Johannesburg - Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo
on Wednesday launched the inner city property scheme (ICPS) which is aimed at rejuvenating the central business district.
“The ICPS is an important initiative by the City of Johannesburg, in partnership with the private sector, to address urban decay and accelerate the rejuvenation of the CBD (central business district),” Masondo told journalists.
“The state and appearance of a CBD is an important barometer to determine the ability of a city to attract and retain investment. It is also a reflection of the extent of the advancement to commerce and overall economic development.”
The ICPS is replacing the better buildings programme which had the objective of turning “bad” buildings into “better buildings“, he said.
However, the better buildings programme was only moderately successful. This was because of the lengthy expropriation process, the screening of participants, and the need to provide transitional housing to people who had been evicted, Masondo said.
The solution to this is the ICPS, which was developed by the department of economic development, to transfer expropriated properties into an inner city property portfolio.
He said broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) participants will hold the controlling shares.
Thirty buildings are to be refurbished.
Each B-BBEE investor has to invest R5m into the rejuvenation programme, he said.
A panel of B-BBEE service providers will also be created and be responsible for the rejuvenation of the buildings.
“This makes the inner city property scheme one of the most far-reaching broad-based black economic empowerment transactions yet introduced in South Africa - and definitely the biggest in the property field.”
Masondo said the City will transfer dilapidated, abandoned, illegally occupied or hijacked properties as well as vacant pieces of land through a developmental lease with an option to buy.
Once the buildings are transferred they will be refurbished and brought in line with the building code of the City to turn them into viable and productive economic assets, he said.