THE Fox Street Mall, South Point, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and Absa Towers West were among eight winners of the prestigious Halala Joburg Awards, all of which were acknowledged for their contributions to uplifting the inner city.

The awards ceremony, hosted by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), was held this year in the Bus Factory’s foyer in Newtown on 22 June. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the JDA, which is responsible for facilitating and investing in the transformation of Johannesburg.

Lese Matlhape, a member of the board of directors of the JDA, said: “We meet today to celebrate another milestone for the City of Johannesburg. Not only have we gathered here in celebration of the fourth instalment of the Halala Joburg Awards, but also to celebrate the end of a decade of regeneration and redevelopment led by the JDA.”

He said it was the agency’s intention to encourage originality, to recognise pioneers, to promote innovation and “all this is done to open new horizons in decaying areas”.

Explaining the drive behind the awards, the acting chief executive officer of the JDA, Thanduxolo Mendrew, added: “We honour people who strive to improve the quality of life in the inner city of Johannesburg. The primary role of the Halala Joburg Awards is to give recognition to those who continue to inject momentum into the City’s regeneration efforts.”

The ceremony was attended by members of the mayoral committee for development and planning, and urban management, Ruby Mathang; and for transport, Rehana Moosajee; as well as City councillors; members of the JDA board; former chief executive officers of the JDA; Halala Joburg Awards nominees; and managers and officials of the City and the JDA.


Nominations for the awards poured in this year, and out of the 33 received, 18 were shortlisted for the seven categories by an adjudication panel. The categories were: Living Joburg, Working and Buying Joburg, Relaxing and Playing Joburg, Sustaining Joburg, Conserving Joburg, Caring Joburg, and Believing Joburg.

The adjudication panel comprised Mendrew; Nkosinathi Manzana, the JDA’s chief operating officer; Eric Itzkin, the deputy director for immovable heritage in the City’s arts, culture and heritage directorate; Erika Naude, the group executive: strategy and programmes at Blue IQ Investment Holdings; and Salome Segani, the managing partner – property and housing at Musa Capital Advisor.

Matlhape noted: “The JDA has been responsible for building the Johannesburg art portfolio. The key success of urban regeneration has been demonstrated by the effective partnerships between the City, private sector and community organisations.

“In 2008, a programme that recognises this partnership was born: the Halala Joburg Awards. These awards aim to recognise and celebrate people, projects and places that improve the quality of life in the inner city.

“The JDA has acknowledged individuals and other developments and projects in order to encourage extra effort; to push for extra action that breaks new ground in urban regeneration; advance sustainable economic growth; and improve quality of life in Joburg,” he said.


The winner in the Living Joburg category, which has the sub-theme “Not houses but homes”, was South Point Student Accommodation. This category recognises projects that provide innovative, progressive and inclusive housing that addresses the needs of residents in the inner city, and supports community development.

South Point Student Accommodation provides a safe, secure and modern space for university students. The apartments have shared accommodation options that are affordable. There are facilities such as a gym and bar, and student-oriented retail, which according to the adjudication panel, “makes this a valuable contribution to inner city regeneration”.

“South Point has reshaped Braamfontein, claiming public streets and spaces and opening up retail frontages to create a student neighbourhood that is safe and lots of fun,” noted the panel.

Phase one of Fox Street Mall shows the potential of what will be achieved when more phases of the mall upgrade take place. It won the Working and Buying Joburg category, which has the sub-theme “Creating a business destination”.

The category recognises innovative, exciting and striking commercial and retail developments that contribute to attracting people to the inner city.

The adjudication panel said: “Gandhi Square is a popular retail and recreation hub that buzzes with activity and interest, and as we learned, this Fox Street Mall is set to extend these improvements in the inner city.”

Relaxing and Playing Joburg, with the sub-theme “The recreation destination”, was won by the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. Its impact and sustainability clinched the award.

“The hundreds of thousands of people who come into Newtown to visit Sci-Bono every year speaks about the role that Sci-Bono plays in keeping Newtown buzzing,” said the panel. “The important role that Sci-Bono plays in improving science and maths education outcomes is also noteworthy. There are also very exciting plans to extend the Sci-Bono offering in future.”

AbsaTowers West, a new office development spanning three city blocks, won in the category Sustaining Joburg. Its sub-theme is “Green buildings, green city”.

This development integrates with other initiatives such as Rea Vaya and the Campus Improvement District. It is focused on green building and is designed to meet a five-star rating by the South African Green Building Council.

The panel noted: “This development won the Sustaining Joburg category, which highlighted the original and exciting use of the well-managed public space and projects that support the regeneration of the inner city.”

In the Conserving Joburg category, with the sub-theme “Joburg past, present and future”, Salisbury House won after the panel acknowledged the outstanding efforts made in conserving the building.

In this category, conservation and heritage are the focus, with the stress on historical, social, scientific or architectural importance.

“The Salisbury House refurbishment has been handled in a sensitive and determined way, and the restoration of this important building is a valuable contribution to the city of Joburg’s heritage,” noted the panel.

Caring Joburg, which has the sub-theme “Supporting Joburg’s citizens” was awarded to two projects, and included a cash donation of R10 000 for the winner in support of its work. This category recognises those selfless and community-minded individuals, volunteer groups and organisations that create the caring heart of Joburg.

The two winners were Door of Hope Children’s Mission, for its work in making sure that every child has a chance at a better life, and School of Practical Philosophy for its extensive reach and valuable contribution to education and human development.

Stan Nkosi Award

The last award handed out was Believing Joburg – The Stan Nkosi Award, which recognises an urban regeneration leader and role model. This year, the winner was Gerald Olitzki for his regeneration efforts throughout the years and for providing a safe retail and transit precinct.

Matlhape said: “As the JDA board, we feel particularly proud of having been part of a journey which saw a programme by the City … turning around the fortunes of this great city of ours. In the last 10 years, the City’s vision of inner city regeneration has delivered a product that we are all proud of.

“In the last decade, the JDA has been involved in a number of important urban renewal projects: the redevelopment of Newtown, which began in 2001 with the construction of the Nelson Mandela Bridge; the creation of Metro Mall taxi facility; the refurbishment of Mary Fitzgerald Square and the Constitution Hill redevelopment; Braamfontein regeneration; High Court; construction of the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown; Vilakazi Street and [the] Baragwanath taxi rank in Soweto; and the Ridge in Orange Farm,” he added.

Mendrew concluded: “Rejuvenating the city is not an easy task, therefore we will continue to identify and recognise those who are committed in improving the city.”