Warning on crime and grime in Cape Town's central business district
“If we are unable to meet the demands of a growing CBD, we run the risk of investors pulling out,” said CCID chairperson Rob Kane. The year under review, 2018-19, was the most difficult I have experienced since being part of the CCID, and trust me, I have seen some tough years.
“Conditions on the ground have changed substantially and we have found it an increasing challenge to keep delivering on our mandate to keep the CBD safe, clean, caring and open for business.”
Kane said that while property valuations in the CBD had climbed from just more than R6billion in 2006 to close to R43bn last year - representing year-on-year growth of 18% - investors would take their money to other growth nodes in South Africa or overseas if “we are not able to run the CBD well”.
“If the CCID is not able to deliver on its mandate and do its job effectively, we run the risk of the central city falling back into the “crime and grime” scenario it was 19 years ago. This will make the city centre unattractive to investors,” he said.
Cape Town is facing a massive crisis, including a growing housing problem, the influx of locals moving to the city centre and refugees who have been sleeping outside the Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square.
CCID chief executive Tasso Evangelinos said: “The success of Cape Town as a city is directly linked to the success of the CBD.
“While the CBD continues to grow, with the daily footfall of people entering the CBD continuing to increase, maintaining its success has to increase; maintaining its success has placed huge demands on our organisation, especially in a harsh economic environment.”
A report by Wesgro, released this month, showed that the property market in high-end areas was feeling the effects of the depressed economy, recording the worst declines in sales in recent years.
According to a property report Wesgro released, market activity in areas such as Green Point, Sea Point and the Waterfront has seen the sectional title markets slow down sharply. Properties at the Waterfront have registered the lowest number of sales in the past 10 years.
Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris said: “The secret to their success is ensuring that our business hub is both safe and clean, maintaining a demand for both residential and commercial property.
“We agree that if these basic factors are not maintained, this demand will drop and investors will be concerned.
“Fortunately, the CCID is a world-class outfit and we believe that with the combined effort of the private and public sector, we will be able to maintain the success of the Cape Town CBD now and into the future,” Harris added.
Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said the local economy had experienced significant strain over the year.
“My priority for the past year has been to position my portfolio as the city’s growth directorate. This means that we focus our energy on attracting investment and growing tourism and trade, which in turn creates jobs and leads to economic growth.
“This gets significantly more difficult when matters in the hands of the national government compromise the economic growth of the entire country, as well as Cape Town.
“These conditions and circumstances are not good for business, and I hope the situation gets resolved soon for everyone’s sake,” Vos said.@MarvinCharles17