BCMDA Conference: Property Development, Revitalization and Attracting Investment

BCMDA Conference: Property Development, Revitalization and Attracting Investment

Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality kicked off its 2019 Investment Conference at the International Conference Centre, East London on Wednesday, 27 November 2019.

The theme for the Conference is “Power Partnerships – Growing a Better City Together”. The BCMDA through this conference seeks to attract investment for BCMM in a bid to revitalize the City by fixing certain infrastructure that is dilapidated. The conference has called upon several speakers from various organisations to strike up connections that might enable BCMM to get back in good stead economically, structurally and socially.

BCMM Executive Mayor, Councillor Xola Pakati kicked off proceedings and spoke about BCMM needing to “diversify its economy and making it multisector” where partnerships are forged with businesses and government to boost investment within the municipality. Pakati revealed that BCMM is currently undergoing a process of building a 5G Network Subsea Fibre Optic Cable which will link East London to the world. The cable is reported to be the first of its kind within South Africa.

BCMM and ELIDZ aim to make East London, “SA’s best Asia-centric communications hub, vaulting it into the perfect position to be SA’s call centre capital, and the gateway to communication with India, China, and the Far East, into Africa.” This initiative is believed to have the potential to boost youth development, tech development, etc.

Pakati mentioned that the municipality would release 20 hectares of land and allocate a sum of R7-Billion for Mixed-Use Development and the revitalization(R5,5-Billion) and upgrading of Waterworld and East London racetrack(R1,5-Billion).

Abey Kgotle, Executive Director of HR and Corporate Affairs from Mercedes Benz South Africa gave an update on what has been happening at MBSA since the last Investment Conference which was last year.
Kgotle started by speaking about MBSA celebrating 25 years of the Mercedes C-Class Plant which is based in East London and how they have been performing on the gender diversity part at their workplace which has seen more women being employed over the years. In addition, the speaker mentioned MBSA plans to build a New Generation C-Class Plant within their East London branch.

Kgotle said the construction of the plant would produce “1800+ jobs and R10-Billion would be used to build this expansion plant”. The inception of the new C-Class Model and plant will take effect in 2021. This is reported to be part of the Automotive Production & Development Programme (APDP).
Bulumko Nelana, CEO of BCMDA recapped on the outcomes made at last year’s Conference. The outcomes were “cleaning the city, release of land for development and promulgate bylaws allowing property development, and addressing the deterioration of EL CBD and surrounding areas over the last 10 years.”

Nelana mentioned that BCMDA will spend R3, 3-Million to fix and upgrade areas such as Quigney, Southernwood, and parts of Oxford Street.
The BCMDA CEO spoke about projects that are on the pipeline currently and the amount of money allocated for these projects which seek to revitalise certain parts of East London. BCMDA secured an investment for Sleeper Site Precinct, property value worth R3,5-Billion whilst Waterworld has property valuation worth R1,5-Billion. The projects are expected to be concluded in 2023.

During the post-lunch session, Portia Tau Sekati, CEO of Property Sector Charter Council gave insights on the Charter Council and the issue of transformation within the Property Sector in South Africa. Sekati explained the purpose of Property Sector Research and the findings that were made regarding the SA Property Sector.

“The objective of the research, is to create the knowledge and size about the SA Property Sector”, said Tau-Sekati. It is reported SA Property Sector is worth R5,8-Trillion, which is 76% of South Africa’s Net Worth (R7,6-Trillion). Furthermore, Commercial Property according to Property Sector Charter Council is worth R1,3-Trillion.

Tau-Sekati gave out statistics about the number of informal houses within various provinces around the country. The Eastern Cape has over 26 300 Informal Houses, which is almost 5% for the whole country. During the discussion, there was a plea from one of the delegates that PSCC (Property Sector Charter Council) must start researching about calculating Tribal Lands and how much they contribute to the Property Sector.

Tau-Sekati went into detail as to why the matter of transformation is one of the cornerstones within the Council and how their members abide by this rule.

“All council members of the Property Sector Charter Council (PSCC) recognise that it is only by transforming the sector, promoting equal opportunity and creating access for previously disadvantaged individuals and companies, that South Africa will be able to create a world-class, competitive property industry.”

Tau-Sekati spoke about the 2019 State of Transformation of the Property Sector report, which indicates a varied picture of the sector’s B-BBEE performance over the past year. Transformation remains a key component of economic transformation in the country, especially given the input that the sector makes to the overall GDP.

