Cape Town – The African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 took place on Thursday at the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town.
The winners were announced at a ceremony attended by SA’s influential travel bloggers, industry experts and Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom.
Tim Harris, chief executive officer of awards sponsor Wesgro said: “We are pleased to recognise the vision of the Award winners for providing leadership in their respective sectors throughout Africa, and effectively contributing to growing tourism in a sustainable manner. Today, we celebrate their commitment and achievements.”
The overall winner was Mara Naboisho Conservancy. The judges’ reasons for winning: “Prior to setting up Naboisho Conservancy, four years of consultation with the 554 landowners lead to 94 percent of them signing over their land to a holding company with their own appointed directors who have in turn entered into a management agreement with Naboisho Conservancy.
“The community gets direct and tangible benefits from wildlife conservation; no other activity provides as much income to as many people as Naboisho Conservancy,” according to an article on bizcommunity.com.
South Africa’s own Bushman’s Kloof won overall for Best Contribution to Cultural Heritage Conservation – supported by Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme.
Click here for a full list of winners.
SANDTON – Read up on why Sandton has become the premium spot for the Green Building Convention this year.
With the spotlight on Sandton being the epicentre for green buildings, this year’s Green Building Convention will move from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
The Sandton Convention Centre has been chosen to host the annual convention for the first time from 26 to 29 July, and City Improvement district manager of the Sandton Central Management District, Elaine Jack, said Sandton is a fitting choice for the event.
Jack said the venue is the perfect choice as Sandton has the largest number of standing and under construction green buildings in Africa – many of which are ground-breaking sustainable developments.
She said, “Ever since it was launched eight years ago, [the event] has been hosted in Cape Town, and this year, for the first time, the convention will be hosted in Sandton. It is South Africa’s flagship green building and sustainability event, and will put the spotlight on Sandton as a major centre of green building activity in Africa.”
The Sandton node hosts the largest collection of green-rated buildings in Africa, with more than 20 projects certified by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) and includes the landmark Nedbank head office on the corner of Rivonia Road and Maude Street in the Sandton CBD.
The Nedbank office hosts some impressive green innovations including a rainwater harvesting system and blackwater treatment system, an energy-efficient lighting system as well as highly efficient water fixtures and fittings. The rainwater harvesting and blackwater treatment systems provide recycled water for all non-potable water uses such as irrigation, toilet flushing and for cooling towers; while water-efficient plumbing reduces outflows to the sewerage system by 50 percent.
The Sandton CBD will welcome a plethora of new green buildings, with Jack adding, “The new Discovery and Sasol head office buildings are two of the largest green building developments in Africa. They are going to be cutting-edge marvels of green building and sustainability when they are complete.
“Sustainable public transport and eco-mobility form a crucial part of Sandton’s future as a major hub. New and even existing buildings in Sandton that are targeting a green building certification can benefit from the Gautrain and other eco-mobility projects, such as the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System in the future in terms of the sustainable public transport element of the GBCSA’s Green Star Certification Scheme.”
CAPE Town is set to become home to a R14bn green village thought to be the first development of its kind in SA and on the continent.
Swisatec, a Cape Town-based architectural and project management firm, will spearhead the project in Somerset West, which is nestled among some of the Western Cape’s trendiest wine farms.
The project will constitute an upgrade of the popular Blue Rock Resort, where construction is expected to start in August.
The Blue Rock Village will become one of the biggest mixed-use developments in Cape Town.
Richmond Park, a multibillion-rand mixed-use property, is also being developed in Cape Town on a prime greenfields site in Milnerton, adjacent to the N7 highway.
The Western Cape government is also due to launch a multimillion-rand construction project of a mixed-use neighbourhood on the 22ha site in Pinelands of the former Conradie Hospital.
Swisatec, which has forecast that the project will take eight to 10 years to complete, said the village would be the first of its kind in SA and on the continent.
Plans for the mixed-use village include a multifunctional lifestyle centre, medical centres, boutiques, schools and colleges, nurseries, and restaurants and cafés.
Lukas Reichmuth, founder and director of Blue Rock Village, said yesterday that the project would be market driven, focusing on both the international and the South African markets.
Prospective investors can choose from flats in five different layout types for one-, two-, three-or four-bedroom options. Units started from €200,000 (just more than R3.4m at the current exchange rate), Mr Reichmuth said.
