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Rejuvenating the inner city

Date: 2022-06-14 09:30:39

Rejuvenating the inner city

The intensified Inner City Regeneration Programme has seen progress with over 80 percent of the 33 identified buildings being renovated.

The programme was introduced last year to eradicate problem buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) in collaboration and consultation with property owners, the Department of Public Works, and Transnet.

The strides made in the programme was highlighted in the budget speech tabled recently by eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda. 

The programme has resulted in negotiations with the Department of Public Works and Transnet to attend to seven of their buildings. This has yielded positive results as three of the buildings are in the process of being transferred to new owners for repurposing and/or redevelopment. Transnet has demolished one of their problem buildings in the Mahatma Gandhi precinct. 

A cautionary message was relayed to property owners who continue to ignore Municipal building by-laws that the City will not hesitate to institute legal proceedings against them.   

Speaking on the regeneration programme, Mayor Kaunda said the City has concluded the process of recruiting 300 street ambassadors under the Public Employment Programme. They will support the inner-city regeneration teams to enforce trading by-laws, ensure public safety, identify bad buildings, and enforce waste management by-laws.  These street ambassadors will be placed in secondary CBDs. Isiphingo will have 71 street ambassadors, the inner city 129, and Pinetown 100.

In partnership with the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Urban Future Centre Market, and informal traders, the City has initiated a zero-waste management programme at the Warwick Market Precinct. This programme is expected to have a positive impact in saving landfill space and contribute to the City’s climate adaptation agenda as it reduces the cost of removing organic waste. 

To attract more investment to the CBD, catalytic projects around and within the inner city have been prioritised in the Medium-Term Revenue Expenditure Framework.  The City is committed to investing R270 million to improve water supply and sanitation in the Point Precinct and Anton Lembede Street. This project also includes the upgrading of public realms on Mahatma Gandhi Road which is nearing completion. This will ensure there is enough water supply for the Point Waterfront Development.

Much progress has also been seen with the Rivertown Public Realm Project and the repurposing of the area between the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre and the beachfront to establish restaurants, pubs, and art galleries. This includes the paving of walkways in this R40 million development precinct.

The Durban Port is one of the busiest in the Southern Hemisphere, and to this end the creation of a R6.5 billion logistic hub is set to increase storage capacity and ensure there is a seamless and timely movement of goods between the City and various destinations in the SADEC region. The City will generate an annual revenue of R179 million from this project. 

Following the court decision which ruled in favour of the development of Film City at the old Natal Command Site, the Municipality is ready to conclude the land transfer processes. The Durban Film City is touted as a landmark project for the City. It has a projected capital cost of more than R7.5 billion, and it boasts world-class film studios and related film industry elements with tourism, lifestyle, and entertainment components. Over 17 000 jobs will be created during the construction phase and close to 8 000 people will gain employment once the project is operational.

The site re-zoning has been completed and the Municipality is currently consolidating the development of land into a single portion to transfer it to the developer