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STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS.

The City is adopting rental relief options for City’s business lessees. This is in recognition that lockdown circumstances are beyond their control and is aimed at softening the impact on the potential loss of business. A two-phased consumer journey has been put into play. Read more below:

In my role as Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management (EOAM), which includes all transactions related to the City’s Immovable Property Portfolio, I established the Real Estate Services Task Team (RESTT) as one of three key disaster response initiatives within EOAM to give full effect to the COVID-19 disaster response and mitigation.

The rapid onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the national government’s swift introduction of a lockdown to contain its health impacts has undoubtedly disrupted the Cape Town economy.

We will continue to partner with as many stakeholders as possible to find innovative solutions to these difficult economic challenges.

This will be a difficult time for many of our companies and as a City, we also want to find ways in which we can best support those companies particularly hard hit.

It is with this reality that I am immensely proud of the Real Estate Services Team, (which works in conjunction with the Economic and Tourism Task Teams), for identifying one of the key initiatives, being the implementation of rental relief measures for commercial lessees.

As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown caused a number of the City’s commercial lessees to cease operations, with the continued lockdown having resulted in lessees being unable to operate and has had a severe impact on their financial position.

In recognition of these circumstances beyond their control and to soften the impact on the potential loss of business, the following two-phased consumer journey, has been adopted:

  • Phase 1: Rental remission afforded to commercial lessees based on an application made to the Property Management Department and evaluated in terms of a proven business case by the applicant.
  • Phase 2: Repayment arrangements afforded to commercial lessees based on an application made to the Revenue Department and evaluated in terms of a proven business case and aligned to existing lease terms and conditions.

The City will be communicating with each lessee in due course, I encourage all of the City’s commercial lessees who were forced to close their businesses temporarily or permanently during the lockdown period to respond and to apply for a rental remission, for example, a restaurant or tea room situated in a municipal park;

In addition, as part of this business retention initiative, payment arrangement options will be made available to lessees who may fall into arrears due to the indirect impact of the lockdown regulations, such as reduced income.

These payment arrangement plans will assist lessees to pay off their rental and arrears over an agreed number of months. Interest will not be charged, nor debt management actions taken for the duration of the arrangement, provided the agreement is honoured.

Once again, I encourage all City business partners to email realestate.service@capetown.gov.za  for details as to how to apply.

In keeping with the business facilitation, retention, and expansion focus, which speaks to the specific needs of businesses in Cape Town, the Real Estate Services Task Team will continue to explore ways we can assist.

This mitigation initiative is the first of many aimed at underpinning the City’s Economic Task Team considerations and providing impetus to the Economic Action Plan.

These unprecedented times call for a radically new approach and robust decision making. As a City government, we stand ready to partner with the other spheres of government, our strategic business partners, and most importantly our customers to devise sustainable pathways through this economic crisis.

The Cape Town economy is a diverse and resilient economy and by bringing its adaptability and innovation to the fore, I am convinced we will overcome these new challenges.

 

 

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