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2019 State of Cape Town Central City Report Launched

Published recently, by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), the report noted that the Central City “held its own quite remarkably” in the year under review, despite 2019 being “incredibly difficult”, according to CCID board chairperson Rob Kane.

Says Kane: “Stakeholders and investors in the CBD have had to cope with the aftermath of the 2018 drought and subsequent water crisis, ongoing load shedding and a tough economic climate.”

Five-part section on on ‘Surviving Covid-19’

Though the coronavirus pandemic falls beyond the ambit of the SCCR report, a five-part section of the report is devoted to reflections on “Surviving Covid-19” by Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, Economic Development Partnership CEO Andrew Boraine, HTI Consulting CEO Wayne Troughton and economist Brian Kantor of Investec Wealth and Investment and Arthur Kamp, chief economist, Sanlam Investments.

Kane acknowledges the “global devastation” Covid-19 has caused, noting that it “has damaged the Central City’s economy”, but its economic performance means the Central City is well-placed to navigate a path to recovery.

Property evaluation

The SCCR report shows that, according to the City of Cape Town’s 2018/2019 property evaluation, the value of Central City property stands at R44.124bn, and that the total value of property investments in the Central City – recently completed, under construction, proposed or planned – is R13.83bn.

This is broken down into:

  • R1,045,000,000 – A conservative estimate of the value of property completed in the Central City during 2019 but which still has to be officially assessed by the City of Cape Town (seven projects);
  • R3,730,000,000 – The value of property, conservatively estimated, that is under construction (14 projects);
  • R5,196,000,000 – The value of property, conservatively estimated, that is currently in the planning phase (11 projects); and
  • R3,860,000,000 – The value of property, conservatively estimated, that is currently proposed and is expected to begin construction within the next two years (six projects).

The Foreshore precinct has emerged as a key property investment node which is due, in part, to the expansion in 2018 of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which achieved a turnover of R277m in 2018/2019. “This world-class venue, which contributed R4.5bn to the Western Cape GGP, was a key driver in 2019 of the Central City’s visitor economy as well as its knowledge and eventing economy, all of which continued to expand in 2019.”

The eighth edition of the SCCR reflects on the bigger picture of the economy of the Central City, looking at property trends, occupancy rates of commercial and residential buildings, retail vacancies, the prominent economies of the Central City and trends in commercial and residential markets.

Among other key findings in the report are that:

For the third consecutive year, Cape Town had the lowest overall vacancy rate of 7. % of the country’s five largest metros. According to the SAPOA Office Vacancy Report (Q4 2019), the city’s vacancy rate compares very favourably to that of Johannesburg (12.5%) and is well below the national office vacancy rate of 11%.

The Central City vacancy rate has continued its gradual decline from a peak of 11.8% at the end of 2018 to 10.8% at the end of 2019 – a decline of 15,127m2 of space available for rent. This is at least partially attributable to the reduction in office space due to redevelopment during 2019.

A new urbanism trend gained traction in South Africa in 2019 in spite of a sluggish housing market, increasing demand for downtown living in the Central City. This has prompted the re-imagining of precincts in the Central City by developers into spaces where homeowners can live, work and play in areas that provide a safe and secure environment with easy access to work. With affordability a major issue for many young professionals, developers are responding with a growing number of studio apartments and co-living units within mixed-use developments. In 2019, small apartments with shared amenities officially became hot property, giving first-time buyers the opportunity to enter the housing market in a desirable city centre.

In 2019, the Central City residential market finally felt the effects of the economic and political headwinds which have dampened activity in the national and regional housing markets in recent years. The distribution of sales across the various price bands was similar to that seen in 2018, with the largest number of sales recorded in the R30,000 – R39,000/m2 category. No sales were recorded in the top price bracket (more than R60,000/m2) last year, while two sales were recorded in 2018.

