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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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Gauteng to streamline project approval process to boost investment

The Gauteng provincial government is working at streamlining the process of assessing the environmental impact of projects in order to speed up the approval process for businesses and encourage investment, its member of the executive council for economic development, environmentagriculture and rural development said on Thursday.

Lebogang Mailesaid the provincial government had slashed the time taken to complete the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of projects to 90 days from 24 months, and that this would be cut further to 30 days.

"Our main goal is to promote local and foreign direct investment, economic growth, job creation and to ensure quality service delivery for our people," he said."We want to develop our economy in a manner that takes into account the social, economic and environmental impact of development activities, including disadvantages and benefits. 

"We want all these to be considered, assessed and evaluated before approving any development so that we can grow our economy in a sustainable manner," Maile added.Gauteng province, home to South Africa's economic hub of Johannesburg, commissioned a study on the cost of doing business which identified delays in EIA approval as one of the major impediments for potential investors.

“We have taken significant steps to address some of the bottlenecks identified in the study," Maile said.Other measures being undertaken include the establishment of special economic zones to mitigate against the high cost of electricity, improving government procurement processes with the introduction of an open tender system, and aiming to pay suppliers within 15 days instead of 30. 


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New Plett Magistrates Court marks the start of communities coming together

The first phase of an urban renewal project designed to bring the communities of Plettenberg Bay, Kwanokuthula and New Horizons together kicked off with the construction of the Plettenberg Bay Magistrates Court, which is now nearing completion. The building, together with a public library and others still to be built, will provide these communities with a central civic complex called the New Horizons Precinct.

Since October 2015, GVK-Siya Zama, have been bringing architect, Barry Kok’s vision to life. The Principal Architect at and Owner of B2 Architects, says that the building – a concrete-framed, four-storey structure enveloped by a glazed curtain wall - turns its back on the N2 highway and faces the community it serves, with its large, multi-volume entrance portal inviting them in.

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services’ brief was that they wanted it to be a ‘contemporary expression’.This contemporary façade hides a very complex internal layout that accommodates four criminal courts, two regional courts, two civil courts, as well as a family and children’s court, along with a public parking basement, staff parking, 17 detainee cells and magistrate offices.

Kok says: “GVK-Siya Zama’s attitude has been one of accommodation, understanding and trying to bring forward the vision that I originally had, as opposed to cutting corners or imparting their own ideas. They asked a lot of questions to understand what my vision was so they could interpret it correctly.”

He adds: “I believe that the client is quite taken with the building and the Bitou Municipal Council has been very complimentary.”

Ricci Davidoff, the Principal Agent on the project, shares: “The Plett Magistrates Court is a beautiful building and I think that it will become a landmark in the area.  It has a touch of class and is an exquisitely put together piece of architecture.”GVK-Siya Zama Senior Contracts Manager, Jaco Kotze, says that the general feedback has been extremely positive and all parties seem impressed and excited for the building to become operational.

“The 312 labourers from the local community who were employed on the project since commencement, together with local contractors and suppliers, can be extremely proud of the parts they all played in the successful delivery of the project.”

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Two multi-storey premium hostels to be constructed in Kenya

Two multi-story hostels are set to be constructed in Kenya to cater for 1,170 university and college students after a group of local investors put US $8m towards the mega project.Qwetu Marketing and Communications Director, Magdalene Mulandi confirmed the reports and said that the group will at first construct a nine-floor building on Jogoo Road in Nairobi that will have a capacity to accommodate up to 500 students.

The second facility will be located on Outer Ring Road, a kilometre from Thika highway, close to several tertiary institutions and universities along Thika Road.“The hostels will give students who school around Thika Road decent furnished studio apartments that are connected to unlimited Internet, improving the learning experience,” she said.

Additionally, Qwetu Sales and Marketing consultant, Ian Hunter pointed out that the investments were executed to reflect global trends in hostel development in Kenya where students were looking for accommodation and transport solutions as a package.

Accommodation will not only be provided in the hostels but also cooking facilities and own bathroom-cum-washroom, access to a gym, recreational area as well as a cinema room. There will also be an open study area where students can hold their private learning or hold discussions with their colleagues.

The facility will help solve an urgent need for custom-made hostels for students thereby enhancing their ability to achieve their goal in life-studying.

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Illegal mining threatens Johannesburg infrastructure

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashabasaid on Thursday he was concerned about apparent inaction by the national government to curb illegal mining which threatened critical bulk infrastructure and posed an imminent disaster in the city of Johannesburg.

Mashaba said the activities could also contaminate the city’s water supply and had resulted in tremors, risking the structural integrity of roads and adjacent residential communities and businesses."Yesterday, I once again wrote to the minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe, requesting his support and intervention with regard to illegal mining with the use of explosives near highways, Transnet bulk fuel supply and SASOL gaspipelines travelling across the City," Mashaba said.

"Of significance is the Nasrec precinct where the pipelines intersect with Sasol gas lines.Investigations have revealed that if illegal mining activity continues within these old mining shafts, the entire precinct, including the iconic FNB stadium, could go down in ruins as a result of unstable earth directly underneath the area."Mashaba, whose Democratic Alliance runs the city, after unseating South Africa's ruling African National Congress, said his pleas for authorities to act, including the department of cooperative governance, provincial police and the premier, had fallen on deaf ears. 

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