Partnership’s fate hangs in the balance

The Cape Town Partnership have not renewed the contracts of their staff and have cut their manpower to a small group of volunteers following a decision by the City of Cape Town to cut its funding.

The board has also decided to streamline their operations over the next three months until a final decision on the future of the non-profit organisation is made later this year. The City cut its R5 million annual funding to the partnership recently.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson 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, despite the fact that they have been in existence for nearly 20 years. (“Partnership in race to stay afloat”, CapeTowner, July 27).

The partnership had since fallen into arrears with their rent in the Bree Street building, and it was reported that all staff were put on special leave for two weeks, but had returned to the offices last week. According to a statement from the board, the Cape Town Partnership and the City of Cape Town had done valuable work. “Against the background of a significant legacy, the board expressed its strong belief that the work of Cape Town Partnership as an institution remained valuable and relevant to urban practitioners, specifically those interested or involved in rescuing distressed central business districts. “This was deemed true for the Cape Town metropolitan area, which still has numerous CBDs in need of rescue, as well as areas in South Africa and Africa. Again, this is evidenced by the numerous requests for assistance from those urban practitioners, seeking to tap into the knowledge honed by the Cape Town Partnership over its 17 years of experience.”

The statement said that the board has decided to apply its mind to the best and most sustainable ways the model could be developed further. It is anticipated that a final decision of the future of the Cape Town Partnership will be decided by the end of October.