The report includes separate sections providing a detailed look at key elements of the Central City economy, including:

  • The Art Economy: With Cape Town firmly established as the art capital of Africa, the financial contribution of the creative sector to the Central City economy is undeniable;
  • The Visitor Economy: With three new hotels opening in the Central City in 2019, several mixed-use developments and aparthotels either being constructed or in the pipeline, the CBD’s multi-layered visitor economy continued to expand in spite of a tight economy;
  • The Night-time Economy: There is growing awareness of the potential of the Central City’s night-time economy, but it remains an unexplored resource. A recent research partnership between the City of Cape Town, the CCID and the University of Cape Town will provide a better understanding of the night-time economy of the Central City and how to better use the night as a resource for social and economic development; and
  • The Knowledge and Eventing Economy: The Central City’s knowledge and eventing economy continues to expand every year, driving business into the region as local and international visitors and business tourists stream into the CBD to attend official events and conventions in and around the public spaces in downtown Cape Town.

The report also features a detailed analysis of residential and commercial rentals, and highlights from the CCID’s residential and retail surveys.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

President Ramaphosa Urges South Africans to Use the COVID-19 Contact Tracing App. Here’s How it Works

On Wednesday, president Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to use government’s new coronavirus contact-tracing app, which was launched earlier this month.

“I want to make a call this evening to everyone who has a smartphone in South Africa to download the COVID Alert mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store,” Ramaphosa said during his address to the nation. The app has been zero-rated by mobile networks, so you can download it without any data costs.”

Using Bluetooth technology, the app will alert any user if they have been in close contact with any other user who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.
“Contact tracing  is an important preventative measure to protect yourself and your close family and friends,” Ramaphosa said, as he announced details about South Africa’s progress to Level 1 on midnight, Sunday.

This will include the opening up of borders to foreign tourists from countries that don’t have high infection rates. These travellers will be asked to install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app on arrival, Ramaphosa said.

The COVID Alert SA app is available for Android devices on the Google Play store and on the Apple App Store for iPhones, with the South African National Department of Health as publisher.

The small app, 2.1MB on Android phones and 5MB on iOS, promises to anonymously keep track of your contact with everyone else using it over a two-week period, the upper end of the incubation period for Sars-CoV-2. If a user discloses they have tested positive for the coronavirus, everyone in that contact list is notified.

The app uses the exposure notification framework created by Google and Apple for use during the pandemic. “By downloading and using the COVID Alert SA app, you become a part of a powerful digital network of app users who choose to work together for the benefit of everyone in the app community while all enjoying complete privacy and anonymity,” the department of health promises.

“App users understand their exposure to Covid-19 and help others to do the same. We can all work together to curb the spread of Covid-19 and, ultimately, to save lives.” The app is free, and uses only a small amount of data every day to check in with a central server. But it requires the power-hungry Bluetooth radio to be turned on, which makes for some battery drain.

COVID Alert SA does not record your name or location. Instead, every device is assigned a unique code. Using Bluetooth, it shares that code with other phones running the app when the come into range, and records the signal strength (a rough proxy for how close another person is) and date for any such contact.

The range of Bluetooth transmission can vary wildly depending on a range of factors, but is around 10 metres as a rule of thumb. Anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus must type in a PIN number the department of health sends by SMS as part of the notification system for Covid-19 tests.

That triggers alerts other people who were in close proximity, without disclosing the identity of the infected person or any other details. In such a case “[a]pp users are guided as to what to do next to optimise their wellbeing and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus to others,” says the department of health.

The usefulness of the app will depend on how many people install it, whether they keep their Bluetooth radios turned on, and how quickly they report positive test results.

To track the virus’ stats, visit the Bing live COVID map here.

Let’s all work together to flatten the curve of COVID in South Africa.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Cape Town Concerned Over Non-adherence to COVID Safety Protocols Like Mask Wearing and Sanitizing. City Warns of Second Wave of Virus

Cape Town’s health department has expressed concerns over the increase in non-adherence to safety protocols, saying this could lead to a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said some residents were no longer wearing face masks in public and social distancing protocols were being ignored by many businesses.

Badroodien feared the work that went into halting the spread of the coronavirus could soon be undone if citizens dropped their collective guard.

