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Building a city of opportunities

Patricia de Lille, the Mayor of Cape Town, celebrates how the City of Cape Town is slashing red tape and embracing technology to speed up construction and development in the city.

“We are committed to building an opportunity city by creating an enabling environment to attract investments that generate economic growth and job creation. The property sector is one of the key sectors which assist in fulfilling this objective, as it is one of the major income streams and contributors to economic growth in our city.

We appreciate and value the contribution of the property sector and we remain committed to working with you to see continued growth.

I am pleased to update you on our vision and share some good news with you.

We are seeing great traction with our Development Application Management System (DAMS), which has enabled residents to submit and track building plans electronically. Since January 2015, 96% of all building plans have been approved within the prescribed time frames. During the 2014/2015 period, the City has finalised more than 29 000 building plans to the value of R21.1-billion through DAMS.

We are looking forward to the anticipated rates income on this value and thank you in advance for that.

By the third week in April 2016 your professional teams will be doing their submissions on the internet via the City’s secure web portal, from anywhere and at any time, as we take this sophisticated electronic system to the next level by introducing web-based building plan and land-use submissions.

In another success for Cape Town, in the World Bank’s Doing Business in South Africa 2015 report, one of the five indicators that are measured is “Dealing with Construction Permits.” The City of Cape Town ranked Number One in the country with a rating of 78.1%. These results from the World Bank are a clear indication that we are making great strides in our strategy to establish Cape Town as a leading business hub.

Cape Town is ready to implement the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA). Another milestone last year was the adoption of the Municipal Planning By-law, which came into effect on 1 July. We believe that the innovative systems built into the by-law will reduce red tape, enable more responsive development regulation, and unlock investment potential. The Municipal Planning Tribunal has been established with highly qualified and experienced private and public sector members.

Looking ahead, I would like to update you on the City’s built environment development strategy, which in terms of housing developments seeks to build more densely and along major transport infrastructure projects and routes.

In terms of the City’s well-located land holdings suitable for development, we are looking at how we can partner with the private sector to develop this land in a manner that contributes to the built environment development strategy.

Since 2012, at the start of the City’s current Integrated Development plan (IDP) cycle, we have released 100 City-owned properties to the value of over R 100-million to the market. In March 2015, we released another list of properties in line with our efforts to leverage the City’s assets and stimulate economic activity and investment with the release of property not required for municipal purposes. The properties include two high-valued properties located in Lower Long Street and a property in Century City. This site, opposite the CTICC is approximately 3 500m² in extent with a General Business zoning and maximum permissible floor area of 15 500m², providing for a wide range of uses. Other properties on offer for community, business and residential use are located in Atlantis, Langa, Brackenfell, Goodwood, Constantia and Simon’s Town.

Our Human Settlements and Safety and Security directorates have also done a presentation to some SAPOA members on how to protect private property against land invasions. I would like to emphasise their point that landowners need to lay a trespassing charge immediately when land invasions occur and have their title deeds on hand to take the necessary action.

This year, we are also placing the spotlight on problem buildings. We are spending money on security at these buildings which could be better utilised. We therefore welcome any ideas from the property sector in terms of ensuring better and optimal use of these sites. A list of the locations of these properties can be made available.

In our mission to build a world-class city, we need to capitalise on infrastructure-led investment and create a crowding-in effect by the private sector.

In conclusion, let me thank you again for your interest and investment in Cape Town. I look forward to building meaningful partnerships and sharing ideas that will lead to greater economic progress and job creation.”

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Patricia de Lille
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