“Our apartments are designed to fit different types of individual needs. The development compromises 1,000 luxury apartments built on 40ha of land.
“As the first pioneers of car-free living, our vision of Blue Rock Village is to enjoy the magnificent beauty and natural surroundings where you can experience the great outdoors,” he said. All parking will be underground and the developers plan to construct a helipad.
In keeping with the development’s proposed green ethos, the units will use A+-rated energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting, as well as a water management system, and solar power.
Francois Viruly, a property economist and associate professor at the University of Cape Town, said mixed-use property developments were growing in popularity because of their ability to create a “lifestyle”. However, he cautioned that there were risks associated with such projects.
“It is never easy to get financing for such projects, because you are asking funders to fund different types of risks. Also, such projects take time to complete and things may change over time … in other words, people may change how and where they want to live,” he said.
TRAFFIC congestion in Cape Town exceeded that of Johannesburg from 2013 as a result of the upgrades to the Gauteng Freeway network which had a positive effect in reducing congestion in the country’s economic powerhouse.
This is according to an analysis by Stellenbosch University’s Smart Mobility Laboratory, which aims to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions within the field of intelligent transport systems.
The Smart Mobility Lab provided an expert analysis of the 2016 TomTom Traffic Index Report released this week. According to the index Cape Town remains the most congested city in South Africa and is ranked 47th in the world. Johannesburg was ranked second in South Africa, while East London was third. This year, Mexico City was classified as the most congested city in the world, followed by Bangkok, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.
The TomTom Traffic Index considers traffic congestion in 295 cities in 38 countries across the globe. According to TomTom, congestion globally has increased 13% since 2008.
“The annual progression of the TomTom Traffic Index data clearly reflects the impact of intervention projects on congestion such as the recent major Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme. A significant reduction in the Traffic Index is observed following the roll out of the freeway improvements between 2010 and 2012,” the Smart Mobility Lab states.
Cape Town has a Traffic Index of 30%, which means that drivers will experience an average increase of trip length of 30% throughout the day. During the morning peak period, Capetonians can expect to add an additional 71% to free flowing travel time. Johannesburg has a daily Traffic Index of 27%, and a morning peak hour index of 60%.
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said recently that growing congestion on Cape Town roads was having an adverse effect on businesses and forcing many to consider relocating or changing office hours to avoid the worst of morning and evening peak-hour traffic.
“It seems we are no longer dealing with rush hours but rush periods which can last for two or three hours,” said Chamber president Janine Myburgh.
Last year the City of Cape Town said it would spend R750m over five years to ease its mounting traffic problem. The money would be spent on improving infrastructure along major routes, mayor Patricia de Lille said at the time.
The TomTom data also reveals that in South Africa small cities have shown an increased rate of growth in congestion of nearly 7% per annum, which is far higher than the rate observed in larger cities in South Africa and worldwide-typically found to be between 1.5% and 3% per annum. The Smart Mobility Lab says this could reflect the rate of urbanisation in developing countries, particularly in smaller cities and highlights the urgent need for infrastructure and traffic management projects in these countries.
Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice president of TomTom Traffic, said the Traffic Index is released every year to help drivers, cities and transport planners to understand traffic congestion trends and how to improve congestion globally.
“We really want everybody to think about how they can lower the amount of time they waste in traffic every day — and to realise that we all need to play a part. If even just 5% of us changed our travel plans, we would improve travel times on our major highways by up to 30%. Collectively, we can all work together to beat traffic congestion.”
Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is bucking the sluggish trend in the national economy. It pulled in over three-million visitors in December alone, has substantially boosted its coffers and has embarked on some dynamic new developments. Retail, commercial, leisure and residential developments are all included in the 123 ha mix.
The 26-year-old V&A Waterfront receives more than 24-million visitors each year. While the V&A is clearly a tourist hub, locals make up the largest share of visitors, at 63%. Tourists make up just short of a quarter of the number of people who visit, with upcountry travellers making up the remaining 14%. “Our vision is to be the best waterfront in the world, but we also want to continue to be a space which locals love and celebrate,” says V&A Waterfront CEO David Green. So far, the V&A seems to be hitting the sweet spot by diversifying and appealing to various markets. The most hotly anticipated development is the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA) in the historic grain silo district of the V&A. Green describes the grain silos as a phenomenal piece of industrial architecture, which are being repurposed by the ‘magic and genius’ of renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick.
