The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) executives and members of the board met with the City of Cape Town 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 Cape Town Patricia de Lille, SAPOA President Nomzamo Radebe, SAPOA CEO Neil Gopal, SAPOA board members and representatives from the City of Cape Town among other key government and property stakeholders.
This is Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille’s first engagement with SAPOA since her re-election as Mayor of the City of Cape Town for a second term.
During her welcoming address, Radebe highlighted the importance of such events to an industry body such as SAPOA. “A key issue for us as SAPOA and business is the issue of intergovernmental relations. We acknowledge that mutually beneficial partnerships and a joint working relationship with government is at times fraught with challenges that could be avoided through better understanding. The reality is that we are inseparable and we have to work together,” she said.
She further pointed out that as the urban conversation advances between SAPOA, the property industry at large and government, South African cities would begin to progress and evolve to compete on a global scale. “Cities and how they are governed and managed must be at the heart of the national economic jobs and growth debate if we are to have any hope of reaching in employment target. The ongoing concerns from both the private and public sector surrounding challenges that we both face requires that both parties become more actively involved with each other. We need to engage in meaningful dialogue and work together to improve business and the infrastructure in South Africa.”
Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille expressed the City’s commitment to becoming an Opportunity City that ensures an environment that is conducive to doing business at a global level. Her vision for the city is quite clearcut. “Firstly, we are pitching Cape Town to become the ‘digital city’ of Africa, and we are well on our way. We are the only city in Africa with an open data portal. Secondly, we want to pitch Cape Town to become the ‘ideas centre’ of Africa. As a city, we are leading on innovation . Cape Town was elected World Design Capital in 2014, and that was the catalyst for looking at design and innovation. In the past three years, in all our city departments, we’ve overlaid all our planning processes with design-led thinking.”
But the thing closest to her heart is poverty and inequality. “After 20 years of our new democracy, our people have been very patient. We need to double our efforts, so that more and more people can taste the fruits of our democracy. We need to change the lives of the most vulnerable out there.” she concluded.
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, thus the Meet the Mayor initiative will continue in other cities and remain a highlight in SAPOA’s diary.