Making the Joburg Innercity Worthy of Investment

Posted On Wednesday, 05 December 2012 08:36 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Johannesburg ‘s inner-city is continually in the news as a place to invest in property despite the crime and grime factors at play, the City claims to have attracted R9billion in investment into the restoration of derelict buildings. 

Property-Housing-ResidentialWith organisations like Joshco and TUHF making strides in seeing buildings restored and viable for investment one has to ask what’s being done by the City to push back the forces of decrepitude that bedevil so many of its high rise buildings.

Enter the multi-disciplinary task force that has been given the task of the seeing the inner city restored and the criminal elements ejected. On the team are the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA), the SAPS as well as the Metro Police.

Thirty-six properties have been restored to their rightful owners since the team began its work. But it’s not all rosy, alas a thousand building are reportedly in the hands of hijackers.  This defrauds the City of revenue from rates and taxes, pushing up costs for potential property investors.

Regrettably this is a process of three steps forward, two steps backward. Since the restoration of 36 buildings restored to rightful owners seven have been re-hijacked. This is blamed on not having the resources to guard all the buildings.

Looking at the broader picture,according to William Pudikabekwa, manager of properties and investigation in the council’s development planning and urban management department: “But from when we started, when Joburg was a ghost town, I think there has been a turnaround in that to date more than 2 000 hijacked bad buildings [this precedes the work of the task force apparently]  have been given back to their rightful owners.

I am seeing the changes happening now in the inner city since we started with this process.” He said in an interview with the Saturday Star.

The Johannesburg website announced last month that the task team had arrested 50 slumlords and reclaimed 50 bad buildings from hijacking syndicates, there seems to be a lack of continuity with regards to numbers.

Louis Geldenhuys, the head of the City’s Legal and Special Investigative Unit  is reported to have said that his unit had in some cases reached an agreement with the rightful owners, who had since signed compliance agreements.

Recently Executive Mayer Parks Tau did a tour of the inner city. Tau and his colleagues wanted to see for themselves the challenges in Berea, Joubert Park, Yeoville, Bertrams, Fairview and Jeppestown. They visited hijacked and abandoned buildings and overcrowded houses, all of which are connected to illegal electricity supply.

There are an estimated 22 000 buildings in the Jo'burg inner city. Some are the very picture of sophistication, others are in a deep state of dereliction. However it’s clear that getting from one end to the other has required hard work and high risk for the private sector.

But the block by block recovery of the inner-city’s buildings from criminal elements is going to require the on-going dedication of the multi-disciplinary task force the City of Johannesburg has assembled to fulfil this heavy task.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 12:44

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