Johannesburg City of Slums

Property writer Paddy Hartdegen took an impromptu drive through Johannesburg’s inner city this week. Afterwards he asked himself:  ‘Would I buy a property in central Johannesburg today?’ His reply: ‘Not on your nelly…’

Johannesburg’s CBD and its highrise apartment buildings used to be peaceful, orderly abodes for working-class white South Africans who worked in its many offices and shops. These streets used to be peaceful and safe enough for children to play on the sidewalks at night. The residents were never rich: they were working-class adults with their children.

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December 17 2010 – Property writer Paddy Hartdegen writes after an impromptu drive through Johannesburg’s CBD that ‘it is in chaos, filthy, teeming with lawless drivers, its inner-city buildings rapidly decaying…many should be condemned.

“A parkade near the station is a burnt-out hulk… In Harrison Street, a 15 storey, face-brick building has broken windows, the building is crumbling, balconies are not properly secured. Inside is filth and moral decay: services don’t work, the lifts are broken. I pass derelict building after derelict building, many with extensive fire damage. Some boarded up, others simply deserted.”

Dawsons Hotel Johannesburg a boarded up wreck Hartdegen writes: “Those marvellous old properties such as the Dawson Hotel with its Frothing Goblet pub (picture from DeathofJohannesburg blogspot.com) is boarded up; the front doors secured by solid steel gates.Wherever you move your gaze, you find degeneration…”

He concludes: “would I buy a property in central Johannesburg today? Not on your nelly…’ entire article on: http://www.property24.com/articles/joburg-the-miserable-city-of-slums/12852

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The propaganda by the city takes the opposite slant.

They are ‘reshaping the inner city’, they claim on their ratepayer-funded website:

JOHANNESBURG CITY PROMISES TO RESHAPE INNNER CITY DEC2010

http://www.joburgnews.co.za/citichat/2003/dec1_citichat.stm

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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