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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town's recreation and parks department has embarked on a project to breathe new life into its community facilities, the city said on Sunday.

This included a process to regularise the occupation of all facilities as well as carry out repairs and maintenance where required," mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services JP Smith said.
 
The regularisation was necessitated by the fact that many organisations had been occupying space in facilities such as community halls or sports complexes without formal agreements - as required by the municipal asset transfer regulations put in place by national government, he said.

The work of many of these organisations was very valuable to the surrounding communities and this process would mean that a number of them would now have an opportunity to enter into formal partnership agreements with the city. The process would be open in that any community organisation was welcome to apply to be permanently based at or regularly use city facilities for their programmes.
 
The city wanted to provide equitable and affordable access to all community organisations and groups wishing to make use of these spaces. Access would be governed via a transparent and fair booking system or via an application process, which would result in a formal agreement between successful organisations and the city, such as a lease agreement or a management agreement.
 
"It is important that all city facilities are used optimally to enhance the social well-being of the communities they serve. Community-focused spaces like halls and sports fields are an essential part of the social fabric of communities. However, there is much greater demand than these facilities are able to accommodate," Smith said.

"It is therefore imperative that we work hard to ensure that these spaces are used in an optimal manner and accommodate as many of the community needs and organisations as possible," he said.

As part of this process, the city would offer all registered non-governmental organisations and accredited community organisations the opportunity to submit business plans and proposals should they wish to be based at a city-owned facility, aligned with the city’s sport and recreation policy framework, and integrated development plan objectives. Agreements would be entered into with successful organisations, under which the city’s conditions for usage would be defined.
 
"We have appointed dedicated personnel to this project who will be involved in engaging with occupiers of city facilities as well as assessing the condition of these facilities. I encourage organisations and communities to play an active role in this process to ensure that everyone has a voice," Smith said.