Cabinet decided in 1997 that national government departments and agencies would remain in the inner city, hopefully in order to contribute to urban regeneration and attract private-sector investment in the area.
However, today many buildings housing the departments remain rundown and dilapidated, DPW COO and acting director-general Dr Sean Philips said at a media briefing.
The new programme, ‘Re Kgabiso Tshwane’, or ‘We are enhancing Tshwane’, aims therefore to improve the physical working environment for government departments and agencies to an acceptable norm and to ensure a long-term accommodation solution for national government by rejuvenating the inner city.
The programme was approved by Cabinet in May, and is now being implemented through a joint initiative by the DPW, CTMM and the national Department of Public Services and Administration.
Tshwane city municipal manager Blake Mosley-Lefatola said that the initiative forms part of CTMM’s existing 20-year city-development strategy.
The Re Kgabiso Tshwane initiative, or Tshwane Inner-City Project, is based on a spatial development framework of two concentrated development corridors – running along Church and Paul Kruger streets respectively – and linking Freedom Park with the Union Buildings.
Each department or agency will be dealt with individually, in order to determine what the best action would be to improve its accommodation situation.
Where possible, existing buildings and infrastructure will be used, and the availability of buildings and the possibility of creating clusters of departments with similar mandates will also be taken into account, Phillips said.
He said that anticipated benefits from the programme are expected to include greater accessibility to national government, improved urban management in the inner city and potential efficiencies created through interdepartmental sharing of facilities.
The city also hopes that the private sector will respond to the inner-city rejuvenation with increased levels of investment in the area.
DPW will fund the needs analyses for the departments and agencies and, once a programme of action has been drawn up, the departments will apply for the necessary funds as part of their budget from the National Treasury.
The total cost of the programme is expected to be some R11-billion over 25 years, R2-billion of which will be carried by the CTMM, Phillips indicated.
To date, a spatial development framework has been drawn up, an inventory of available properties in the inner city compiled, and norms have been put in place for office space.
The DPW is currently in consultation with the national departments and is working on more-detailed cost estimates for the programme.
Phillips said that the needs analyses are expected to be completed by the end of next year, before which construction will have started.
“The bulk of the construction work will take place between 2008 and 2010 and the entire project should be completed by 2014,” he said.
The project is expected to create 'tens of thousands' of jobs over a sustainable period of at least ten years, deputy Minister of Public works Ntopile Kganyago said.