“Our environmental health practitioners are particularly concerned about the number of people who are going about their business in public without masks, as well as crowd management in shops, malls and other public amenities,” said Badroodien.

“Cape Town worked very hard to overcome the peak of the pandemic so we could start focusing on rebuilding lives, communities and the economy. All of this hard work will be undermined if we drop our collective guard.”

Over the past few months, the Covid-19 caseload and related fatalities have decreased significantly, with fewer cases registered every day.

On Tuesday, SA recorded 1,027 Covid-19 cases, pushing the number to 683,242. There were 87 deaths reported compared to 40 on Monday, and 15 were from the Western Cape. This brings the total number of deaths to 17,103.

Badroodien said a second wave could set Cape Town back from making progress in decreasing the number of deaths.

“I hear far too many anecdotes about the pandemic being a thing of the past. This is not true, particularly if one looks at the many countries where lockdowns have had to be reintroduced as a result of a second wave of infections,” he said.

“Cape Town and SA must take heed from these cautionary tales and do everything possible to mitigate the risk of a second wave here.

“We therefore urge the public to continue abiding by the health and hygiene protocols and to wear a mask at all times in public to help avoid a second wave of infections locally, or at the very least mitigate the impact thereof.”

Second wave plan

According to health minister Zweli Mkhize, a plan has been tabled should the country be hit with a second wave.

TimesLIVE reported that Mkhize told a webinar hosted by the SA Medical Association that while the worst was over, SA may still be facing a second surge.

He said the plan would follow the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines on how to deal with the second wave.

“Of course, we may still be facing a second surge. I think we all speculate about how likely that is because many of the countries that are overtaking SA are in a second surge. Whether it’s going to be like that in SA depends, of course, on how we deal with our containment measures,” said Mkhize.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Relocation Africa’s Algerian Immigration Interview

Our Immigration Lead, Lynn Mackenzie, recently had the pleasure of speaking to François, our Algerian immigration partner, about Algeria’s current immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and François’ conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.

We would like to say a huge thank you to François for his insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

South Africa Has Opened Up Visa-free Travel to These 11 Countries

Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced visa-free travel for 11 countries in an effort to boost tourism to the country.

In a media briefing on Sunday (4 October), Motsoaledi said that the visa-free status of citizens of some countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown period.

“In line with the commitment of Government to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19, visa-free status of citizens from a number of countries and territories has been reinstated.”

However, the minister said that visa-free status does not alter the current Covid-19 regulations, including with regards to the bans in place for leisure travelers from high-risk countries, as determined by the South African Government.

The countries include (bolded are high risk):

  • South Korea;
  • Spain;
  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Singapore;
  • USA;
  • UK;
  • France;
  • Portugal;
  • Iran.

Motsoaledi said he has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency.

“The port managers have been instructed to adhere to the SADC protocol and guidelines regulating the movement of essential goods under Covid-19 regulations.

“The guidelines regulating truck drivers travelling across the border will continue to apply as has been the case for the past seven months,” he said.

The minister said that immigration officers will be required to assess the movement and place of origin of the traveller and not the country of origin of the airline concerned.

“Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols but need not produce the 72 hours negative certificate.”

High-risk countries 

Motsoaledi said that any person from a country listed as having a high Covid-19 infection and transmission rate, who wish to undertake business travel into South Africa, may, in writing, apply to the Department of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter the Republic for business purposes during the period of the national state of disaster.

Such applications must be directed to email Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za and supported by:

  • A copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa;
  • Proof of business activities to be undertaken in the republic;
  • Proof of travel itinerary; and
  • proof of address or accommodation in the republic.

The list of these high-risk countries will be updated fortnightly, said Motsoaledi.

“Immigration officers have been instructed to apply the requirements with a measure of flexibility in order to allow applications for business travel to be lodged at the ports of entry if and when necessary and await the outcome before entry into the republic is allowed,” he said,

All other categories of travellers from medium and low-risk countries are required to produce a certificate of negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure, Motsoaledi said.

“Any person who fails to submit the certificate will be required to quarantine at his or her own cost.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].