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Buying into the bigger picture

This month I feel more buoyed than I have for a long time, largely as a result of visiting KwaZulu-Natal to focus our roundup on the province’s largest city, Durban.

KwaZulu-Natal is the seventh largest province in South Africa, but second in terms of density: at 94 361km², its population is estimated to be 11 384 700 2018. While its administrative capital is Pietermaritzburg, you could be forgiven for thinking Durban is taking the lead. I’ve titled this note “Buying into the bigger picture” because having visited the land of a thousand hills to compile the KZN roundup, I’ve come back buoyed by a positive feeling.

Clearly there is a vision for Durban, and there is public and private sector buy in to get things done. My thanks go to everyone who assisted me in gathering this information there was plenty to write about, and I hope that you will enjoy reading about Durban’s positive growth trajectory.

From the Mayor, through to eThekwini Municipality‘s investment unit heads, Dube TradePort and private sector CEOs, everyone I spoke to understands the “bigger picture”.

Sure, there are grumblings from some, but if those business leaders did not strive to better the development and infrastructure projects, question and raise concerns over legislative proceedings or express their passion about the projects they are driving, Durban’s visibly changing landscape would not be as obvious or, indeed, possible.

For me, having had the privilege to visit Durban every year for the past six, the first noticeable difference is the completion of the Umhlanga interchange. Thanks, guys I took the wrong turn on my way to meeting Philip Sithole! Getting into Durban itself and heading to the Point, you can see the beginnings of a clean up, and the Promenade is getting more than just a “lick of paint”.

And it might be just my imagination, but the area around the International Convention Centre seemed remarkably clean as well.

What is really impressive is that, when you head out to Cornubia and Sibaya, you are enveloped in green but you are also aware of swaths of land being transformed and made ready for mixed use and residential nodes.

Last year, when I attended SAPOA’s Annual Convention & Property Exhibition in the city, one of the highlights for me was the city tour. It took in the almost completed Bridge Town and Sibaya’s first phase of development, as well as Nedbank Square.

Having time on my hands between interviews, I retraced the route, and I was amazed at the difference 11 months can make to projects. The vision for Durban is to put the city well and truly on the map as a destination to visit so much so that British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air Namibia all now have direct flights to King Shaka International Airport. With a capacity of 7 500 000, the airport handles more than 5 200 000 passengers per year.

It’s Africa’s “Riviera” or it soon will be, given the path Durban is taking.

Apart from the KZN Durban roundup, we’ve taken the opportunity to speak to a couple of SAPOA’s new members, including Reinier van den Bergh, CEO of the Essential Group, which is in the process of developing a 360 degree, cross industry partnership initiative.

Even though we’ve had some rain recently and a good proportion of the country’s dams are in better shape than they have been, another one of our new members Utility Systems has a tech answer to water metering, monitoring and delivery.

On the subject of technology, there are many systems and technical and data gathering advancements coming to our industry. In this issue we have focused on one that could aid property brokers and marketers. Our focus requires you, the reader, to participate in order to get the full benefit of the article: download the Dreemar app to experience augmented reality first hand.

Entrepreneurship is part of our industry’s lifeblood. Over the next few editions we will bring you interviews with some of Property Point’s upcoming professional talent. We kick off with a conversation with Shawn Theunissen, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Growthpoint Properties and the founder of Property Point; this is followed by an interview with Eddy and Emily Mokobodi about their entrepreneurial journey.

This month we continue with extracts from the South African City Network’s “State of City Finances” report. Retail reports get a look in as well. Our legal update looks at the Property Practitioners Bill, and our Off the Wall feature focuses on an eco friendly bamboo bike. Enjoy the read.

Original Source: South African Property Review – 1 May 2019

Buying into the bigger picture