City cranks up revamp

2018-04-16 16:15
Construction work in Chief Albert Luthuli Street  - one of the many streets whose poor state is of concern to business owners and councillors.

Construction work in Chief Albert Luthuli Street - one of the many streets whose poor state is of concern to business owners and councillors. (Ian Carbutt)

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Msunduzi Municipality wants to crank up a massive urban renewal project and is appealing to property owners to join the initiative.

The plan to implement two City Improvement Districts (CIDs) was first floated in September but never got off the ground. However, last week Msunduzi’s manager for forward planning and development, Nyakane Atkins Khoali, said an advertisement for a public meeting with residents and business owners will be published soon.

When the mayor, Themba Njilo, introduced the project last year he said they were waiting for feedback from property owners.

“Now all we need is the input of the property owners and then we can go ahead with the plan. There’s already been keen interest from some of the property owners to form the CIDs so we are confident that the public meeting will go smoothly,” said Khoali.

The CIDs plan comes amid the increasing calls for the City to clean up the streets and do proper maintenance of infrastructure such as pavements and roads. In a recent financial services portfolio committee meeting, ANC councillor Nokuthula Msimang complained about the condition of the CBD, saying it is becoming an embarrassment to Msunduzi. She said something must be done urgently because the current conditions cannot be allowed to continue.

“Our city is filthy. There is litter everywhere, it’s a mess,” she said.

Another ANC councillor, Mtuza Mtuza, said poor waste management, urban decay and vagrants are chasing businesses and investment away. He said at the moment there are not even enough bins on the city’s streets and the lawlessness prevails because the by-laws relating to how people must conduct themselves and dilapidated buildings are not being enforced.

“Vagrants have taken over our streets and they are terrorising people in the CBD,” he said.

Mkhize said as a capital city of the province, Pietermaritzburg should be leading the way in having clean and safe streets.

Khoali said the CIDs will be collaborative initiatives between the public and the private sectors because stakeholders have to include the members of the business community, ward councillors, the municipality as well as the residents who inhabit those precincts.

He said the area below Boshoff Street, which consists of parts of wards 32 and 33, has been identified for the “downtown” CID.

“A resolution has been also taken by council to proceed with the downtown CIDs. Once 50% plus one percent of property owners agree to establish this concept, the CIDs can be formed. The municipality is now waiting feedback from the property owners,” said Khoali.

With regards to “uptown”, which covers an area starting from Boshoff Street to the railway station, Khoali said council has agreed that a social facilitator will be appointed to undertake the facilitation of the formation of the CID. He explained that the decision was made to accommodate the lack of property owners due to the fact that most properties are owned by the state.

“This will assist in complying with the legislation as in terms of special rating by-laws of 2013 a CID can only be established once 51% of the property owners have agreed on its formation,” he said.

Khoali said the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) has committed to play a leading role in the CID areas. He said in addition to the normal services rendered by the municipality, there are several beneficial factors which make is necessary to implement the CIDs.

On how CIDs will be funded, Khaoli said people within that specific geographical area will be able ringfence a certain amount in their municipal account where funds for services like repairing of potholes, manholes and other infrastructural services will readily be made available as and when such a service is required.

At the public meeting, the stakeholders will also decide on the services that will be subsidised by the municipality and the work that might require additional rates to be paid. Beside basic maintenance, the CID work will include removing graffiti, collecting rubbish, cleaning pavements as well as cutting grass and trees.

Khaoli said it is hoped that the CIDs will also reduce crimes such as burglaries, muggings, shoplifting and car break-ins.

“The entity within that geographical area will also provide 24/7 security, clean the area and also assist in maintaining, amongst other things, their properties,” said Khoali.

He said the programme will also address the challenges associated with street trading such as littering and the management of shared public spaces.

Khoali said Msunduzi hopes the local business community will support the CIDs because continuous cleanliness and security awareness will attract customers and investment to the city.

“The CIDs will also create job opportunities for those who will be employed to ensure that the city remains clean and safe for its citizens to enjoy,” he said.

• nokuthula.ntuli@witness.co.za

An entity with the board of the management body must be formed and registered as a non-profit
company.

• The management must include property and business owners, ward councillors and municipal officials.

• A business plan highlighting priority projects must be formulated.

• The CID is required to enter into service level agreements with council and its business units.

• The management must implement the business plan and facilitate the collection of top-up levies.

• The top-up levies can only be spent in the CID area to provide additional services as per the business plan.

• The management is also responsible for contracting some of the services, such as security guards.

SOME OF THE THINGS PROPERTY OWNERS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT:

• Lack of enforcement of by-laws

• Basic maintenance
not done timeously

• Graffiti

• Unauthorised posters and stickers

• Filthy streets and recreational areas

• Overgrown grass
and bushes

• Vagrants

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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