A golden start for the Joburg Inner City

15 May 2022 in Where We Govern

The following remarks were delivered by the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, at the implosion of the Kaserne Building. The Executive Mayor was joined by the MMC for Housing, Cllr Mlungisi Mabaso.

Programme Director and Acting COO of JOSHCO, Mr Themba Mathiba

MMC of Housing, Cllr Mlunigisi Mabaso

Chairperson of the Section Committee for Housing, Cllr Alex Christians

Ward Cllr, Mr Themba Mkhize

Region F Director, Ms Irene Mafune

JOSHCO leadership and management

City Officials and Contractors

Esteemed guests

Today marks a golden start or a new beginning for the Johannesburg Inner City.

While this might be the case, we must take a step back and reflect on how a once vibrant central business district became a place of grime and crime.

For too long the CBD of the City was neglected because we as government took our eye off the ball, by allowing the social and physical to decay, leading to capital flight from the inner city to places like Rosebank and Sandton.

In many ways, what has become of vast areas of the inner city is sign of what can become of the entire City if those of us in office do not do our work.

But today is about the Joburg Multi-Party Government making a commitment to the inner city, by investing in what will once again become Joburg’s live, work and play hub.

We are rebuilding the Joburg CBD, making a place that is both safe and clean.

MMC Mabaso,

The demolition of the Kaserne Building is long overdue, as it has seen too much death and destruction; and we cannot run away from the fact that the deaths are a direct outcome of the housing backlog our City faces.

But today, we are making strides in addressing that backlog, tackling spatial inequality, and giving effect to Mayoral Priority number five (5), which speaks to building an Inclusive City.

This demolition site will soon become a construction and subsequently we will see the completion of a mixed-housing development of approximately 1,500 units that will bring poor and working-class residents closer to work and social opportunities.

This is what we mean when say we are building a City of Golden Opportunities.

This is but one investment we are making in the City.

Through Public Safety, we have deployed 1,800 JMPD Officers on foot patrol to ensure the safety and security of residents and visitors to the CBD. In addition to this there are daily Buya Mthetho operations being run across the inner city, which look at by-law infrigments, crime, and unpaid and illegal water and electricity connections.

On the 26th of April this year, through Community Development, Council approved the development of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Precinct. The Inner-City Precinct encompasses the broader area around the St Mary’s Cathedral, where the Arch served as Dean and later Bishop of Johannesburg. The approval of the plan means the allocation of resources to clean, keep safe and develop the area.

Through the Department of Economic Development, the Informal Trading Policy is being rolled out The Informal Trading Policy recognizes the importance of informal traders in our City and the need to regulate and empower this economic sector.

And contrary to what is being reported, the policy plays an important role in managing social cohesion between locals and immigrants. The policy in its articulation states that immigrants or foreign nations can trade if in terms of the Immigration Act they are authorized to do so.

Over the 2022/23 financial year, we will be investing over R800-million in capital projects into Region F, which encompasses the Innner City. The majority of this expenditure will be directed to the CBD, with housing running projects in excess of R70-million.

Come to the 2023/24 financail year, the City will invest close to R900-million in Region F, with the investment jumping to over R1-billion in the 2024/25 financial year.

In closing, when we the Multi-Party Government talks about turning Joburg into a construction site and building a City of Golden Opportunities, believe us – as you can see today.