After much strides and unwavering commitment, the Central Special Rating Area (SRA) committee with the support of the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), have made a breakthrough by surpassing the number of SRA consents needed to get a mandate from the property owners of Central.
A Special Rating Area (SRA) is a specific geographic area within which property owners agree to pay for additional services. The Municipal Property Rates Act 2004 allowed for the formation of SRAs which empower property owners to implement additional services in their designated area. Municipalities are obligated to maintain existing service levels for the sole use of improving aspects of service delivery after an SRA is established.
There are various SRA benefits that are valuable to Central property owners. As a collective voice, an SRA will always allow for the municipality to be held accountable to ensure the delivery of basic services.
An active SRA is an attractive attribute to an area as it shows residents are keen and active in making their suburb safe. With the increasing number of reported crime incidents within the Central area, the SRA will provide a safety and security benefit, which will include 24-hour security patrols with armed security personnel, as well a camera monitoring system and a dedicated crime hotline.
The other sustainable SRA benefit includes a waste management system, which will have a dedicated vehicle patrolling the area collecting waste, install bins in strategic locations throughout the Central area, as well as Ad hoc employment of street sweepers.
Central SRA interim chair, Kenrick Brown said, “the Central SRA is about to be the second SRA constituted in the Eastern Cape, this was achieved by not only getting the 50% + 1 consents in favour, but achieving more than 52%, with still more consents coming in”.
Such civil society led initiatives are critical creating improved property values and improved services. “There is a host of people who have given freely of their time for no reward but have done so safe in the knowledge that the long-term benefits will speak for themselves. We would not have achieved our 50% + 1 if it was not for them”, said Brown.
Mandela Bay Development Agency’s Operations Executive, Debbie Hendricks said, “the MBDA welcomes this step towards the establishment of the SRA in the furthering of overall development and improved services in this historic area which is prone to urban decay”.
“It really was a collective effort, agents who are property managers for the Body Corporates were instrumental in communicating the SRA objectives to property owners,” said Brown.
Hendricks continued, “achieving this enables the MBDA to make progress towards the rejuvenation of the CBD through partnerships with structured entities such as the Central SRA”.
Without the SRA consents, historic CBD would have continued to have an increase in crime vagrants, heightened illegal waste dumping. Over time, investment opportunities such as businesses and student accommodation would have been threatened.
“Going forward, the MBDA will submit an Item to council seeking the approval of Council upon council approval the SRA levy will be implemented with immediate effect”, concluded Hendricks.