Faizel Patel – 13/01/2021
After years of being largely ignored as an area for development, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) now says the Lenasia CBD is in decline and needs to be upgraded.
Lenasia has been earmarked for an environmental upgrade project which the JDA says is not limited to just a revamp of a R 75 million taxi rank, but other facilities as well.
The JDA says the Lenasia CBD is going to be a prototype mechanism for Region G.
The JDA’s Sherylee Moonsamy says the Lenasia CBD should be a strategic economic node within the city of Joburg.
“There are a lot of families that cannot make it to Joburg CBD or cannot make it all the way to Sandton which means that the Lenasia CBD should be a key catalytic point for the communities as a whole.”
The city of Johannesburg’s Development and Planning MMC Abu Bakr Thapelo says the city wants to engage with the Lenasia community to redirect misconceptions about the project.
“Let us allow space to upgrade Lenasia as a community on the basis that when we allow this environmental upgrade, it will be a catalyst for other programmes because we and myself acknowledges that Lenasia is one of the communities that was built by the community itself and the government’s intervention was at a minimal. But this is where we want to start as government.”
However, stakeholders who had gathered for the meeting on Tuesday say there hasn’t been enough consultation with the Lenasia community about the project.
The Lenasia Business Forum’s Yusuf Bhamjee says there are number of contentions to the regeneration project.
“The main points I want to make in this project and what is being said of this area, we got a regeneration of the CBD with a precinct plan. We are not going to have a regeneration of the CBD without a precinct plan. We are not going to allow Lenasia Public Transport facility to be given preferance before the first one has taken place. Taxis (relocation) programme must take place, hawkers, informal relocations, Lenz stations and commuters. No development can take place without a future plan so all the smaller projects are currently being hung in the air.”
It’s believed the Lenasia environmental upgrade project was in the pipeline since 2019, but has remained stagnant until recently when National Treasury approved the budget for the regeneration initiative.
Listen to the remarks by Sherylee MoonsamY.
Listen to the remarks by Abu Bakr Thapelo
Listen to the remarks by Yusuf Bhamjee