The City of Johannesburg has strategically imploded the condemned Kaserne Building in Jeppestown, making room for a new mixed-use development that will provide low-cost housing.
The building was condemned by the court in 2021 after it caught fire due to an illegal electricity connection. Nine people lost their lives in the fire, with more than 135 others displaced.
It had been home to squatters and informal structures for more than a decade.
Following the implosion, Joburg executive mayor, Mpho Phalatse said the city could begin work on a public-private partnership that can assist to fast track the pace of delivery of housing.
An estimated 1,500 housing units will be built in the area in an effort to address the housing backlog in the city, Phalatse said, which is currently sitting at an estimated 480,000 people who are still on the waiting list for houses.
The area will be developed into a township with all amenities including a health facility and early childhood development centre and will be a site for the development of mixed housing units such as RDP homes and rental houses.
“The mixed development is aimed at addressing the housing need for RDP beneficiaries, subsidized homes that come at lower costs as well as social housing for rentals. This means that this development will cater to different income groups in an effort to cover the different housing needs need in the City of Johannesburg.”
Residents of the nearby informal settlement will be prioritized during the development of the new housing units, the city said.
“Meanwhile, we are going to electrify the informal settlement here to ensure we mitigate against fires, previously experienced in the Kaserne Building,” it said.
Phalatse said that the multi-party coalition running the City of Johannesburg is committed to rebuilding the CBD and inner-city, promising to make it “safe and clean”.
Through its Public Safety department, the city has deployed 1,800 JMPD Officers on foot patrol to ensure the safety and security of residents and visitors to the CBD.
“In addition to this, there are daily Buya Mthetho operations being run across the inner city, which look at by-law infringements, crime, and unpaid and illegal water and electricity connections,” Phalatse said.
“Through the Department of Economic Development, the Informal Trading Policy is being rolled out The Informal Trading Policy recognizes the importance of informal traders in our city and the need to regulate and empower this economic sector.”
Over the 2022/23 financial year, the city plans to invest over R800-million in capital projects into Region F, which encompasses the Inner City. The majority of this expenditure will be directed to the CBD, with housing running projects in excess of R70 million.
In the 2023/24 financial year, the city said it will invest close to R900-million in Region F, with the investment jumping to over R1-billion in the 2024/25 financial year.