“The redevelopment plan specifically aims to retain and honour the historic fabric and soul of the Grain Silo building, in which the Zeitz MOCAA will be housed, while transforming the interior into a unique cutting-edge space to house the collection,” says Green. When it is completed next year, it will be the largest museum built in Africa for over 100 years – since the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, in Cairo. The aim is to harness the growing interest in contemporary African art and bring together collections of African art from across the world. The museum is also seen as a drawcard for attracting more tourists. CEO of Cape Town Travel Enver Duminy says the Zeitz MOCAA is set to be a ‘jewel in the V&A crown’ and will be home to 80 gallery spaces. The R500-million investment in the MOCAA dovetails with various others in the area. Four new silo developments will hold 35 000 m2 of new corporate offices, a Virgin Active Classic Health Club, a residential development, a midrange internationally branded hotel and over 1 050 additional parking bays. The road leading to the silo area will be widened to accommodate the expected increase in traffic.
Green Building First
The V&A has been working with the Green Building Council of South Africa to develop a new mixed-use tool which will be a first for South Africa. The new developments in the precinct will be located on top of the 2 750 parking bay super basement that will house the district seawater cooling plant and a number of other services, including sprinkler tanks, backup generators and diesel storage, potable water and gas. With Silo 1 and 2 already completed, this will bring the total investment in the silo development by V&A shareholders, Growthpoint and the Government Employees Pension Fund, managed by the Public Investment Corporation, to over R2.5-billion. About 2 500 people are expected to work at the Silo district every day once it is up and running. Currently, over 19 200 people are directly employed at the V&A, with another 16 894 indirect jobs. Cape Town’s first cruise liner terminal is also being developed at the V&A. The terminal upgrade will make up the first phase of a larger site revamp. The passenger terminal is expected to be completed in December 2017. Given that the cruise industry is seasonal, the terminal will be developed and run as a multiuse building, which can operate all year round. “The cruise terminal gives us the opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Cape Town, and is important as it’s the first impression it will create of the city,” says Green. An increasing number of people are also calling the Waterfront home, with residential developments becoming popular and prices on the rise. The new No 3 Silo residential development will comprise 75 luxury one- to four-bedroom apartments, with the same environmentally sustainable elements used in the No 2 silo. The V&A recently introduced its first rental developments, which has attracted young professionals. “The Ports Edge and Breakwater areas cater to a younger professional market that are not yet committed to buying property, but want to live and work and play in an urban-chic environment,” says Green.
The Waterfront has included green technologies in the build phases of its developments as well as retrofitting onto existing buildings. A 7 500 m2 rooftop solar system was installed on six rooftops of major buildings in the precinct last year. Working with the Green Building Council of South Africa, the V&A has set a target of achieving at least a four-star Green Star SA rating for its buildings. The R50-million Watershed, which makes up the old Red and Blue craft markets at the Waterfront, has also gained ground. Made up mostly of craft and design businesses and traders, it tripled its retail trade in the 12 months from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. A street was created through the physical building, turning it into a multi- functional space. The new development has sparked innovation and creativity, with designers sharpening their skills there. Small businesses now make up between 3% and 4% of the overall retail trade at the Waterfront, up from 1% a year ago. The Waterfront, which has 22 official landmarks on site, is part of south Africa’s historical legacy. It was developed in 1988 by Transnet Limited, with official commercial trading getting under way in November 1990. Now, 26 years later, the V&A has contributed R33-billion to the South African gross domestic product. This is nearly four times more than in 2002. With tourism identified as a key growth sector in the province overall, MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde says the Cape Town Air Access team is finalising negotiations for nonstop flights between Cape Town and key strategic destinations in Africa, Asia and the US.
