Re-introducing you to the Cape Town Partnership

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, photo by Lisa Burnell

If you’re a long-time friend or partner of the Cape Town Partnership, you might remember that, back in 2008, we collaborated with the City of Cape Town on a ten-year development plan for the area from Salt River to Green Point, mountain to sea. The outcome, the Central City Development Strategy (CCDS), continues to guide and govern our work today, and helps us ensure that the area “grows and greatly enhances its reputation as a dynamic business and people centre.”

In the first five years of implementing the CCDS, and together with the Central City Improvement District, we made great strides in helping Cape Town Central City become the dynamic business centre it is today. We focused a great deal of our energies on property investment, infrastructure and urban upgrades that we believed would benefit the entire metropole.

Five years on, and half-way through the CCDS timeframe (which takes us into 2018), how has our emphasis shifted? While our business-minded work will continue, the focus until 2018 will be on the lifeblood and soul of our city: its people. This next phase of our work is on putting people first.

To help you better understand this shifting emphasis and see our work in context, we’ve started a series of monthly newsletters, aimed at re-introducing you to the Cape Town Partnership. Welcome to the first.

We’re changing

Beyond the emphasis on putting people first, what else has changed?

Our geography: Over the years, the Partnership’s scope and mandate has evolved to embrace new challenges and opportunities – in particular, to ensure that the social and economic regeneration of the Central City of Cape Town is inclusive, caring, sustainable, and to the benefit of the broader city region. When we started in 1999, our focus was on managing, developing and promoting Cape Town’s central business district – defined at the time as the area from Buitengracht to Buitenkant Street, Orange Street to the Foreshore. In 2008, based on our success in the central business district, our focus expanded to the broader city centre – from Woodstock to Green Point, mountain to sea. Today it covers the Table Bay planning district — the area from Camps Bay to the Foreshore, the east city to Observatory, Salt River to Langa – with links across the Cape Town metropole. To see a map explaining our expanded mandate and geography, click here.

Our operations: Most often, we operate in a matchmaking, facilitation and translation role for the public and private sectors and community groups, and continue to be the managing agent of the Central City Improvement District. But our work doesn’t stop there: Given the success of the partnership model, the Cape Town Partnership also incubates and co-locates with a number of like-minded organisations, namely the Economic Development Partnership, which focuses on inclusive economic development in the Western Cape; The Safety Lab, an innovative project looking at ‘whole of society’ solutions to community safety issues in the Western Cape; and the Hout Bay Partnership, a project still in development that seeks to encourage social cohesion and deepen democracy in a particularly divided community on the Cape Peninsula.

The way we staff projects: An expanding mandate has demanded a different approach to how we staff projects: Where previously we would’ve appointed one person per project, we’re now working in a much more networked way, with multiple people dedicated to different aspects of a project. If this has created any confusion around who to contact, be sure to look out for the October newsletter, in which we’ll be running a much more comprehensive who’s who of the Cape Town Partnership, introducing you to staff members on a range of Cape Town Partnership projects you might not yet know about.

Our leadership: In April 2013, after nearly ten years of leadership, Andrew Boraine stepped down as chief executive of the Cape Town Partnership, to take up the position of CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, and I took up the mantle of CEO. To honour his legacy and leadership, we held a small party with long-time friends of the organisation on 10 September 2013 – 10 years and one week to the day since Andrew’s first day at the Partnership. If you weren’t there to celebrate with us, this is what transpired.

While change is inevitable, what stays the same is this organisation’s dedication to seeing Cape Town become a more vibrant, liveable, soulful city — for everyone who lives here. If you need a refresher on the work, history and successes of the organisation, click here. If you’d like to join us in our mission and help co-create the kind of city you’d like to see, mail us at

Sincerely yours,
Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana

One Response

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  1. Ron Mader says

    Love this: “While our business-minded work will continue, the focus until 2018 will be on the lifeblood and soul of our city: its people. This next phase of our work is on putting people first.”

    What impresses me most about Cape Town is the pride you have of the Cape Town residents. What a privilege it is to travel to your city, not only to see places but to meet the locals. Best wishes in your continuing work that inspires us all.

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