Learning from experience

Posted On Friday, 25 May 2001 03:01 Published by
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THE announcement this week of investments worth R100m in Cape Town's central business district by two wellknown service companies Pick 'n Pay and Nedcor

THE announcement this week of investments worth R100m in Cape Town's central business district by two wellknown service companies Pick 'n Pay and Nedcor represents more than the building of a new corporate regional headquarters and the opening of a supermarket. It is also a strong signal that the CBD may have been saved from the decline suffered in many cities around the world over the past 20 years most notably Johannesburg.
There are many reasons for this turnaround, among them circumstances and luck. For one thing, the city has fewer Sandtons and Rosebanks to act as magnets to businesses seeking new pastures. But it was also hard work on the part of the local authorities and businesses, whose leaders worked hard to prevent the history of other cities repeating itself in theirs. Reducing crime and maintaining a relatively attractive environment has been the key.
But there is little room for complacency. Maintaining confidence in the CBD will be a continuing task. And evicting crime from the area has not eliminated it, but has merely moved it on to other areas.
The real challenge is to ensure that the CBD is the heart of a genuinely African city. It cannot be "cleaned up" by making it inhospitable to the poor and therefore mainly black portion of the city's population. Recently announced plans to relocate pavement hawkers to an area on the outskirts of the CBD are not promising. There is a case for regulating hawking, but not by shutting it up out of sight.


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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