False Bay People’s Post

19 January 2016  NICOLE MCCAIN

Ten years ago the Muizenberg beachfront was a “no-go” area, but today it is a booming hub.
With the last development along the stretch – housing a surf school, coffee shop and two restaurants – open from December, the strategic redevelopment of the area is one of the reasons visitors flock to the area.

Visitors Stream Back

Photo: Nicole McCain

Steven Frankal, developer and chairperson of the Muizenberg Improvement District (MID), believes a surge in business confidence has made the area more desirable for property owners and developers.

Brands want to be here now. People want to be here and so businesses want to be here. It’s key to keep up this momentum, he says.

Growing up in the area, Frankal remembers the time when Muizenberg was considered Cape Town’s top holiday destination.

It was the Camps Bay of Cape Town. There was a reason why people came here then and we realised there must be something we can do to bring the spark back.

A decade ago, most of the buildings along the beachfront were rundown and many were occupied illegally. Because of the high level of crime the beach had long lost its appeal, explains MID deputy chairperson, Lesley Schroeder.
Tackling the overcrowding and related crime was key to revitalising the area and bringing back development, Schroeder says.

The upgrading and redevelopment of the strip has had a major influence, bringing in a well-balanced mix of offerings. This, coupled with the recent upgrade of Surfer’s Corner, has significantly improved the overall appeal of Muizenberg beach. Today our biggest challenge is finding parking solutions for the 12 000 cars that flow in and out on busy weekends and the thorny issue of informal car guarding, she says.

Frankal believes the future of the beachfront lies in partnering with the council to provide top-notch amenities to cater for the increasing number of visitors, as well as providing a controlled parking area so “people can feel safe and secure”.

Additional safety is provided by MID, says public safety director Hugo Coetzee. This includes car patrols along the beachfront and foot patrols on the beach during the holiday season.

The future is looking very positive. Muizenberg beach is first and foremost about surfing. Everything else complements that. That said, the MID does not intend to sit back and take a breather – the key is to keep working to maintain a quality and safe visitor experience. We want Muizenberg to be a world-class destination.


About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.

The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with crime and grime, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008. Website: https://www.mid.org.za

Enquiries: Chevone Petersen manager@mid.org.za 021 788 1196 | 082 463 1525


Additional Background on Bad Buildings

Bad Buildings Bad Buildings are an ongoing area of focus for the MID. Part of our problem in Muizenberg is that at least a 3rd of property owners are absentee landlords. The MID reports concerns highlighted by the community and identified by MID to the City’s Problem Building Unit. These buildings may have been abandoned by the owner. They can be derelict, overcrowded, or prostitution or drug dealing activity is reported. These kinds of buildings are usually unhealthy, unsanitary and unsightly. Often they have an accumulation of waste material and refuse dumped around them. Presently there are very few bad buildings in the MID area of Muizenberg thanks to the persistent attention paid by the MID in collaboration with concerned property owners and community members.

By paying attention and reporting problem properties to the Building and Health Inspectors, Solid Waste, Fire and Law Enforcement and the Heritage Society, the MID is able to get the Problem Building Unit to investigate bad buildings and issue compliance notices to the owner.

The by-laws make provision for offenders to be fined up to R300 000 or imprisoned for 3 years or both. They are also liable for the costs of rehabilitating their property. In some cases a building is not derelict but it may pose a fire risk due to lack of maintenance and here the MID has also intervened. Getting a building declared a problem building is a long process but it is worth the effort. Not only for the overall look and feel of the village but because it improves property values for all of us who have invested in this beautiful village and are helping to transform it.