City of Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse visits Rosebank
On Monday August 22 the Rosebank Management District welcomed City of Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse for a walkabout of the neighbourhood and an opportunity to put forward ways in which the district would like to partner with the City of Joburg to tackle key neighbourhood issues.
The walk started from Southern Sun Rosebank, and was led by Excellerate Rosebank Precinct Manager Rorisang Sojane and Intaprop Director (Oxford Parks) Carollyn Mitchell. Also in attendance were residents association representative Marion Stewart, board member Justin Blend from Africrest, Intaprop’s Andre Gouws and Basil Ngakane and Stephen du Preez of Local Abode.
The Rosebank Management District (RMD) represents 73 property owners in a total area of 550,000+ m2. Since its formation the RMD has successfully initiated a range of interventions to improve Rosebank, funded through the contributions made by property owners. These interventions range from our full-time dedicated cleaning and security teams to active stakeholder engagement and communication with relevant City departments regarding infrastructure issues and service delivery.
The visit of the mayor to our neighbourhood presented the RMD board with an opportunity to highlight the resources the district already has at its disposal and how – with sustained snd focused support from the City – these resources could be deployed with success.
As Rosebank Precinct Manager Rorisang Sojane explained; ” We believe we are uniquely placed to partner with the city far more than we currently do. We stand willing and able to assist in the development of a plan to improve service delivery and the condition of ageing infrastructure in Rosebank before it’s too late”.
Rosebank Taxi Rank upgrade
First item on the agenda was a visit to the Rosebank Taxi Rank, a key focus of the first Rosebank Transport Indaba in 2021.
Intaprop Director and RMD board member Carollyn Mitchell outlined the ongoing discussions regarding the need to drastically improve the rank to accommodate Rosebank’s rapidly growing commuter base. The capacity of the current rank was outstripped years ago by growing developments in the Rosebank node which has resulted in minibus taxis spilling into the surrounding streets, and into surrounding neighbourhoods where there is no corresponding infrastructure for a taxi rank. The current rank is vastly undersized for the hundreds of taxis and thousands of commuters who use it daily and it offers no ablution facilities, limited water and no vehicle holding bays. There is also a lack of adequate street lights and the current situation has also affected traffic patterns, parking and safety in the area, making for a poor experience for commuters, pedestrians and taxi drivers in Rosebank.
The district has been in close talks with both the Faraday and Alexandra Taxi Associations and all parties are keen to find a way forward to provide a sustainable solution. A planned upgrade by the City of Joburg is scheduled to be implemented by the Joburg Development Agency but there is concern from stakeholders that the proposed upgrades will prove to be just a “patch” for the problem rather than a sustainable long-term solution.
Mitchell pointed out that the district has now been trying to engage with the City for 15 years regarding the need to upgrade this taxi rank. “We would like to work with the City – Rosebank needs a facility that supports the node” she emphasised.
Challenges and opportunities
Over the years, through close collaboration between members, RMD has successfully worked to improve Rosebank’s built environment and facilitated partnerships between stakeholders within the neighbourhood. During the Rosebank walk the Mayor had the opportunity to see various areas that have been improved through private initiatives, with just one example being the recent pavement upgrades carried out on Cradock Avenue.
The Mayor said that she was encouraged to see what’s happening on the ground in Rosebank in terms of successful capital investment. Adding that now it is up to the City to take “an enabling attitude” and tackle the gaps caused by inadequate support from City departments.
Substandard service delivery and poor infrastructural upgrades made by the City were cited by stakeholders during the walk as major challenges. In particular, the number of open manholes and trenches, inadequate or broken streetlights, potholes and broken pavements, combined with poor by-law enforcement. All of these impact on the walkability and experience of what is envisaged as a pedestrian-friendly node. Compounding these issues is a lack of access to proper service delivery escalation channels and poor by-law and traffic enforcement.
Board members pointed out that there is private capital and resources for carrying out works, such as upgrading lighting and street crossings, but these initiatives can only be facilitated with the support of the City. For example, a long-awaited Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) still needs to be concluded between the district and City Parks to allow RMD to become the custodians of the district’s parks and take over management to ensure they become safe and useable spaces that belong to the community.
Precinct Manager Rorisang Sojane explained that completing more MOUs and service agreements between RMD and City departments, would present a great opportunity for Rosebank to be more empowered to resolve issues.
The Mayor agreed that more could be done in order for the city to “help you to help us” and agreed to link up the Rosebank board with the relevant authorities. A quarterly meeting between the district and City departments was also proposed by the Mayor to ensure that the City has a better understanding of how and where they can facilitate and support RMD in carrying out its proposed work.
“Let’s grow Rosebank”
With the pandemic behind us and a number of new property developments and more major corporates moving into Rosebank, the district is most certainly on the up. As our community grows and densifies we are ready to roll up sleeves and work as a united group of stakeholders to tackle the challenges ahead.
We welcome the mayor’s visit to our neighbourhood for a meaningful engagement and look forward to finding solutions to the many gaps highlighted during the visit.
Following her visit the Mayor also reiterated her support for further engagement. “The Rosebank Management District is a welcome partner that has aligned with the City vision of building a City of Golden Opportunities. Let’s grow Rosebank!”.