Partnership in race to stay afloat

Cape Town Partnership CEO, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana

While the City of Cape Town cut its R5 million a year funding to the Cape Town Partnership, it seems the non-profit organisation have managed to do some damage control.

However, they are not out of the hot water just yet.

According to Cape Town Partnership CEO, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, the organisation’s staff had moved back into their Bree Street offices but would be meeting with their landlord to discuss exiting their five-year lease, they were half-way through.

It was reported that the staff had been put on special leave, and that their landlord, Growthpoint Properties, had given them notice of eviction for not paying rent.

However, Ms Makalima-Ngewana said the organisation was only one month in arrears with its rent, and “has made every endeavour to pay our creditors during this period”.

She said the future of Cape Town Partnership would be discussed at a meeting of their board this week.

Ms Makalima-Ngewana has since issued a public statement, in which she said: “It is with absolute pride and honour that we feel that our job is done.

“For me personally, as CEO, I believe that the 12 years I’ve spent at the Cape Town Partnership in various roles has been worthwhile. In the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to countless former colleagues and collaborators, all of whom are proud of their association with the organisation.”

According to the City, relationships with all its partner organisations are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

They had provided funding to the Cape Town Partnership for nearly 20 years.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said a key approach has been to move from purely funding, to funding tied to clear deliverables.

“A further requirement is that organisations need to develop a sustainable model of funding that does not rely solely on funding from the City.

“A further step is then that organisations need to bid for work from the City rather than have the expectation that they will be funded on an ongoing basis.”

He said the City had engaged with the Cape Town Partnership over a number of years over the concern that they relied almost entirely on funding from the City of Cape Town, despite the fact that they had been in existence for nearly 20 years.

“We further indicated to them that they will have to find other funding sources and will have to in future bid for work from the City. The funding was thus reduced over time to give them the opportunity to make adjustments in their organisation and find alternative sources of income.

“They would be able to get funding from the City of Cape Town in future if they were able to make successful bids on research work that the City sought to contract.”

The Cape Town Partnership was established in 1999 with various stakeholders to address crime, grime and urban decay in the city centre. It had since been instrumental in the establishment of the Economic Development Partnership; co-ordinated Cape Town’s successful bid for the World Design Capital 2014 and also assisted in the implementation of the Hout Bay Partnership.

The partnership’s current project, the Central City Development Strategy, a 10-year strategy in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, is aimed at creating a more liveable African city, and is set to conclude in 2018.

It is unclear what will happen to the project if the Cape Town Partnership board decides to close down the organisation.

The City Central Improvement District (CCID), was formed a year after Cape Town Partnership was created.

The Cape Town Partnership was the managing agent of the CCID until June 2015, when the management agreement came to an end, and the CCID moved into its own premises in Thibault Square.

The CCID, funded by property owners in the city centre to provide complementary and supplementary services, mainly security, cleanliness and social outreach, seemed to have been successful in combating crime, grime and urban decay in the city centre since its establishment, raising questions about the CCID’s contribution to the deterioration of entities such as Cape Town Partnership.

It is a concern that the implementation of City Improvement Districts or Special Rating Areas seemed to relax community activism such as neighbourhood watches or other organisations operating in an area because of the additional services provided by CIDS and SRAs.

However, stakeholders disagree that the CCID had contributed to the deterioration of the Cape Town Partnership.

Mr Nielsen disagreed from a funding point of view.

He said organisations such as the CCID and Cape Town Partnership could and did work together.

“The CCID works closely with its partners to offer safety and security, quality urban management, and social development services to stakeholders in the central city, while the Cape Town Partnership is involved in projects such as research on implementing the City of Cape Town’s Informal Trading Plan in the CBD, aiding the development of the City’s Business Support and Markets Policy, developing a concept for the Cape Town Summer Market, and providing input on the development of the City’s Informal Economy Policy, with a particular focus on reimagining the Adderley Street business precinct,” he said.

CCID CEO, Tasso Evangelinos, also disagreed, saying that the Cape Town Partnership and the CCID were two completely different entities with very different mandates, with the partnership model and the CID model working symbiotically, but not replacing each other.

“The Cape Town Partnership was a special purpose vehicle that fell under, reported to and was funded by the City of Cape Town through the City’s Department of Economic Development while city improvement districts are not funded by the City of Cape Town but by private property owners.”

A representative from Growthpoint Properties could not be reached for comment by the time this edition went to print.

However, it was reported that a portfolio manager for Growth Point, Mahlatse Chirwa, had said they could not discuss the financial standing of its clients.

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