Man behind Vaal River City project

Land developer and architect Reggie Kukama is behind the multi-million rand Vaal River Development project.
Land developer and architect Reggie Kukama is behind the multi-million rand Vaal River Development project.

Meet developer and architect Reggie Kukama, the man behind the multimillion-rand Vaal River City Development Company estate development project in the Emfuleni and the Midvaal areas in the south of Gauteng.

Kukama, the CEO of one of the biggest Sedibeng municipality housing and retail development projects, embraces the substantial foreign investment opportunities South Africa provides.

He has made many strides in the South African investment landscape and, with his business finger in every piece of the development pie, he is changing the landscape around him for the better.

"Becoming successful in any business requires serious dedication, hard work and taking the right steps," said Kukama, 45.

The Vaal River City Development is mirroring major cities around the world that reside on the water's edge and with sweeping, panoramic views of the Vaal River, this was a perfect opportunity to build a city and allow for the public to have access to the expanse of the Vaal dam.

It has more than 400000 square metres of commercial office space, 60000 square metres for leisure, retail and hospitality, 20 hectares for parklands and a bird sanctuary and 5000 units are on the cards for the residential component Vaal River City.

"The flagship project will be a visionary regeneration of this barren space, ensuring the massive development of a city on a river that is accessible to all people and politically and culturally will re-energise the area," said Kukama.

Kukama started out after obtaining his Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) from the University of Cape Town in the 1990s.

He was employed by Stauch Vorster Architects in Cape Town as an architect and during that period he became an exchange employee to a leading retail architectural firm in Baltimore, in the US.

On his return, he was one of the first recipients of the Unilever Nelson Mandela Scholarship to the UK, where he qualified with a Masters in Building and Urban Design from the University of London.

Launched in 1998 with a R30-million sponsorship from Unilever and completed in 2008, the programme funded postgraduate studies for disadvantaged South African students at leading UK universities. The students were chosen from across the spectrum.

The only condition was that the recipients return to South Africa to apply the skills and knowledge that they had gained abroad.

When Kukama returned to South Africa he was offered the position of associate director and head of urban design at Stauch Vorster.

In 2000, he co-founded Tau Pride Projects with fellow graduates from Cape Town, specialising in construction projects and programme management.

He spearheaded the opening of Tau Pride branches in Mahikeng, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Nelspruit and Gaborone.

Having started with their first project of just under
R20-million, Tau Pride is recognised as one of the leading project management firms in the country after completing more than R8-billion in projects in the last 10 years.

Kukama has outstanding leadership abilities, managing more than 200 projects a year.

He also has vast experience in public and private sector projects, ranging from schools, clinics and hospitals to commercial and retail properties, roads and infrastructure projects.

In 2006, he met property mogul Douw Steyn and developer Giuseppe Plumari, an association that led to an agreement where Steyn City Properties sold the land to his black economic empowerment consortium to become the developers of the new Vaal River City. In October 2010, Kukama launched Yaetsho Investments and Projects specialising in project management, property asset management and renewable energy.

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