Sekati lamented previously and even now that despite the significant strides made within the Property Sector since the arrival of the new Democratic Dispensation, problems are still evident.

“Progress towards certain transformation milestones is still limited and slow. There are skewed patterns of ownership, control, and management. This is specifically limited in terms of black and black women participation”, said Tau-Sekati.

As the first day of the Conference was about to end, there were presentations made about sites that will turn into urban regeneration areas within BCMM. Kreason Naidoo from Tshani Consulting made a presentation about the Sleeper Site Precinct.

Naidoo expressed his desire that the Sleeper Site Precinct Proposal would be the glue that links the CBD and Quigney Area. Naidoo stated that the project would begin on 1 December 2019 and that they would look to complete it in mid-2021.

The Investment Conference will conclude on Saturday with a Morning Park Run in Nahoon and later on with the Berlin November event.

BCMDA Conference: Property Development, Revitalization and Attracting Investment

Court Gives EMLM Reprieve from Planned Electricity Outages

Whilst the business sector and residents in Komani struggle under challenging circumstances, with regular electricity and water outages sometimes for as long as three days at a time, it is comforting to learn that the Border-Kei Chamber of Business in the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) has been awarded a reprieve by the Grahamstown High Court, from planned electricity outages, to the Region.

The urgent interdict lodged by the Border-Kei Chamber of Business, was upheld and so giving much needed time to stakeholders who desperately work on finding solutions that include payment of the massive outstanding arrear between Eskom and EMLM.

The BKCOB, Let’s Talk Komani, as well as all other structures urge residents, business and the public sector to pay their outstanding accounts, a step necessary to finance the massive backlogs in broken and dilapidated infrastructure.

BCMDA Conference: Property Development, Revitalization and Attracting Investment

Africa’s first female-focused cannabis business poised to capture market share

Although it’s currently legal to possess and cultivate cannabis for personal use, the cannabis industry is still wrestling with something of an image problem. People are often unsure which businesses are legally compliant, and also afraid of what they don’t know, so it’s proving difficult to assess the size of the market in South Africa. It’s also difficult to know what women’s needs are in this space – but this challenge is currently being addressed by Joanne Hope, founder of KushKush, a lifestyle cannabis store for women that showcases premium cannabis-related products alongside women’s interest articles. It is the first of its kind in Africa and was conceptualised when Hope realised that there was a gaping hole in the market.

“My first experience purchasing cannabis-related products was somewhat alienating: my boyfriend was looking for a particular vaporiser in a local head shop (a shop that sells pothead paraphernalia) and as I stood waiting for him, I felt really uncomfortable. I didn’t see myself reflected in that environment at all.” It was at that moment that Joanne conceived of a platform that would, over time, help normalise this often stigmatised industry, offering a retail experience and judgement-free space for the higher-end female cannabis consumer – whether a regular recreational smoker, medical user or even just canna-curious to learn, enjoy and be part of a like-minded community.

Hope set out to get funding for her business idea and KushKush was launched in September 2019. “One of the first things we did was run a pre-launch marketing survey to guide our content and product-selection strategy,” says Hope. KushKush surveyed 120 respondents from across South Africa, 90% of whom were female.

“Our survey shows that while women still believe that cannabis carries a negative stigma, they consume it anyway. But they want to do this without fear of judgement – and they also want to be inspired and educated on their journey. Although women largely use cannabis for relaxation, stress management and better sleep, they also want to find out more about how the plant can be used for skin care, mental health and wellness, and enhanced creativity. They want a holistic platform that can help them to navigate this eclectic sub-culture.”

In line with the insights gained through this research, KushKush promotes a wide variety of products, from recipe books, artisinal smokeware and odour-proof bags to intimacy oils, CBD skincare and medical patient journals. It also showcases top brands like Laundry Day and KisKanu, which are stocked at upmarket US department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. All purchases are housed in discreet packaging – and Hope says they are committed to finding more sustainable packaging solutions.

A fashion and lifestyle entrepreneur who works in publishing but has also launched and managed high-end retail concept stores, Hope has been absolutely scrupulous about developing a “one hundred percent legal” business based upon ethical and sustainable principles (something so dear to her heart that she acquired a postgraduate diploma in sustainable business through the University of Cambridge). “Cannabis has such a rich history of being a sustainable product,” she says. “However, a lot of people think the legal cannabis industry is just about CBD, which isn’t the case. We want to normalise the use of the entire plant.”

