Central SRA almost a reality - residents and business owners urged to attend meetings

NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Desirous of forming a Special Rates Area for Central, at a meeting held at the Mandela Bay Development Agency on 11 November 2015, Central residents, property and business owners appointed an interim committee to take the necessary steps towards the establishment of the Central SRA.

Based on a fundamental need to improve the area that the residents of Central reside in, the property owners within the Central area will now formally apply for the registration of the Central SRA.

A Special Rating Area is a geographic area within the jurisdiction of a Municipality, determined or to be determined by the Municipality Council in terms of Section 22 of the Municipal Rates Act 6 of 2004 as an area within which an additional rates amount shall be levied by the Municipality and paid over to a community owned Company for its sole use in improving aspects of service delivery within that geographic area.

A number of Public Participation meetings are planned for residents on 29 November at the Union Cricket Club and 1 December at the MBDA, Tramways Building. Both meetings will be from 17h30 to 19h00.

The Central SRA website (www.centralsra.co.za) is active and allows residents to quickly determine the exact amount that each will contribute towards the Special Rated Area as well as allowing each owner to complete and sign an online consent form.

Feedback from the Public Participation meetings and via the web site will allow residents and owners to gain clarity on the formation of the Central SRA.

Speaking from personal experience the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay gave the Central SRA the thumbs up saying; "The Richmond Hill SRA has been a huge success, mostly ridding the area of serious crime & grime. The rejuvenation of this suburb has resulted in improved cleanliness, massive property value appreciation and the establishment of a popular restaurant hub. For just a small rates increase, the residents of Richmond Hill have benefited immensely."

Interim Central SRA committee member Kenrick Brown says; "Applying best practice from lessons learned in the formation of the Richmond Hill SRA the creation of the Central SRA will ensure that the residents of Central achieve a unified and cohesive voice. This coupled with an independent budget will allow for a pro-active and aggressive approach to improving security, cleanliness, and maintenance within the central area. Furthermore it will allow for better cohesion in working towards complementing the various urban renewal services and infrastructure projects being implemented by government and their various agencies."

Central SRA Demarcated Area
The demarcated area for the Central SRA comprises a total of 4 131 properties all falling under Ward 5 on the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.

Ward 5 Councillor Sandile Rwexwana welcomed the proposed establishment of a Special Rated Area in Central saying, "As a resident in Richmond Hill I have seen the benefits that an SRA brings to an area. For example, during the recent Municipal Workers strike the SRA mobilised to clear the streets of rubbish - a direct benefit to residents and business in the area. As the DA Ward 5 Councillor for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality I support the establishment of the Central SRA and welcome the benefits that it will bring to property owners and tenants in this vibrant and historical area of Port Elizabeth."

"SRA's are not politically driven and empower neighbours to decide for themselves what improvements or additional services they would like to see implemented in their suburbs - as a consequence SRA's could also be seen as an importance agent for dialogue and understanding within the broader context of Nation Building," concluded Sandile Rwexwana.

Welcoming the formation of the Central SRA Mandela Bay Development Agency CEO Pierre Voges said; "As the driving force behind Urban Regeneration within Nelson Mandela Bay tasked with providing support in promoting economic and tourism development the MBDA welcomes the formation of the Central SRA and looks forward to the accelerated service delivery that this will bring to the historic inner city of Port Elizabeth."

"During the World Bank/Urban Land Institute (ULI) weeklong visit to the City in November 2015 the visitors indicated that SRA's, City Improvements Districts (CID's)/Business Improvement Districts (BID's) are the most powerful tools to eradicate urban decay," concluded Voges.

All municipal buildings, schools, and places of worship in the Central SRA demarcated area will be exempt from the special SRA levy. This effectively exempts approximately 350 properties from this special levy, as per the NMBM Budget and Treasury system.

Fresh from launching the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism App on the cities iconic Donkin Reserve, NMT CEO, Mandlakazi Skefile expressed her support for the formation of the Central SRA saying; "The NMBT Tourism offices are are in the heart of the Central area across the road from one of our cities main international tourist destinations - the Donkin Reserve. The formation of the Central SRA will contribute to the preservation of our historical buildings in the inner city as well as improved safety for the many tourists who will be exploring the area with the NMBT App."