The City of Johannesburg cannot continue accepting its projected 1.6% economic growth rate, as it will not be able to reverse the high rates of unemployment, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday, adding that the city needed to achieve a minimum of 5% economic growth by 2021.
During his State of the City address at the Council Chambers in the city’s central business district, Mashaba pointed out that Johannesburg had 862 000 unemployed people, with an unemployment rate of over 30%.
The youth were the greatest causalities of this crisis, facing an unemployment rate of over 50%. “Too many of our residents remain without the dignity of work and [are] incapable of supporting their families,” he stated.
“I am angry that a government could justify spending money on lesser priorities while our people are subjected to the most desperate conditions in informal settlements and their dignity is being trampled on,” he said of the previous administration, noting that “shameless looting” had placed the city in dire straits.
Over 300 cases of corruption were currently being investigated, valued at around R10-billion. “This figure is utterly sickening. This level of corruption could not have taken place in a vacuum. It is without doubt that many a blind eye was turned in leadership.”
However, Mashaba highlighted that, since his inauguration in August, the city achieved an allocation of R49-million to its waste management services Pikitup for additional cleaningshifts, employing an additional 640 residents.
A further R5-million was allocated towards the completion of a shared industrial production facility in Alexandra, which will assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the informal manufacturing sector.
“We want Johannesburg to be the engine room of South Africa’s economic growth. This cannot happen at the current projected growth rate,” he reiterated.
As such, the city would continue to focus on small businessdevelopment, aiming to more than double its SME hubs to 14 by year-end, which will increase the number of SMEs supported through each hub each month to 1 250 by June 2018.
Looking ahead, Mashaba outlined his ten-point plan for the city to enable further economic growth, while erasing the challenges brought on by the city’s previous administration.
Having inherited a housing backlog, conservatively estimated at 300 000 units, and an average delivery of only 3 500 housing units a year, Mashaba noted that it would take around “a century” to resolve the backlog.
“The indignity caused by this lack of adequate housing is best seen by the 181 informal settlements which have mushroomed across the city. There has been a chronic underinvestment into our informal settlements. More than half of these informal settlements have no basic services,” said Mashaba.
Since August, the city increased its funding to the Johannesburg Social Housing Company to R219-million, dedicated to buying buildings that will be refurbished within the inner city and converted into low-cost rental stock that will house 1 164 families.
A further R2-million was allocated towards the constructionof homeless shelters.
The City of Johannesburg now plans to make its completed housing list, bearing the names of 152 000 residents, public. This will ensure that “anyone can query their position on the list, and know where they stand”. It will also improve the handover of title deeds, with the new administration having handed out 2 800 since August, with another 1 100 to be handed out this month.
Further, the city plans to complete 1 841 unfinished housingunits in the current financial year, allocating R546-million to fund the electrification of these incomplete housing units.
Although it was facing a R69-billion electricity backlog, the city had allocated R41-million to electrify five informal settlements, “where children have never studied with even the assistance of a light.”
Further, 1 000 households in Meriting and Finetowninformal settlements will be electrified during the year.
“Upon the completion of the R24.5-million project, the families of Meriting and Finetown North will be able to light and warm their homes against the coming winter, and these two communities will be less vulnerable to tragic fires.”
With the city facing a reported repair and maintenancebacklog on its road networks exceeding R5-billion, Mashaba noted that he had “declared war” on potholes and prioritised the repair of failing road surfaces.
An additional R88-million has also been allocated to the Johannesburg Roads Agency to procure materials and personnel to undertake vital repairs.
“I am pleased to announce that, following our adjustment, in the month of March alone, an impressive 17 696 potholes were repaired,” Mashaba pointed out.
Another area of improvement Mashaba would focus on was revenue collection. “Our reality is that we have to collect more revenue,” he said, adding that, during March, R3-billion was collected, against a budgeted amount of R2.6-billion, owing to an outbound collection unit, which was reconstituted after the removal of an external contractor, collecting R275-million.
The city aims to reach the R4-billion mark in monthly collections by the end of July; however, with over 48 000 open billing queries, of which 26 000 are 90 to 365 days old, it will remain challenging.
To attend to this matter with urgency, the City of Johannesburg reconstituted its Back Office Unit within the revenue department and made provisions for overtime so that they can resolve the open queries, having started working on April 3.
Delegates at the fourth Event Greening Forum (EGF) Conference will be addressed by events sustainability experts on this year’s theme “Go Green, it’s good for business”. The conference will take place at Hackle Brooke Conference Centre, Johannesburg on 21 July 2016.
The EGF is delighted that Roger Simons, Regional Sustainability Director at MCI and President of the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), is the conference’s keynote speaker. He will share how global brand communications strategies are evolving in the 21st century, and how events are increasingly an important component of major brands’ sustainability strategies.
The EGF conference will be attended by corporates, event planners, venue managers, and a range of service providers who operate within the events industry.
“This year’s conference is particularly important,” says EGF Chairman, Justin Hawes. “Not only is this our first stand-alone conference, but we have managed to secure an international sustainability guru who will share what leading brands and organisations are doing in the event greening space.”
