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Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Tshwane in bold bid to boost economy

In a bid to stimulate economic growth and ensure multimillion-rand projects take off, the Tshwane Metro Council has undertaken to provide bulk infrastructure for such projects.

These include the Rainbow Junction near Wonderboom, and the Tshwane International Convention Centre and Symbio City, planned for Centurion.

An artist's impression of the proposed new Tshwane International Conference Centre in Centurion.

"Lack of bulk infrastructure is one of the reasons some of these projects failed to take off," city manager Jason Ngobeni told a business breakfast in Pretoria yesterday.

"The council did an analysis of what the problem could be. It was found that some developers were struggling to provide their own infrastructure."

The council resolved last year to take responsibility for the provision of infrastructure instead of letting developers do so, Ngobeni said.

Since the municipality would provide the infrastructure, "all that Rainbow Junction and the international convention centre have to do is to bring in investors".

Plans for the construction of an international convention centre in Centurion were outlined by thenexecutive mayor Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa in 2006.

Original plans for the development included a multipurpose convention centre, two hotels with a total of 500 rooms, a separate fivestar hotel, shops and a theatre.

The original plan was to build the centre in the shape of Africa. It was to have been completed about two years ago.

The municipality entered into a partnership with a broad-based black economic empowerment consortium - the Pretoria International Convention and Entertainment Centre.

Its shareholders included Community Investment Holdings, Bantsho Investment Holdings and the Chieftain Group, with branches in Ireland, South Africa and the US.

Development of Rainbow Junction was mooted more than five years ago.

The initial plan was to have a soccer/rugby stadium, an indoor sports arena and a sports retail section.

Provision was also to be made for light industries and residential and office development along the Apies River and a public transport facility linked to the upgrading of the Pretoria North train station.

Symbio City is to feature the tallest building in Africa and will have one residential and two commercial towers. The tallest tower in the mini city is to be 110 storeys. It is to be flanked by a tower of 80 floors and another of 60.

The project is expected to take up to eight years to complete.

Ngobeni said executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa was keeping tabs on all the proposed developments and was in regular contact with the developers.

Most of these developments could start before year-end.

Ngobeni also touched on a number of proposed developments in the Tshwane metro area.

These include the refurbishment of the Rooiwal power station, the proposed West Capital; the Rooiwal Solar Farm and the installation of pre-paid electricity meters for all households and businesses.

Ngobeni said the idea with West Capital was to bring people closer to their place of work.

"We are looking at attracting new property developers and bringing everyone closer to the inner city," he said.

Ngobeni said the council had secured "a funding vehicle" for the installation of the pre-paid meters.

The contract is estimated at R5 billion. Ngobeni said 800 000 households would benefit from the roll-out of the meters.

The maintenance and servicing of pre-paid meters will be carried out by the companies contracted by the municipality to install them.

"We hope to enter into a service level agreement with the companies for the installation and maintenance of the meters," said Ngobeni.

The municipality hopes to complete the roll-out of the pre-paid meters next year.

Pretoria News

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