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Partners in the inner city regeneration project had their regular check up, this time focusing on the restoration of the Rissik Street Post Office, among other issues.
A VARIETY of important topics were discussed at the 13th inner city charter partnership forum meeting at Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein on Tuesday, 1 March.

Executive mayor Amos MasondoExecutive mayor Amos Masondo chairs the ICCPFThe core points of the meeting were the upgrading of the historic Rissik Street Post Office, which was badly damaged in a fire; the City’s billing system, which has caused some difficulties; and the eradication of slumlording in the inner city.
It was chaired by Executive Mayor Amos Masondo and brought together stakeholders from local government, the private sector and residents.

Rissik Street Post Office
Kululwa Muthwa, the Joburg Property Company manager for property development, said the restoration of the post office, in the city centre, was under way.

“Shop drawings have been completed and we are waiting for approval of the drawings by the Provincial Heritage Authority of Gauteng,” said Muthwa. “The contractor is expected to move on site to start to erect scaffolding in mid-March.”

The process is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The history four-storey structure, which is over 100 years old, caught fire in 2009. An investigation into the blaze by the City’s risk unit found that the fire was caused by vagrants who lived in the building.

In the first phase of restoration, debris was cleared and an inventory was taken of all material found on site. This allowed the determining of which material could be salvaged and re-used.

Robert Scott, the City’s deputy director of management support, said his department had embarked on an exercise to analyse the problems caused by the new billing system.

Bad building in BereaA bad building in Berea“We have made headway in addressing those top issues of project and the process should be completed in March,” he explained.
Many ratepayers have received inaccurate bills in the past months, with some not being billed, some getting very high bills, and some having their services cut off.

Jak Kosef, the City’s human development director, said Joburg was busy developing a registered social landlord programme to eradicate slumlording in the inner city.

A proposal under the programme was to provide properties at no or lower costs on a developmental lease basis that would fulfil a portion of the Inner City Property Scheme’s social housing quota.

“The City has to find a way to convert or formalise hijacked buildings or make it possible for the commercial market to meet the state halfway,” said Kosef, who added that tariffs should recognise the dwelling unit definition to facilitate communal living units.

Renney Plit of Afhco, the Affordable Housing Company, pointed out that a better system needed to be implemented to accommodate people from bad buildings.

“The council needs to work together with the government and private sector to solve the issue of people living in squalor,” said Plit.

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