There has been a shift in organisations, with sustainable practices now playing a crucial role in their operations. Delegates can expect to learn more about the most up-to-date international green trends, the recently-launched Minimum Standards for Sustainable Events, how simple it can be to green an event, the cost versus benefit of hosting sustainable events, and the steps required to ensure a truly sustainable event.
Simons will also be hosting a Sustainable MICE Excellence Master Class at the SAACI Association Hub on 20 July 2016. The workshop is aimed at venues and convention bureaus and planners. He’ll be covering topics including: key leadership trends in MICE; sustainable food; ISO20121 – What it is and how it works; and how to communicate your sustainability strategy.
Registration is now open for the EGF’s full day conference and the half day Master Class workshop. To book visit http://www.eventgreening.co.za/events, or email Lynn McLeod on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Cape Town – Ride-sharing company Uber on Thursday announced a limited promotion of UberGreen in Cape Town.
Following a Johannesburg pilot of the service, Uber expanded to Cape Town.
“UberGreen is a pilot project that was available to Johannesburg riders from 9 May to 3 June 2016 and has now ended. The pilot will be available to Cape Town riders from 13 June to 18 July 2016,” said Samantha Allenberg, Uber communications manager for Africa.
The so-called green service offers riders the opportunity to be transported in BMW i3 electric vehicles.
Uber said 15 000 people took up the offer in Johannesburg, travelling an aggregate 5 300km.
“UberGreen will charge the same fare as UberX in Cape Town,” Allenberg said.
BMW said it has sold 124 electric vehicles since the launch of the car in SA.
“In order for the momentum of electric mobility to increase, partnerships like the one with Uber are essential to expose more consumers to the viability of electric vehicles and alternative mobility options,” said Tim Abbott, managing director of BMW Group South Africa.
Allenberg warned Uber subscribers that demand for the green service may be high.
“As this is a pilot, there are a limited number of BMW i3 electric vehicles operating on the Uber platform. Demand will be high so we ask that riders remain patient. We are looking to grow the pilot over time.”
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – BRANDED Youth and Standard Bank plan to raise R3 million as bursaries for needy students in South Africa.
This is part of broader plans to empower youth in the country.
Through the Standard Bank Youth Expo set for August, the two organisations aim to through sponsorships, exhibitor contributions, donations from the public at large, including private businesses.
Once achieved, the money will be donated to various tertiary institutions, so they can award bursaries to deserving students.
Meanwhile, the Standard Bank Youth Expo is seen as a platform that will provide South African matriculants and university students with the tools to navigate the prevailing volatile economic environment. It set for August 6-7 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The expo follows the realization that only about 15 percent of high school students make it to university, and the youth unemployment rate rests at 63,1 percent with the former influencing the latter.
“There’s a greater need for brands and organizations to engage with the youth of South Africa to ensure that they are educated and empowered for the future, we therefore designed The Standard Bank Youth Expo as a platform that will fully cater to this,” Bradley Maseko, Managing Director of Branded Youth, said.
Motlatsi Mkalala, Senior Manager for Youth Customer Financial Solutions at Standard Bank South Africa, said their research and the current political climate show that South African youth are concerned about their future outlook.
“They are afraid of becoming another unemployment statistic, failed entrepreneurs, or being unable to afford their tertiary tuition,” said Mkalala.
“The Standard Bank Youth Expo will show them that this does not have to be the case. The Youth Expo will provide all the resources necessary that can help turn dreams of future success and prosperity into reality.”
South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping centre development to date, the $340 million (R5-billion ZAR) Mall of Africa, will be fully operational in 17 days — on 28 April 2016.
At 130,000sqm, Mall of Africa will feature over 300 retailers, restaurants, entertainment and cinema complex, all within a single development.
The mall is co-owned by two South African property companies. JSE-listed real estate capital growth fund Attacq Limited holds the commercial development rights to Waterfall and owns 80% of the Mall. Atterbury Property Developments owns 20% and is responsible for the development project, on behalf of Attacq.
“The development has enhanced the diversity of the retail sector in South Africa, changed Gauteng’s skyline and stimulated the economy,” says Louis van der Watt, CEO of Atterbury.
Funded by Nedbank CIB Property Finance, the construction of Mall of Africa began nearly three-and-a-half years ago, on 28 October 2012.
While the mall comprises some 130,000sqm of gross lettable area, James Ehlers, MD of Atterbury Property Developments, notes its construction area covers a massive 550,000sqms – or 78 rugby fields. A stroll around the building’s perimeter will take you on a walk of 1.75 kilometres.
Ehlers also reveals that over 6 kilometres of shopfront has been created inside Mall of Africa. Plus, more than 530 kilometres of post tension cable has been used in its construction, as well as 18,500 tons of rebar and 205,000 cubic metres of concrete.
During the construction phase, a substantial 3,078 people were employed for the project and, by January 2016, they had worked 10.41-million man hours.
