entrepreneurs. This has contributed to an increase in employment and an improvement in socio-economic standards. TUHF has been successful in creating jobs and appears to have been successful in improving the standard of living of affordable housing tenants.