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Cape Town approves building plans worth R16 billion despite lockdown

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The City of Cape Town has approved over 17 000 building plans worth R16 billion during the past year despite COVID-19 lockdowns.

Mayoral spokesperson Lyndon Khan says a significant development, the Harbour Arch on the Foreshore, will create more than 13 000 jobs during the construction phase as part of the approved building plans.

The project is expected to attract an injection of approximately R14 billion in the local economy, contribute around R2,4 billion to household income of those who will be employed in the development project and upgrades infrastructure in the City of Cape Town.

It will also add 5 000 permanent jobs to the hospitality and retail uses that will flow from the development.

An advisory panel will be established to facilitate greater collaboration between property developers and the local authority.

Khan says, “Interventions were also discussed as the lockdown led to reduced foot traffic in the CBD which has had a knock-on effect on business revenue streams. Some of the interventions include the identification of possible alternative uses for buildings while also growing the informal trading sector in public spaces to encourage greater footfall.”

City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato in a statement said, “The City of Cape Town has worked hard to continue economic recovery and development through its commitment to prioritise projects which boost the economy and offer job creation.”

“We have chosen to establish an advisory panel, so infrastructure development is advanced in a quicker, consultative and responsible manner. The property development sphere is a regulatory-heavy environment and requires greater input and discussions with the development industry to identify where we can offer further support and partner with them. We must do all we can to ensure that challenges of land invasions and regulatory hurdles do not limit possibilities for development in the sector,” added Plato.

Meanwhile, the City has said it aims to provide permanent housing to victims of the Masiphumelele fire by the end of this year.

More than 4 000 people were left homeless in December last year, when the fire tore through the informal settlement, near Fish Hoek in Cape Town.

The City says over 850 temporary units have been completed.

The tragedy struck a week before Christmas and amid the second wave of COVID-19. After a local disaster was declared, funding was freed up and all three spheres of government worked together to accommodate the fire victims.

It was a race against time in the face of an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The City says all those who have been verified to have lost their homes have been accommodated in the temporary structures.

Source: SABC news

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