23rd April 2019 by Jackie Cameron
EDINBURGH — When young entrepreneur Jonathan Liebmann took up the challenge of fixing up inner-city Johannesburg to make it not only liveable but trendy, he had a serious challenge on his hands. The South African city has the unenviable reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous in which to live and play. But, with a vibrant lifestyle and melting-pot cultural texture, Liebmann looked past the problems to see opportunity and social cohesion. Maboneng was the fruit of Liebmann’s labour. It attracted investors, trendy galleries and artisanal shops and, in a nutshell, became a shining example of how property development can combat urban decay. But, the company Liebmann founded collapsed earlier this year, with units being auctioned off at way below estimated market value to bargain-hunters. Chartered Accountant Sinesipho Maninjwa picks up the story to explain what went wrong behind-the-scenes at Propertuity, the company that pioneered urban renewal in South Africa. – Jackie Cameron