Joburg, private sector sign MoU to revive inner city
The City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership, represented by the City Improvement District Forum, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which they pledged to work together to revitalise and regenerate the Johannesburg inner city.
The undertaking was made at an Inner City Partnership Forum at Museum Africa in Newtown convened by the City on Thursday July 27 to engage the private sector, developers, investors and other stakeholders to seek solutions to urban decay suffocating the inner city.
The MoU reads in part: “The parties agree to work as a collective to establish a steering committee outlining actions on which to partner for improved cleanliness in the inner city, mobilising the necessary support and funding to enable the project to succeed.
“The MoU aims to establish issues of mutual interest, investment opportunities and processes that will assist to meet objectives of a clean and healthy City.”
In his address, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said the days of talk shops were over, saying this was time for action. He urged the private sector to join the City in its mission to make the inner city into a place of opportunity for all.
He was accompanied by three Members of the Mayoral Committee – Cllr Michael Sun (Public Safety), Cllr Nico de Jager (Environment and Infrastructure Services) and Cllr Sharon Peetz (Economic Development). The Johannesburg Inner City Partnership was represented by Anne Steffny.
Mayor Mashaba said his dream was to turn the inner city into a construction site. “This is your opportunity to help us turn around hijacked and bad buildings. We bank on you to make the inner city a construction site within 12 months.
“When you invest your money you must know you have the government’s support. I have dedicated resources to turn the city around and I need your help to do itt. Together we have the potential to succeed and make the city full of opportunities for entrepreneurs and artisans,” the Mayor said.
MMC Peetz told the forum her department had set aside R5.8-million for an investment masterplan, R9-million for informal trading and R35-million for the development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
MMC Sun said his department had deployed 198 police officers, 30 vehicles, 80 points men and a management unit to enforce by-laws in the hotspots identified by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).
Cllr Sun said CCTV cameras installed in the inner city were now linked to the Intelligence Operators Centre at the Public Safety headquarters. Additional CCTV cameras would soon be rolled out. He added that the City would soon establish a municipal court to specifically deal with by-law offences.
The Mayor’s Strategic Adviser, Thabo Maisela, said the housing backlog in Johannesburg stood at 158 000 units, with 80 000 units in the inner city alone. He said growth in the city had been hampered by the high number of bad and hijacked buildings, criminality and social ills.
Maisela said the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) and the Housing Department had appointed a team of experts to prepare and implement a strategy to deal with the housing problem.
“But we have to do this with the private sector. We need all stakeholders to make the city a place we can all be proud of,” he said.
The Johannesburg Inner City Partnership will make its presentations to the city in the next few weeks.