With a pandemic that has exacerbated longstanding social and economic challenges in Cape Town, the City of Cape Town has ramped up its efforts in creating the right conditions for growth and investments. Read more below:

Taking our cue from the World Bank’s Sub-National Doing Business (SNDB) Survey, I am pleased to say that the City has made significant strides in addressing the local governmental stumbling blocks to development within Cape Town, particularly for small businesses and start-ups.

These efforts are based on lessons learned in the survey which is conducted every three years and ranks a country’s major metros against specific benchmarks. In the 2018 survey, Cape Town came out on top for getting electricity and dealing with construction permits.

I can now report that:

  • During the pre-lockdown period from 27 March 2019 to 26 March 2020, the City’s Development Management Department approved 18 471 building plans. During the lockdown period from 27 March 2020 to 30 June 2021, at the end of financial year, 22 390 building plans were approved. This equates to an increase of 21,2%.
  • An average of 90% of Rates Clearance Certificates were issued within 10 days.

These milestones were achieved mainly due to the City’s moving away from manual service application processes, and to prioritising online applications and automation of some of these processes. Several enhancements are being done to our systems, to make it easier for our stakeholders to access the City’s services.

When looked at holistically, the City’s interventions for responding to the gaps that were identified by the World Bank’s survey can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Digitisation and automation of service application processes;
  • Streamlining of application processes;
  • More engaging platforms that allow for improved communication with the public;
  • And rationalising the existing City systems and processes – i.e. the Rates Clearance Automated System and Processes (RCAP), and the Development Application Management System (DAMS).

Our approach is also informed by feedback from business and industry leaders on the ground, many of whom took part in the City’s recently concluded Business Satisfaction Survey (BSS). Through the BSS, we wanted to establish the levels of satisfaction amongst businesses with the services provided by the City, how the City can improve and make it easier for businesses to operate, and get a clearer picture of any other obstacles and concerns they may be facing.

While the City has been lauded for creating a pro-business environment that has helped Cape Town’s economy to often times be resilient in the face of national and global economic turmoil, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Ours is a rapidly expanding city with constantly evolving and unique challenges. To meet these head on, we as a City government must act with precision in laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.

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