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Development of new council chamber nearing completion

The City of Johannesburg’s new state-of-the-art council chambers being developed by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) at a cost of R340-million are expected to be ready for use by March 2017.

The 3 000sqm development, which is about 70% complete, is part of a multibillion-rand Office Space Optimisation Programme, which seeks to contribute to the transformation of the City through accelerated output, land development, economic growth and service delivery.

According to Alan Dinnie, JPC’s Property Development Manager who took the media on a tour of the facility on Tuesday December 13, the council chambers and precinct offices will be consolidated and turned into a hub around which seven regional offices will clustered.

Dinnie said the decision to build the new council chambers was taken because there was not enough space in the existing facility to accommodate the increasing number of councillors as well as members of the public and the media.

The new facility, which has been billed as an “iconic African chamber”, will accommodate 361 councillors and 158 members of the public and journalists.

Dinnie said the drum-shaped, fully paperless and sound-proof chambers will have a people’s square where meetings will be held in a transparent and visible manner. Another important feature in the precinct will be a garden of remembrance.

“[The chambers] will also have a golden roof and glass plates to resemble the City of Gold. They will be environmentally friendly, bright green, with six translation booths, acoustic-draped ceilings, a TV screen and top-of-the-range cameras,” Dinnie said.

About 40 small and medium enterprises as well as co-operatives registered under the Jozi@Work programme were involved in the construction of the facility as sub-contractors of Avaveng-Enza, a joint venture between Grinaker and LTA.

To involve the public, JPC invited artists and the public to submit drawings, paintings and prints that told unique stories about their communities and history.

The winning designs will be translated into wooden totems to be placed inside and in entrances of the chambers.
More than 500 entries were received and 135 winners were selected to take part in this visual art form.

The winners were awarded cash prizes of R5 000 each “but the greatest prize was the overwhelming sense of pride in seeing their work memorialised”, according to Dinnie.​