There is more in store for the business sector than what was revealed when the city presented the Isipingo Regeneration Programme to interested parties on Thursday, 9 November.
Musa Mbhele, the head of the Development Planning and Environment Management Unit, presented what the city had achieved since the multi-disciplinary special operations to renew the area began at the end of July and provided information on some of the future developmental plans being led by the city.
Mbhele said the programme was unique in that it entailed enforcement coupled with development projects to get Isipingo back to its former glory.
Besides the enforcement and management of bad buildings, some of the development projects identified include the relocation of the Isipingo Transit Camp, a R25-million drug rehabilitation centre, an automotive hub for emerging mechanics, reorganisation of the informal traders and taxi ranks, reconfiguration of the stormwater infrastructure, and the establishment of a Keep Isipingo Clean Association. These projects are still in the early phases of development.
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Isipingo is at the heart of a major manufacturing hub, the South Durban Basin. It has transit-oriented development opportunities and is one of the highest growing secondary towns.
Despite this, it has unique environmental challenges, damaged estuaries and bears the brunt of the uncontrollable inefficiencies associated with port expansion. High levels of crime and grime, dysfunctional infrastructure and social ills were also identified as some of the local challenges.
Mbhele said illegal informal trading, littering, damaged infrastructure, lack of compliance to health, town planning and building regulations, illegal connections to water and electricity, and illegal dumping are daily issues dealt with by officials on the ground.
Bringing hope to the business community attending the presentation, Mbhele said a multi-disciplinary team approach is the cornerstone of the programme with numerous stakeholder and community engagements that distinguishes this programme.
These include businesses, volunteers and other organisations such as the National Bargaining Council for Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) which have joined the city in support of the programme.
He said the city will not compromise on enforcement of bylaws and regulations and encouraged business to ensure they are fully compliant. Mbhele called on the business community to partner with the city in its quest for a renewed Isipingo urban centre which is safe, clean and conducive to doing business.
“Business is impressed with the city’s efforts to regenerate the area and this engagement has been informative and fruitful as business representatives offered to join forces with the city on future programmes, even making suggestions such as forming a special crime watch organisation, showing they are prepared to take responsibility for their areas,” said Durban Chamber of Commerce chairman of the southern region, Gladwin Malishe.
“The willingness of business to partner with the city is a significant step, as it gives more impetus to the renewal of the area and encourages everybody to take ownership.
Solving problems in the area will make it more conducive to business growth, thereby creating more employment. I am sure that together we will fix up Isipingo slowly but surely,” said ward councillor for the area, Sunil Brijmohan, who has been instrumental in his support of the Isipingo task team efforts.
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