Hope is adamant that it’s legal businesses that will transform perceptions around cannabis use. “We sell only legal accessories and hemp-based products on our website; I don’t believe in exploiting grey areas of the law,” she asserts. “As a mom, I don’t want my children to be ashamed of what I do. The legalisation of cannabis was the first (very important) step but now we’re working towards normalisation so that people can access information, join the community and have a premium-retail experience, without the fear of being stigmatised for it.”

The economic benefits of the industry have been widely touted, with the African Cannabis Report speculating that the market for cannabis and related products will be worth around R27bn by 2023 – but whether government will legalise widespread growing (beyond the limited licences currently granted) is anyone’s guess. “Given the high unemployment rate in this country, and demand for quality cannabis, we can’t really afford to let this opportunity pass us by,” says Hope, “particularly for women growers from disadvantaged communities. As someone passionate about social justice, I’m learning more about how this translates in the cannabis industry and I’d like to incorporate this into our business plan going forward. It’s my dream to set up a foundation to empower these women.”

For now, Hope is happy to get people talking about cannabis. “I don’t mind whether they have a positive or negative perception at this point – as long as they have an opinion and are prepared to debate constructively,” she says. “It’s a rich, deep topic and we need to have conversations about it.”

She says that we should have a clearer idea of the legal position vis-à-vis commercialisation by September 2020. “As government builds the framework to legislate the industry, I hope they do so in a considered fashion,” she says. “There is so much to gain and people have been campaigning for this for years. We have the benefit of observing both the success (and challenges) of countries like Canada and Argentina where governments have built a commercial framework for both medical and recreational use. It’s important to get it right so we can all enjoy the benefits of nature’s most versatile flowering plant.”

Visit KushKush at www.kushkushonline.com. Follow @kushkushonline on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Contact KushKush via hello@kushkushonline.com.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY |Roadworks on the R75 between Port Elizabeth and Despatch

TRAFFIC ADVISORY |Roadworks on the R75 between Port Elizabeth and Despatch

Eastern Cape, 25 November 2019: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify travellers that roadworks is scheduled to take place on the R75 between Port Elizabeth and Despatch from Monday, 25 November 2019 to Friday, 29 November 2019.

The planned traffic accommodation is as follows:

  • The right lane between Spondo Road and Johnson Road will be closed for 100m during the day and reopened during peak hours when travelling from Port Elizabeth towards Despatch.
  • The left lane between Johnson Road and Chelsea Road will be closed for 100m during the day and reopened during peak hours when travelling from Port Elizabeth towards Despatch.
  • The left lane after Mission Road Arterial will be closed for 100m during the day and reopened during peak hours when travelling from Port Elizabeth towards Despatch.
  • The left lane between Chelsea Road and Johnson Road will be closed for 200m during the day and reopened during peak hours when travelling from Despatch towards Port Elizabeth.
  • The left lane between Johnson Road and Spondo Road will be closed for 100m during the day and reopened during peak hours when travelling from Port Elizabeth towards Despatch.
  • Roadworks are expected to take place at the following intersections: The R75 and  Dyke Road, the R75 and St. Leonards Road, the R75 and Spondo Road, the R75 and Johnson Road, the R75 and Chelsea Road and the R75 and Ralo Road.

 “Motorists are asked to plan their trips accordingly, consider alternative routes and to use caution when making use of the road,” said Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region’s Manager.

SANRAL apologizes for any inconvenience caused.    

– Ends –

Issued by SANRAL.  For editorial content or additional information contact:  pressoffice@nra.co.za

IRONMAN Coming to EL for 13th Year!

IRONMAN Coming to EL for 13th Year!

IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa is the oldest 70.3 event in South Africa and will be taking place for the 13th consecutive year on Sunday 26th January 2020.  

The beautiful city of East London offers miles of beachfront and rich cultural history for athletes and spectators to enjoy. The IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa started in 2007 and quickly caught the eye of many triathletes. It now boasts over 2000 athletes who register for the event year on year.

This race offers individual and team entries. We encourage local companies to be part of the action and enter their team. This is a great way to start the year and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Teams of 2 or 3 members can take on each discipline of the Swim, Bike, Run. 

The morning begins with a 1.9km swim from Orient Beach. The Bike course consists of 1 loop of 90.1km which takes athletes on the rolling hills of Buffalo City. The run course consists of 2 loops to make up the half marathon distance of 21.1km. The amazing crowd will welcome all athletes home as hero’s!  Register now on www.ironman.com/im703-south-africa