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By Akhona Matshoba

Moneyweb: Journalist

Sapoa puts hand up to help fix Joburg

The organisation said it's open to engaging with city officials and sharing expertise to address infrastructural challenges.

The South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) is offering its expertise to the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) to help address the city’s infrastructural challenges.

The body, which represents commercial and industrial real estate owners, says it is “deeply concerned” about the dilapidation of infrastructure in the city as well as the visible breakdown of essential services, and wants to collaborate with the city to ensure businesses can operate with ease and residents receive due services.

According to the association, issues like load shedding, water shedding (and related inefficiencies), proper sewage management, corruption, and crime are at the top of its list of issues to attend to, as not doing so is costing property owners.

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“The situation in Johannesburg is of deep concern to us. Many SAPOA members own and control about 90% of commercial property in the metro and are, therefore, significantly exposed to the City of Johannesburg,” Sapoa president Jackie van Niekerk said in a statement.

“As a major contributor to the city’s rates base, we understand that businesses and residents are enduring significant hardships due to the ongoing infrastructure collapse.

“We are ready to collaborate with the City of Johannesburg to offer our skills and resources.

“We believe that by pooling our expertise, we can address the city’s infrastructure challenges and work towards a Johannesburg where businesses can operate fully and residents can lead secure and prosperous lives,” she added.

ALSO READ: Joburg councillors and employees owe the city millions in unpaid bills

Crises and frustrations

The property body steps forward just as the city navigates several crises from different corners. A few months ago, the city was plagued with numerous deadly building fires in the crumbling city centre, which segued into a conversation about the safety and security of some inner city buildings. Other parts of the city have had to navigate erratic power and supply challenges, frustrating both businesses and residents.

As the country’s economic hub, Sapoa says this can’t continue to be the city’s reality. According to its CEO, Neil Gopal, the body conducted a State of Infrastructure survey among industry leaders to find solutions to the city’s issues.

“The survey seeks to not only provide city decision-makers with industry sentiment but also to encourage debate with [the] South African Local Government Association on plans to create new approaches to private investment, and for the industry to assist with the necessary engineering, finance, legal, and other requisite skills which may be required at a local level,” Gopal said.

For the association, a “well-functioning” city is critical to attracting investments and promoting economic growth, and this is why it is open to engaging with city officials to chart a way forward.

ALSO READ: The state of Joburg is dire, like most of the country

This article is republished from Moneyweb under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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