The revitalisation of the V&A has also blended with changes in Cape Town’s central business district (CBD). “For many years, the V&A overshadowed the central city. We would like to think that the new-found popularity and investor confidence in the CBD has helped to contribute to the new-found investor confidence in the V&A. The two areas complement each other very well these days, and the reconnection is highly beneficial to both,” says Rob Kane, chairperson of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District. He says that, for a number of decades, there has been a disconnect between the central city district and the sea, largely owing to the town planning of the 1930s and 1940s, when the area known as the Foreshore today was reclaimed from the sea to extend the harbour. Harbour infrastructure, together with the freeway network built across the Foreshore effectively cut off the rest of the CBD from Table Bay harbour. But the vacant lots and car parks of the past have been transformed into an increasingly vibrant area. Investors are ploughing R8.2-billion into developments in the area over the next three to five years, from the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital and the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) to new office complexes, international hotels and residential accommodation. “Simultaneously, the V&A has developed. We are now seeing the two areas – the CBD and the V&A – move closer and closer together, reconnecting again for the first time in nearly 90 years. This is huge for the city and overall,” says Kane. The R700-million ‘Canal District’ straddling both sides of Dock road, in Cape Town, is testament to this. With a canal at its heart, the area will have a new urban park incorporating the remnants of the historical Amsterdam Battery. Totalling 75 000 m2 (or 7.6 ha), the mixed-use Canal District ties into the arterial route that connects the city to the V&A, and into the main pedestrian route that runs along Dock road. A corporate head office for British American Tobacco South Africa (BAT South Africa) is the first project in this new area. Called Amsterdam House, the building has been designed according to best practice green design principles. “The Canal District is a piece in the jigsaw puzzle that provides a seamless link through to the CTICC and Cape Town’s CBD,” says Green. The 2010 FIFA World Cup has been given some credit for hiking interest in the Cape Town CBD and the V&A, with many locals reconnecting with the CBD for the first time in a long time. For Green, the V&A provides endless scope for cascading development in Cape Town. “A waterfront cannot be viewed in isolation. It is an extension and neighbourhood of the city, not just an attraction,” he says. The Waterfront’s being intrinsic to the V&A’s development has been immensely rewarding for Green. “It is not only the pride of the people who work here that energises me, but seeing the pride that South Africans hold. History, industry, commerce and tourism are intertwined to make this an incredibly special place.”
THE South African Local Government Association (Salga) has reiterated its call for the equitable share formula, which is used to allocate funding to the country’s municipalities, to be reviewed urgently because it leaves metros such as Cape Town underfunded.
The local government equitable share, which is divided among 278 municipalities, is an allowance for basic services, community services and administration.
Salga Western Cape chairman Demetri Qually said at the weekend the financial sustainability of local government was a challenge. “The funding model of local government as proposed in the Local Government white paper should be reviewed and Salga is consistently discussing the issue of unfunded and underfunded (municipalities) and sustainability of local government in the national budget forum,” said Mr Qually.
Local government’s share of the national budget is about 9%. More was needed given the infrastructure and services delivered by municipalities, compared with other spheres of government.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has previously bemoaned the inadequate annual allocation the city receives from the national government, saying it was insufficient to meet the growing service needs of the city.
“People are moving to Cape Town in search of opportunities as confirmed by the census, (but) national government is giving more money to smaller municipalities away from the metros,” Ms de Lille said recently.
Mr Qually said revenue collection by Western Cape municipalities averaged 96%. The 9.4% electricity tariff increase awarded to Eskom would put municipal revenue under pressure.
CAPE TOWN – A study into innovation in Africa’s mining sector has shown that mining houses will need to innovate if they want to succeed in a sector marked by plunging commodity prices, deeper and more dangerous mines, greater geographical complexity and labour unrest. The ‘Innovation State of Play: Africa’ report, compiled by Monitor Deloitte and Mining Indaba, shows that the African mining sector is midfield in terms of innovation focus and impact. It scores on the lower end of competence on the industry maturity scale, but is slightly above the Canadian average.
“This hints at an opportunity for the continent to push ahead and truly lead through innovation, particularly as the operational context lends itself to thinking and working differently to unlock efficiencies,” said Deloitte Africa mining leader Andrew Lane. The study, the second of a three-part series which also covers Australia and Canada, examined current perspectives on innovation through a series of executive interviews. It also used the Innovation Scorecard survey methodology developed by the Deloitte innovation unit, Doblin.
Based on responses from mining executives, the current breakdown in Africa’s mining innovation was a relatively balanced 61% core, 23% adjacent and 16% transformational. This innovation ambition matrix is considered to be healthy. It follows a similar trend to the Canadian market. Core innovations are defined as innovations that optimise existing products for existing customers, while adjacent innovations are those that expand existing business into “new to the company” business.
