Cape Town - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has put the brakes on lease renewals for office space in the city centre to cut the metro’s rental costs.
“The time has arrived when we need to ask: Where are these leases for, why are these leases in place and why is all of our office space in the city centre?”
De Lille told the mayoral committee this week that the city could have bought some of the buildings it leased for the money it spent on monthly rent.
The monthly rent for buildings used by the city in the CBD ranges from R27 000 to R508 000. These include the Paul Sauer and Standard Bank buildings in Adderley Street and Norlen House in Buitenkant Street.
De Lille said technology had made it easier for city departments to be based across the metro, and not just in the city centre.
The mayoral committee agreed that several lease renewals for office space in the CBD should be referred back until a comprehensive audit of city facilities was complete.
Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services, said the city wanted to limit the cost of external leases and use its facilities more effectively. Initially, the mayoral committee agreed in May that the duration of these leases should be limited to just 12 months.
But the line departments renting these spaces complained that shorter leases could have a negative effect on service delivery. Some cautioned that shorter lease terms could have cost implications, while some landlords were unwilling to consider leases of only 12 months with the same conditions as longer-term rentals.
Based on these concerns, the mayoral committee was asked to rescind its May decision so that the leases could be extended beyond 12 months.
However, the committee resolved not to review this decision, and all of the leases referred to in the report - except those for three buildings in Bellville, Mitchells Plain and Plumstead, were referred back pending the outcome of the audit.