The Cape Town Partnership brings together players in many different sectors to
create a city centre with charm and cultural diversity: TABJ spoke to Andrew
Boraine, Chief Executive of the Cape Town Partnership and convenor of the
Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, to find out more
THE AFRICAN BUSINESS JOURNAL (TABJ): How was the company created?
ANDREW BORAINE: The Cape Town Partnership (CTP) was established in July 1999
by the City of Cape Town, South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA),
Cape Town Chamber of Commerce and various other cultural, educational and
social partners to manage, promote and develop the Cape Town Central City.
The Partnership’s vision is of an inclusive, productive and diverse city
centre that retains its historic character and reflects a common identity for
all the people of Cape Town.
The Cape Town Partnership is an independent non-profit organisation (Section
21 company) governed by a Board of Directors drawn from a diverse range of
stakeholders, bringing their expertise and networks together for the benefit
of the Central City. The City of Cape Town is a founding member of the
Partnership, and has two representatives on the Board.
A specific urban management vehicle, the Central City Improvement District
(CCID) was launched by the Partnership in November 2000, the first of its kind
in South Africa. Cape Town now has around 25 City Improvement Districts in
different parts of the City based on the original Central City model. The Cape
Town Partnership is the managing agent for the CCID.
TABJ: Can you tell me more about your products and services?
AB: In the late 1990s Cape Town was showing distinct signs of physical and
social wear and tear in its historic centre. Street life was deteriorating
into a morass of crime and grime and tenants and retailers were packing up
their goods.
There were several interventions by concerned individuals and business
organisations, particularly the SA Property Owners Association that led to the
creation of the Cape Town Partnership (CTP) in partnership with the City of
Cape Town. It was decided that the Partnership would operate in a two-tiered
hybrid system, whereby it would oversee strategy and overall planning, while
the Central City Improvement District (CCID) would handle operations such as
safety and cleansing.
The Partnership and the CCID achieved much in the first decade, including
security, cleansing and urban management collaborations, resulting in a 90%
reduction in serious crime in the Central City; international recognition by
the Washington DC-based International Downtown Association (IDA) of the
Partnership’s social development programme, especially our job creation
schemes; investment attraction of around R16 billion; upgrade and
redevelopment of over 170 CBD buildings, many of them of important heritage
significance; restoration of property values and municipal revenues;
revitalisation of public spaces and improved pedestrian environments; an
innovative Creative Cape Town programme which includes the establishment of
The Fringe Innovation District; a 2010 FIFA World Cup programme which included
the design and management of the successful Cape Town Fan Walk.
A future development agenda called the Central City Development Strategy
(CCDS) has also been formulated, which charts a 10-year development vision for
Cape Town;s Central City, from 2008 to 2018. The CCDS vision is to position
Cape Town’s Central City as a dynamic and sustainable people and business
The key outcomes highlighted in the CCDS are that, by 2018, Cape Town’s
Central City will be a premier business location, recognised globally; a high
quality, sustainable urban environment; a popular destination for Capetonians
and visitors; a leading centre for knowledge, innovation, creativity and
culture in Africa and the South; and a place that embodies the heart and soul
of Cape Town.
Through working in partnership, and leveraging mega event opportunities like
the hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup to add impetus to our desired
outcomes, we have made significant progress towards reaching these goals. Our
public transport infrastructure has improved dramatically, and our public
spaces have been upgraded. The Cape Town International Convention Centre is
currently the leading one in Africa and is due for a R690 million expansion
that will see it double in size by 2015. Its aim is to become the world’s
leading long haul convention centre by 2020.
World Design Capital 2014: This successful bid, spearheaded by the Cape Town
Partnership and coordinated on behalf of the City of Cape Town, forms part of
our CCDS strategy to position Cape Town on a global stage as a centre of
creativity and innovation. It also furthers the aims of the CCDS through
embedding design in city development processes and helping us to find
innovative solutions to our key urban challenges.
The Economic Development Partnership: In partnership with PGWC and other
stakeholders, the Cape Town Partnership is incubating this ground-breaking
programme that will lead, coordinate, and drive sustainable economic growth
within the Western Cape. This will result in our metro region seeing more job
opportunities and more inclusive economic development. This collaborative
partnership will see Cape Town’s larger urban economy serving as one of four
inter-connected economic regions throughout the Province, encouraging wider
growth and stronger linkages to our city’s economy.