Transformational or new innovations are considered breakthroughs and inventions for markets that do not yet exist. While the African market has a strong focus on core products and markets, including technological solutions to optimise old techniques as and when needed, the survey determined that there is significant scope to unlock higher levels of adjacent and transformational innovation. The study found that companies find it a challenge to spread risk. Lane said innovation needs to address the mine system holistically, incorporating it into social, labour and stakeholder spheres. “This is a view that is more inclined to be embedded in Africa’s mining players and one behind which there is a rallying call to capitalise on more.” Lane said companies need to be clear about what they are working on and how they envision their businesses of tomorrow if they want to unlock the potential of innovation and create a sustainable mining sector. “Importantly, senior management needs to champion innovation, while the appropriate governance structures need to be in place.”
CAPE TOWN – A South African expert says citizens have failed at using recycling as a method to combat waste.
Plastic could outweigh the amount of fish in our oceans by 2050, the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned in a report last week.
Plastic production has surged over the past 50 years, from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to over 300 million tonnes worldwide last year.
Currently, only 14 percent of plastic goods – mostly packaging – are being recycled.
Plastics are fossil-fuel based and it’s impossible to remake plastic into the quality it was before, says Muna Lakhani, founder of Zero Waste in Africa.
Lakhani says South Africans have failed.
“We’ve been recycling for probably 30 or 40 years and it hasn’t made any sort of significant dent in the waste stream. The most problematic material in our recycling stream is indeed plastic.”
As part of expanding the footprint of the MyCiTi service, Cape Town will purchase electric buses, according to mayor Patricia De Lille.
De Lille says the city will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for the MyCiTi service in line with the commitment to lowering carbon emissions.
“A tender for the procurement of a fleet of 12-metre electric buses is due to be advertised by the first week of February 2016,” she says in a statement.
She adds: “Cities across the world will soon reach a point where alternative fuel for public transport is no longer a choice but a prerequisite, and as such, the City of Cape Town has decided to expand our current fleet of diesel buses with electric ones.”
The terms of the tender specify the electric buses should be able to travel at least 250km in traffic before the batteries need recharging.
“Apart from the buses, the successful bidder must also provide the city with the charging stations for the buses and the necessary training for the bus drivers and mechanical engineers,” De Lille notes.
The city is also considering electric double-decker buses for longer distance trips as they have more seating, she explains.
In his research paper, Anthony Dane, from the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town, says as the demand for transport services is expected to grow, the industry needs to reduce its significant environmental impact and at the same time deliver improved mobility in a way that contributes towards South Africa’s sustainable development objectives.
According to De Lille, Cape Town’s move to issue a tender for electric buses is part of the city’s Energy 2040 Strategy as well as a way to show commitment to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.
Cape Town will be the first municipality in the country to benefit from the latest alternative fuel technology and will be the first city in Africa to use electric buses for public transport, she says.
“Apart from electric buses being eco-friendly with zero carbon emissions if we use solar power charging stations, a green fleet holds numerous other advantages.
“The operational cost of electric buses is significantly lower – not only in terms of fuel, but also in relation to maintenance as there are fewer parts to service,” De Lille states.
Since the launch of the MyCiTi bus service in 2010, approximately 38.5 million passenger journeys have been recorded to date.
Level two water restrictions will be implemented in Cape Town from New Year’s Day as the Western Cape has had a disappointing rainfall season and dams are on average emptier than last year.
Authorities say the restrictions will save about 20% of the city’s daily water usage. People who use alternative resources will also have to adhere to the restrictions.
Water restrictions are already in force in most parts of the country as the worst drought in decades tightens its grip.
Cape Town’s decision comes on the back of Durban’s eThekwini metro issuing a warning for stringent water use. It says domestic, commercial and industrial water consumption is to be reduced by 50% in areas north of the city and by 15% in the Central Business District.
The worst drought in decades tightens its grip on SA
The metro has banned irrigation and urged consumers to implement water saving measures. KwaZulu-Natal was last month declared a disaster zone due to the ongoing drought.
Many municipalities are forced to implement water restrictions, with the Midmar Dam at its lowest level in 65 years.
Meanwhile, in the northern Free State, nearly 800 small scale farmers who’ve been affected by the drought have been given booster packs to assist them feed their livestock.
Agriculture MEC Oupa Khoabane visited Parys and Sasolburg to hand over 780 parcels of fodder, drinking water and medication. He said government is committed to providing some relief to those affected.