Members of the Johannesburg Development Agency’s (JDA’s) board of directors got a close-up view of some of the agency’s recently completed and ongoing projects on Friday, 30 October, and were impressed with what they saw.

One of the new artworks at the revamped Walter Sisulu Square of DedicationOne of the new artworks at the revamped Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, Soweto.Alice Moloto, the JDA’s manager of internal communications and special projects, accompanied the board members on a day-long tour that took in a new drug rehabilitation centre in Randburg, a new clinic in Ennerdale, the revamped Walter Sisulu Square of Declaration in Kliptown, and transit-oriented development projects in Jabulani and Nancefield.

Moloto said the aim was to give board members a fuller perspective on the kind of projects the JDA was undertaking across the city. “It is important for the board members to see these projects in person, so that they have some additional perspective on the projects they’re discussing.”

The tour began in Golden Harvest Park in Randburg, the site of a new rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. Approximately R11-million was spent on construction of the new facility, which was completed in June. The centre will be run by the City’s Development of Health and Social Development, and is set to open next year.

The JDA’s development manager for the project, Jocelyn Davids, told the board members that the centre was part of the City of Joburg’s campaign to turn the tide on the scourge of drug abuse among the youth.

The centre will accommodate 46 children under the age of 16 years. “These people need special care during their rehabilitation,” Davids said.

Tour guides and operators are briefed during a recent tour of Ennerdale ClinicTour guides and operators are briefed during a recent tour of Ennerdale ClinicThe board members then travelled south of Johannesburg, to the recently completed clinic in Ennerdale Extension 8.

The R22.5-million facility, built under contract by Dryden Projects, will provide the community with local access to comprehensive primary healthcare, including integrated chronic diseases management, antenatal care and tuberculosis treatment.

JDA development manager Shaakira Chohan took the board members on a tour of the new clinic, which will accommodate 300 patients at a time and incorporates 16 consulting rooms, group counselling rooms, play areas for children and gardens for the community to plant vegetables.

Chohan took the board members through the administration office, records room, supervisor’s office room, TB section and isolation rooms. She noted that the buildings had been designed to be energy and water-efficient, and came with energy-saving light fittings, rain harvesting facilities, anti-drip taps and water-efficient toilets.

Construction was completed in September after starting in January, and the clinic is due to start operating in the first half of 2016.

Extensive green landscaping was introduced to soften the hard open space at the SquareExtensive green landscaping was introduced to soften the hard open space at the Square.The group’s next stopover was the Walter Sisulu Square of Declaration in Kliptown, Soweto, which underwent a R20-million upgrade ahead of the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom Charter on 26 June.

The upgrade included the introduction of landscaped grass, trees and flowerbeds to soften the hard open space of the Square, along with new outdoor seating, walkways and artworks, improved lighting and CCTV cameras, and new cabling at the Visitors’ centre.

JDA development manager Leonard Visagie said the aim had been to make the Square a more welcoming place for local residents, visitors, traders and potential investors, while creating a space that would reflect the spirit of the Freedom Charter.

In order to do this, Visagie said, the JDA had relocated traders from the centre of the Square. Most traders were now operating on the outskirts of the Square and along Union Road, and the agency was in the process of engaging with them on where and how best they could be accommodated in relation to the Square.

What also remained to be done, he said, was to improve the orientation of the Soweto Hotel so that it interacts better with the Square.

The upgraded public environment surrounding the Soweto TheatreThe upgraded public environment surrounding the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani.The board members then paid a visit to Soweto’s up-and-coming business and cultural hub, Jabulani, where over R150-million has been spent to date on transit-oriented developments, including the recently completed road linking Bolani and Koma Roads.

Construction of the link road included a “complete street” redesign to ease pedestrian and public transport access in the area, with new cycle lanes, pavements, public seating and storm water drainage now in place.

The final stop-over was the Nancefield Station Precinct, where new sidewalks and pedestrian connections have been created, lighting improved, the forecourt of the passenger rail station rebuilt, and a recreational park established.

As in Jabulani, the new developments are aimed at improving liveability, accessibility and interaction between the City’s residents and the movement corridors that connect them.

Speaking afterwards, board member Panos Zagaretos described the tour as a good experience. “The tour helped us to envision that kind of final result for the projects,” Zagaretos said.

Another board member, Nozipho Makhoba, said the JDA team needed to be applauded for their efforts in changing people’s lives.

“I am truly impressed by the amount of work being done by JDA in making amenities available to people in communities that were once neglected,” Makhoba said.