Durban vows to rid inner-city of ‘bad buildings’

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Mxolisi Kaunda, eThekwini Municipality Mayor, surveying problem buildings within the Mahatma Gandhi Precinct (Point).PHOTO: Supplied
Mxolisi Kaunda, eThekwini Municipality Mayor, surveying problem buildings within the Mahatma Gandhi Precinct (Point).PHOTO: Supplied

The eThekwini Municipality is continuing with it’s plan to rid Durban’s inner-city of ‘bad’ or dilapidated buildings.

“Tackling problem buildings is on our priority list. A Problem Buildings Unit was established specifically to deal with the issue,” said eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda.

Kaunda said three buildings in the city have already been demolished since 2019 and 21 out of 33 identified as bad buildings in the Mahatma Gandhi Precinct (Point area), are already under renovations.

“The Mahatma Gandhi Precinct is a strategic location for catalytic development and the City is fast tracking this to stimulate economic growth, international investments, job creation and tourism. Work is currently underway to ensure that the precinct meets all these goals and gives the City’s economy a boost. Since we have started investing in the upgrade of the area, we have seen interest from investors,” said Kaunda during a recent site visit.

The Mahatma Gandhi Road precinct is receiving a major multi-billion rand facelift.

The revamp is part of a public-private partnership, to transform the area into a safe and attractive zone for investment.

Some of the work undertaken includes the extension of the promenade, the watermains reticulation project, the public realm upgrade, and the success of the problem buildings programme.

As part of the rehabilitation of the buildings, some have been successfully converted into student accommodation and bars and bottle stores have been closed.

Kaunda said this has positively contributed to the upliftment of the immediate surrounding areas.

Philip Sithole, Deputy City Manager for Economic Development said the R30 billion Point Waterfront Development will create a total of 17 500 jobs during construction and 11 000 jobs once operational.

“This will comprise of a hotel, retail mall, offices as well as residential apartments and leisure,” he said.

A report published last year by Durban Edge, an economic research unit within the eThekwini Municipality, showed that the Durban CBD had the highest office vacancy rate when compared to other major business districts in the country like Sandton, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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