From left to right: Nomzamo Radebe, President Elect of SAPOA, Neil Gopal, SAPOA CEO, Executive Mayor in the City of Johannesburg, Parks Tau, Trevor Fowler: City Manager (City of Joburg) and Michael Deighton, SAPOA President.
“We can achieve so much more and get better results if we work together instead of doing it on our own”. This was the main message delivered by the City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau. The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) executives and members of the board met with the City of Joburg yesterday evening as part of its Meet the Mayor initiative.
The initiative, which is one SAPOA’s key endeavors to strengthen partnerships, dialogues and collaboration between the commercial property sector and government, was attended by the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Parks Tau, SAPOA President Mike Deighton, SAPOA CEO Neil Gopal, SAPOA board members and representatives from the City of Joburg, among other key government and property stakeholders.
In his opening address, Deighton referred to the occasion as a celebration of SAPOA and the city’s progress to date and is one more milestone in a journey that is heading in a positive direction. “The objective of the engagement is to collectively drive mutual value between SAPOA and the leadership of the City. It is a chance for us to engage openly and informally and to provide constructive criticism and exploration in to how we collectively work together to move forward. Shareholder engagements are something much deeper. It encourages further collaboration between the two parties”.
In his address, Executive Mayor Tau expressed the City’s impact of spatial disconnect. There is a mismatch between where people work versus where they live. High ecological foot print makes us vulnerable to disasters. The city intends to learn from other more efficient cities. A Compact city strategy aims to intensify urban land use through higher residential densities, centralisation, mixed land uses and development limits outside of a designated area.
Tau stressed the need to look at the long term implications of the location decisions we make. He also highlighted the work being done, in conjunction with SAPOA, in the areas of global environment facility, water and energy.
“There is joint work that we are doing with SAPOA to look at the impact of commercial real estate on the city economy. This is due for completion next year – we are trying to stretch the scope so that we also look at the cost of “poor” location decisions that are made by both the state and the market. More importantly, we need to explore how we jointly make conscious long terms location decision.”
“The property sector is key to the City and we are committed to working with all property owners in developing their businesses as this is also one of the ways the City assists in creating an appealing landscape for residents and visitors to the City. We can achieve so much more if we are on the same side. It is imperative that we solidify this partnership to ensure synergy between the city and the private sector,” said Tau.
The Mayor also discussed the success of the month-long ecomobility world festival, and lessons learnt to ensure that the decongesting of Sandton is part of the city’s long-term vision. These and other concerns, the mayor says, are why the City will continue to collaborate with organisations such as SAPOA.
One of SAPOA’s priority roles is ensuring that government departments and representatives remain in constant conversation with the property sector and that the industry’s needs are addressed at a legislative level.