2008-05-12: Establishment of City Improvement Districts in Johannesburg
SINCE the introduction of the Gauteng City Improvement Districts Act in 1997 11 City Improvement Districts (CIDs) have been established across the greater Johannesburg, in addition to six voluntary improvement districts and three related special projects.
A CID is a partnership between the City and the private sector to improve the management of the urban environment for the benefit of owners, tenant and visitors. Such districts are set up within a defined geographic area where property owners have agreed to pay for certain services that will improve their physical environment. The establishment of a CID follows a consultative process between the City and local property owners. It requires the support of at least 51% of owners of ratable properties in a designated area, and the development of an improvement plan. A board of directors drawn from the contributors is responsible for the implementation of the plan.
CIDs have traditionally been established in areas with strong retail and commercial activities but where decay and degeneration may be impacting on the marketability of the area. Most CIDs are in and around the Inner City although some CIDs have been established in decentralised business nodes.
Recently, however, the City has been petitioned for the establishment of CIDs in purely residential areas. This new trend raises a number of legal and policy issues, and the City of Johannesburg must make a well informed decision on whether or not to support such CIDs. The views of various groups, and of the public at large, must be taken into account when making the decision.
The City has established an Advisory Panel made up of development practitioners and academics, and also representatives of the business sector and civil society. The panel will receive submissions from the public and advise the City on the matter.
Members of the public are therefore requested to make written submissions to the Panel on the question of whether CIDs should be established in areas that are primarily of a residential nature.