TABJ: What have been your most lucrative contracts?
AB: The Cape Town Partnership is a non-profit organisation funded by the City
in the form of a grant in aid, the CCID (management fee), kerbside parking
(management fee), parking (management fee) and other project-related public
and private sector revenue streams. The CCID’s operations are funded by a
special levy on top of city property rates.
TABJ: How have differences in the industry changed your business in the last 10
AB: In the face of rapid urbanisation and limited resources, cities today are
facing challenges that are complex, persistent, deep-rooted and, sometimes,
seemingly intractable. This is particularly true of many developing nation
cities, including Cape Town.
We have learned through our experience of urban regeneration in Cape Town’s
Central City over the past 13 years that no single organisation can lead a
city and region in dealing with such complexity.
Government organisations have the statutory mandate and possess many of the
resources, but are not always sufficiently in touch with the fine-grained
grassroots community issues, or the business and investment environment. In
practice, they are often hamstrung with vexed inter-governmental relations and
an anti-development regulatory regime.
Civil society organisations are usually powerful advocates of the rights and
needs of specific constituencies and sectors, but often lack both the
resources and the strategic capacity to translate mobilisation into effective
Private sector organisations often have resources, but are in many instances
out of touch with the complexities of community needs and sometimes do not
fully appreciate the structural nature of economic exclusion and
underdevelopment. Business is also often locked into a race to the bottom
stand-off with labour, given the intractability of the current South African
industrial relations regime.
No one organisation can, on its own, hope to successfully resolve the
structural problems of unemployment, inequality and poverty, or address the
need for basic services and shelter in informal settlements, or the challenges
faced by communities wracked by gang violence and drugs.
Professor Ralph Hamann of the UCT Graduate School of Business, who has studied
a wide range of partnership initiatives globally and locally, argues that
cross-sector partnerships involve some form of structured collaboration
between organisations from business, government and civil society on the basis
of converging interests, focused on achieving joint objectives.
Partnerships exist on different scales and take different forms, but they have
in common the expectation that the participants can achieve their objectives
more effectively and efficiently through strategic alliances with others
rather than acting independently.
Hamann further argues that there is a compelling argument that cross-sector
partnerships are strategically placed to lead urban transformation because of
their ability to creatively juxtapose different and even conflicting
interests, objectives and organisational cultures. Sometimes, the explicit
embrace of tensions between partners or between perspectives acts as a
catalytic force to identify creative win-win options.
TABJ: How has the organisation evolved in Africa and what are your activities
across Africa specifically?
AB: From 1999 to 2009, the Cape Town Partnership’s focus was predominantly on
the regeneration and promotion of the Central City of Cape Town.
However, recent projects like the establishment of the Western Cape Economic
Development Partnership and Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid have
expanded our scope of work to include a national and regional focus.
Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid was explicitly positioned as an African
bid, and through this designation we aim to build ties with other African
cities; share our knowledge of how design can help us to solve our problems
and create better, more liveable and inclusive cities; platform African
innovation on a global stage, and position Africa for the knowledge economy.
TABJ: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your recent projects?
AB: Firstly, Cape Town’s designation as World Design Capital 2014 (WDC). This
is a designation conferred biennially by the International Council of Societies
of Industrial Design (Icsid) to cities that have used design as a tool to
reinvent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life. The WDC
provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to showcase their
accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as
highlighting successes in urban revitalisation strategies.
Cape Town is seeking to use the WDC 2014 to build new partnerships and to help
find innovative and workable solutions for city development challenges. To this
end, design is understood not so much as arts and culture, or high end
products or aesthetics but as problem solving. The focus of the WDC 2014
effort will be on design for people rather than people for design, i.e. on
economic and social needs of citizens, communities and businesses and not just
the activities of the design community in Cape Town. Through this process, ways
will be found to embed design-process and design-education in city development
projects and programmes to make them more sustainable.
This will be particularly apposite in a city (and country) where for decades,
design was used perversely and deliberately to separate people and communities
and reproduce inequality.
