Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Dr Mpho Phalatese on April 8, addressing practitioners in the built environment industry, detailed how the city wants to regenerate the city by focusing on infrastructure, facilities and amenities to enable citizens to pursue “the gold proverbial” of a dignified life and sustainable jobs.
She acknowledged the myriad problems and challenges facing Johannesburg, not the least of which is the insufficient maintenance and upgrading of public service infrastructure, primarily water and sanitation, and transport infrastructure.
Phalatse reiterated the city’s goal of creating an enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs, including encouraging green construction and studying energy supply from independent power producers. The city hopes to issue a request for proposals for an independent power supply after the Energy Indaba, which will be held May 4-5.
The Mayor further underlined the need for Johannesburg to become a smart city, not only through the deployment of technologies to improve the functioning of the city, but also to digitize the administrative functions of the city in order to improve and accelerate the service delivery and authorization processes.
The city has launched its Digital Building Permit Management System (CPMS) that built environment organizations and professionals can use to submit applications. However, the city has placed service kiosks in all of its regional service centers where practitioners can submit their inquiries, complaints and queries.
This is a transitional measure to ensure that all residents and stakeholders can easily interface with the city, although the use of these kiosks is expected to decline over time as digital systems are increasingly used, Phalatse said.
“The role of the city is to ensure that the private sector is supported and empowered to grow the economy and create jobs, and to help the city and citizens recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19, which has seen many people lose their jobs.”
One of the CoJ’s seven priorities is to ensure the city is ready for business by improving the ease of doing business in the city, and the CoJ’s development planning department is seized of this objective.
“Going forward, we aim to add land use and zoning processes to the CPMS, to reduce wait times, improve efficiency and accuracy, and help us in the post- review to be improved.”
In addition, the city aims to improve the application of regulations, including in terms of urban planning. There are many violations of planning regulations, including dangerous and illegal buildings, illegal constructions and abandoned buildings, which impact the value of properties in the city.
“Joint operations with the [South African Police Service] and the group’s forensic and investigative unit will help us jointly clean up the city and we will carry out demolition if necessary, and we are also carrying out joint operations to close problem spaces and recover these spaces for use,” she said.
The CoJ will also be hosting an integrated development planning session specifically for the construction industry on May 6 to hear about the challenges they face and how best to overcome them.
“All of our priorities are green strands. Johannesburg has implemented a green building policy but will not achieve its green goals on our own and we need the private sector to go green as well. We have published our policy framework space development for public comment, and I encourage you to comment on it,” Phalatse said.
The city has an infrastructure backlog of R20 billion and an annual budget of just under R10 billion, meaning the backlog cannot be dealt with during a single mayoral term.
“If we want to densify the city, which is imperative but requires the redevelopment of infrastructure and underlying public services to serve larger populations, we need to have a conversation about how the private sector can contribute to the development of infrastructure.”
To this end, the CoJ’s nine-party multiparty administration has adopted the Golden Start policy to restore the city’s investment attractiveness to rejuvenate Johannesburg into a city of opportunity and a place where the aspirations of its citizens can shine. , she said.