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Cape Town Mayor Ready to ‘Name and Shame’ Decaying Buildings Belonging to Department of Public Works

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced an initiative to address the increasing problem of decaying buildings in the city, particularly those under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works. Hill-Lewis emphasized the importance of maintaining the city’s infrastructure and holding accountable those responsible for neglected properties.

Background and Motivation

Cape Town has been grappling with the issue of dilapidated buildings, which pose safety hazards and contribute to urban decay. Many of these buildings are owned by the national Department of Public Works, which has faced criticism for its lack of maintenance and slow response to repair needs. Mayor Hill-Lewis, known for his proactive approach to city management, is determined to bring about change by publicly identifying the worst offenders.

The ‘Name and Shame’ Campaign

Hill-Lewis plans to launch a ‘name and shame’ campaign aimed at pressuring the Department of Public Works to take immediate action. By publicly highlighting the most neglected buildings, the mayor hopes to create a sense of urgency and accountability. This strategy is part of a broader effort to improve urban living conditions and ensure the safety of residents.

Response from the Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works has acknowledged the mayor’s concerns but insists that budget constraints and bureaucratic hurdles have delayed necessary repairs and maintenance. They have expressed a commitment to addressing these issues but caution that significant improvements will take time.

Community Impact and Support

Residents and community organizations have largely welcomed the mayor’s initiative. Many believe that naming and shaming negligent property owners is a necessary step to bring about much-needed change. Improved maintenance of public buildings is expected to enhance safety, boost property values, and foster a more attractive urban environment.

Future Steps

Hill-Lewis’s administration is also exploring additional measures to support the campaign, including legal actions and partnerships with private entities to accelerate the renovation process. The mayor has called for greater collaboration between city officials and the national government to ensure that the necessary resources and attention are dedicated to this issue.

By taking a firm stance on the condition of public buildings, Mayor Hill-Lewis aims to set a precedent for urban management and encourage other cities to adopt similar strategies.

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Calvin van der Spuy
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