Pretoria - Within a few years, the capital city could be unrecognisable with ambitious development plans that will transform its skyline and create a vibrant and efficiently-run city.
Executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa referred to some of the projects in his State of the City address last week, including the Tshwane Rapid Transport System, Government Boulevard, Tshwane House, Times Square, the Nelson Mandela Development Corridor and the West Capital project as well as African Gateway, a project in Centurion and one east of the city.
Government Boulevard, predominantly along WF Nkomo Street (formerly Church Street), is a joint project between the City of Tshwane and the national Department of Public Works aimed at providing suitable space for government head offices, local government and its agencies in a concentrated and accessible area.
The boulevard will also be an area where events, celebrations, marches and festivals can be staged.
Tshwane House, the seat of the city council, will represent the past and the new in that it will be located on the site of the demolished municipal headquarters, Munitoria, and will be home to the executive and legislative branches of the city.
The site has been cleared and construction should start in July. It will be ready for occupation in 2016.
The city’s Operation Reclaim will support Government Boulevard by creating walkways and pedestrianising streets within the precinct.
Construction is already under way on Madiba, Pretorius and Thabo Sehume streets.
The Tshwane Theatre and Times Square Precinct - an entertainment hub - seeks to turn the inner city into a place where residents and visitors can experience South Africa’s heritage.
Apart from the giant statue of Nelson Mandela which is proving a drawcard at the Union Buildings, the city, along with Dali Tambo, is exploring the creation of an assembly of life-sized statues of luminaries of the country’s transition to democracy in a symbolic walk at Fountains.
The monument, as well as Tshwane House, could, if all goes to plan, be completed by 2016.
Although the A Re Yeng bus rapid transit system is running about five weeks behind schedule, commuters should be able to use the first route between Hatfield and the city centre in July, with others following in due course.
The mayor said the city was also exploring an investment in a light rail tram system to complement the integrated rapid public transport network.
Last year, the city announced the R6 billion plan to redevelop four parcels of land on the western side of the city centre over the next five to eight years.
The West Capital Project will be a mixed-use development consisting of residential accommodation with a student village, retail and commercial components, inner-city housing and health care facilities.
As part of the project, following a Constitutional Court order, the city is to refurbish the high-rise Schubart Park flats.
This would be done in line with the vision of the West Capital Precinct development and the Inner City Regeneration initiative at a cost of about R900 million he told council. The project will take about two years.
The African Gateway project is a mixed-use development in the heart of Centurion.
The project is located on an 80-hectare site close to the Centurion Gautrain Station, with access to airports and other transport.
It will be integrated with the planned Government and Tshwane International Convention Centre precincts.
Symbio City, Africa’s tallest building, entails the conversion of 10 hectares of land which surrounds and includes the Centurion Lake into a new mixed-use development between the existing Centurion Mall and the Gautrain station.
The East Capital project covers Cullinan, Bronkhorstspruit and Rayton and seeks to promote economic development and attract investment in the eastern parts of the metro.
Ramokgopa said the project’s plan was to focus on developing a green belt and becoming the first city in Africa where principles of green development are implemented.