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Business embraces plans to revitalise the inner city Print E-mail
18 April 2017

The Johannesburg Business Forum has thrown its weight behind the City of Johannesburg’s efforts to revitalise the inner city to make it investor friendly so it can unlock economic growth and create jobs.

The forum, in which various business chambers in Johannesburg are represented, made the pledge at an Integrated Development Planning (IDP) meeting at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein on Thursday April 13.

The City, under Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba, has identified the rejuvenation of the inner city as one of the focus areas that could help achieve at least 5% economic growth in Johannesburg by 2021 and reduce unemployment by 6%.

The forum serves as a link between the City’s departments and business associations operating in Johannesburg. It is also used a platform by business to raise matters impacting on economic growth and assist in finding solutions.

Last week’s meeting was attended by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Cllr Sharon Peetz, senior officials from the City’s entities and top executives of several Johannesburg businesses. All the participants in the meeting promised to assist in the revitalisation of business in the inner city.

The inner city fell into degradation and urban decay following the flight of capital to places such as Rosebank and Sandton in the early 1990s.

“As a city with a rich history of entrepreneurial spirit stretching as far back as 1886, we are aware of the significant contribution entrepreneurship plays in an economy. We want to further take Johannesburg’s future in this direction through contributions by business,” Cllr Peetz said.

She said the City’s new administration was acutely aware of the parlous state of the inner city and was putting plans in place to address the challenges.

“The first examples of success in the City’s efforts to turn around an inner city that has been blighted by urban decay are starting to show. The dedicated focus on law enforcement, the decisive action taken to turn the heat on slumlords and the joint efforts by departments and agencies within the city have already led to visible and tangible improvements,” she said.

She conceded, however, that revitalising an area the size of the Johannesburg CBD with all its economic and social activity, transient population and high levels of poverty and unemployment would not be an easy task.

Cllr Peetz said there was both political and administrative will to achieve results and turn Johannesburg and its CBD into an area that can attract investment and business activity. “We have started. We are making progress. We are providing a safe and living environment for people with varied backgrounds and origins who want to be in a Johannesburg that is dynamic and innovative,” Peetz said.

She said the City was putting emphasis on the difficult task of cleaning up the inner city and the CBD, refurbishing bad buildings and creating a liveable environment. “That we are doing precinct by precinct, block by block, and street by street,” she said.

Cllr Peetz added that very few people understood that urban renewal was a marathon, not a sprint. With the enthusiasm shown by the City and the business community, Cllr Peetz said she believed Johannesburg would “bounce back” to its former glory, and be the City of gold that it once was.

The City’s Citizen Relationship and Urban Management Group Strategy and Policy Head, Toivo Mohapi, said communication between the City and all communities was paramount to ensure improved public and stakeholder participation in the IDP process.

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Last Updated on 18 April 2017