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15/09/16: It is time to unlock our Inner City’s potential
15 September 2016
Today I sat down with nearly 100 investors, developers and business people, all of whom are highly dedicated to turning our Inner City into a safe, vibrant and prosperous place for people, small businesses and other institutions.

This was the largest gathering in many years of investors, developers and businesses with an interest in the revitalising of our Inner City. It shows their faith in the new administration’s commitment to deal decisively with the challenges they have faced.

Their commitment is remarkable and we dare not fail them. I was horrified to learn of the contempt with which they have been treated by the previous administration. Fundamental basics of local government have let them down for years, coupled with an uncaring government that has been unresponsive to their desperate calls for assistance. Issues such as unresolved billing problems, filthy streets, lack of street lights and severe shortages of visible policing leading to crime spiralling out of control were discussed during the meeting.

These are just a few of the issues that face these investors, developers and businesses, but particularly the poor. It is the poor that have suffered the most from the failure to rejuvenate our Inner City. Working with our investors, developers and businesses, I am determined to revitalise the Inner City space.

This is vital in our quest to unleash Joburg’s economic potential and realise a minimum of 5% economic growth. I wish to ensure an enabling environment for small businesses to flourish and thereby create permanent jobs while also achieving results in low-cost housing located close to work opportunities.

Together, with other relevant stakeholders, we will develop a shared vision and plan for the development of our Inner City within the next 3 months. Our vision must be centred on bringing people and businesses back into our Inner City. Ultimately, benefiting our poorest residents. The City of Johannesburg owns numerous buildings that will be identified for development into low-cost housing and affordable commercial spaces for small businesses and shops.

The people of our City have spoken. They want to see real change and bold steps taken to move Johannesburg forward again. Following a publication called ‘Kidz Chronicle’ of letters recently sent to me by several primary school learners from the Inner City, I realised just how dire the situation is.

A Grade 6 learner wrote: “Sir, please with all your might, please develop the broken buildings to make schools or jobs.”

Another learner wrote: “The inner city has got deep secrets. It stinks in there because toilets are not clean, there are mice and rats and there are sometimes dead bodies.” Most concerning was a learner’s exposure to people who, “inject themselves with drugs every morning when I go to school.”

It is time to stop the rot and reverse many years of mismanagement and decay. The DA-led administration is committed to running a responsive and pro-poor government.

Our City can be business friendly & pro-poor at the same time. In fact the two must go hand in hand if we are to create a City of golden opportunities. The economic revival of the Inner City is crucial in creating an inclusive and prosperous City for all our residents.


Issued by the City of Johannesburg

Media enquiries:

Tony Taverna-Turisan
Director: Mayoral Communications
082 920 9708

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Last Updated on 15 September 2016