The shopping mall will open with seven anchor tenants, and an array of international retailers that have chosen to debut their brands to South Africans at the mall, as well as an appealing line-up of flagship stores for all major South African retailers.
Anchor tenants include Checkers, Edgars, Game and Woolworths. They will be joined by leading South African brands from The Foschini Group, Mr Price and Truworths.
International brands opening their first stores in South Africa at the mall include Armani Exchange, Helly Hansen, Asics, Zara Home, The Kooples, Under Armour, Mango Man, women’secret and Amsterdam-based Soap Stories.
One of the many leisure highlights at Mall of Africa is a magnificent outdoor park with a children’s play area featuring an interactive musical water fountain.
The retail centre is situated in Midrand’s Waterfall City, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is located adjacent to the Allandale Road exit of the N1 Highway, the first free-flow intersection of its size in Africa.
The mall has around 6,500 parking bays, most of which are under cover. It also offers valet parking, special drop-off facilities for buses and dedicated Uber pick-up and drop-off points – a first in the South African retail environment. It is also minutes away from the Gautrain Midrand Station.
While Mall of Africa is set to dazzle both locals and visitors from far and wide, there is much more to this ground-breaking development than first meets the eye.
The project implemented multiple green technologies, including a massive photovoltaic installation on the roof of Mall of Africa. The installation will be the largest in South Africa and Africa and will provide 4.8MVA of sustainable power for the centre. The mall will use grey water harvesting in all public toilets and for the irrigation of the entire development. Its design means natural light is maximized in the mall in such a way that shopper comfort is also optimised.
The shopping mall combines the latest international trends, environmentally sustainable materials and technologies. It is designed around new urbanism principles of walkable, mixed-use environments to create a truly cutting-edge shopping experience.
Johannesburg – The Finance Ministry has approved an increase of wheat import duties by 34 percent to the highest on record to protect local farmers, but asked the trade commission to review the formula because it is concerned about the higher tariff’s effect on food prices.
The tariff on wheat imports was now R1 224.31 a ton, in line with the International Trade Administration Commission’s current formula, the ministry said on Friday.
The department has proposed to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies that he considers “an urgent and accelerated review” of the formula, and that this will also be followed by probes into the calculations for sugar and maize.
“The Ministry of Finance is particularly concerned about the impact of the higher import duty on wheat on the price of bread and other staple food, but also mindful of the need to ensure policy certainty, food security and the financial health of the farming industry,” it said.
While South Africa is the sub-Saharan region’s biggest producer of wheat after Ethiopia, it is still a net importer of the grain. The driest conditions since 1992 have damaged crops and livestock and sent local wheat prices to the highest on record, driving up food prices.
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.”
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.”
JOHANNESBURG – There appears to be no end in sight to the refuse crisis in the City of Johannesburg as Pikitup employees continue with their strike.
Yesterday, workers threw rubbish onto the streets and overturned bins in the CBD.
They have been protesting for over four months over wages and allegations of misconduct against managing director Amanda Nair.
The Johannesburg CBD is full of litter following another protest by Pikitup employees.
Rubbish is piled high on the pavements making it difficult for pedestrians to walk.
Pikitup spokesperson Jacky Mashapu says because of intimidation they have not been able to remove refuse.
In the suburbs, the situation is also dire, overflowing and uncollected bins line the streets causing a health hazard.
TAPS ran dry in some 40 areas in Johannesburg this week coinciding with the launch of the ongoing National Water Week.
As Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, was flagging off the exercise under the theme, “‘Water for People, Water by People,” in Port Elizabeth, thousands of kilometers away, scores of Johannesburg residents were reeling under the shortage of the precious liquid.
According to City Power officials, the problem emanated from Rand Water linking a new pipe to the existing infrastructure over the weekend, which meant disrupting the feed to the Yeoville reservoir. The facility carries 40 million litres per day.
An operation that was supposed to have lasted 24 hours from 06h00 on Sunday was beset by complications hence it took longer than expected and the reservoir ran dry.
Among the affected areas were Berea, Bertams, Bez Valley, Braamfontein, Bruma, Cyrildene, Doornfontein, Hillbrow, Kensington, Malvern, Observatory, Troyeville, Parktown and Yeoville.
These communities were left resembling villages as residents could be seen moving bucket in hand to secure water from neighbouring and tanks the water utility had placed in some areas.
Scuffles broke out intermittently at the few flats that had water as residents jostled in queues, particularly on Monday evening.
Similar scenes were reported at a number of tanks Joburg Water placed in key areas including hospitals and police stations.
There was pandemonium at a street corner in Yeoville as residents scrambled to collect water from a burst pipe.
“Should we die now because this is not working for anyone,” said Hillbrow resident Nomusa Ndlovu.
However, to some, the setback evoked a sense of humour. “Joburg residents will be like, ‘We don’t have water while it is raining’. I can never understand,” tweeted a resident.
Joburg Water apologised for the inconveniences. The utility said it would take longer to restore supplies to higher-lying areas.
At the time of going to print, residents confirmed supplies had been restored.