WDC 2014 is seen therefore as a movement rather than an event or series of
events. There will be as much focus on putting Cape Town on the move through
design projects and activities as putting Cape Town on the map through
organising events, hosting the global design community and promoting the
visitor economy.
WDC 2014 is being designed as a participative process, open to all citizens
and organisations. In particular, WDC 2014 will involve pupils, students and
young people.
WDC 2014 will be organised explicitly as a multi-stakeholder partnership,
firstly, between different sectors (citizens, communities, government,
business, labour, professional bodies, universities and schools, etc.),
secondly, between South African cities, thirdly, with other African cities,
and fourthly, with the international design community and with other cities
that embrace design for change.
WDC 2014 will be specifically incorporated into the City of Cape Town’s City
Development Strategy (CDS) as well as the Provincial Government’s Future Cape;
a process to set a vision for the future of the region, identify long-term
trends and strategies for change. WDC 2014 is therefore also about defining
the identity of the city and redesigning the future of the region.
Secondly, over the past year, there has been a process to establish a new
cross-sector partnership for Cape Town and the Western Cape Region. The
Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP), which is due to be
launched in April 2012, will lead, coordinate and drive regional economic
growth, development and inclusion by concentrating on:
Economic and market intelligence and monitoring to ensure evidence-led strategy
and planning
Economic vision and strategy through building leadership and a common agenda
Business attraction, retention and expansion through building an improved
business and investment climate
Creation of a single brand platform through a regional marketing alliance
Organisation of the economic system for optimum delivery through system
performance monitoring and on-going coordination of reform
The EDP is a response to a diagnosis of the regional economic delivery system
which found that, in Cape Town and the Western Cape, there is:
No shared economic vision and common agenda
Disjointed regional economic delivery system
Not achieving our full growth potential
Crisis of jobless growth and persistent poverty and inequality
Insufficiently competitive, productive and resilient as a region
Relatively weak regional business brand
The EDP is being established to specifically put the economic agenda and job
creation at the heart of the development process. This is being done partly
because the economy has historically been neglected within sub-national public
policy, strategy and budgets. With the focus on economic inclusion, it is also
there to specifically strengthen social development objectives.
For example, economic development is on the income side of the municipal
balance sheet – it produces the resources that fund the social programmes.
Sustainable social development must include access to jobs and incomes
otherwise it becomes a welfare trap. Access to employment not only reduces
dependence on social services but also increases social development, cohesion,
and aspirations. Building the breadth and depth of the labour market is the
only way to bring more people into it. Without economic development, the most
skilled people move on and the least employable and dependent are left without
a platform for employment. Moreover, social and spatial development, and
environmental improvements, can be delivered in ways which create jobs and
employment opportunities.
The EDP is being established as a cross-sector partnership rather than a
traditional government agency or statutory body. This is because economic
development is characterised as a vision driven activity that seeks to
assess comparative and competitive strengths and opportunities, define a path
into the future and shape the behaviour of other actors, most of whom are not
in the control of governments and public bodies.
The EDP can therefore be characterised as an intermediary or relational
organisation, which facilitates activities between government, business and
other economic partners. In other words, the EDP is neither a business
organisation nor a public entity, but rather a centre for the coordinating
economic delivery system. As such, the EDP will focus on the overall system of
delivering economic strategy, not just on the role of a single institution.
The EDP will be primarily market-facing (understanding long-term demand
trends) and industry-facing (understanding the needs of firms and investors),
while the role of government is to be primarily community-facing and
government-facing (with substantial vertical and horizontal collaboration on
the public sector side).
The EDP will seek to organise a more coherent and effective system of economic
delivery in the region between the partners, rather than substituting for the
mandates of the partners. The EDP is intended to be a relatively small, agile,
creative, leadership and coordinating body, attracting top talent. Finally, the
EDP will be an independent non-partisan organisation.


Asime Nyide, known as DneinNuqer, is the insightful mind steering the helm at With a keen eye for business trends and a commitment to delivering cutting-edge insights, Asime curates a dynamic space where industry enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike converge. Unveiling the latest market developments, strategic analyses, and thought-provoking perspectives, Asime Nyide fosters a community of forward-thinkers at, making it a go-to resource for those navigating the ever-evolving landscape of business. E-mail / Instagram