Fri Oct 21 11:14:14 SAST 2016

If rich move into inner-city, streets will be paved with gold

By unknown | Nov 30, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

If this doesn't garner me the president's Baobab award for ingenuity, then there's no justice in this world.

If this doesn't garner me the president's Baobab award for ingenuity, then there's no justice in this world.

You see, while grappling with the weighty matters of the universe, as you know I often do, I stumbled on some lateral thinking that resulted in a gem of an idea so profound it should propel my name right into the annals of history.

The idea is so simple it is disarming.

It's about the rejuvenation of that old bitch, Johannesburg, to its former glory of the Carlton and Johannesburg Sun hotels, the Colosseum and Rio theatres, bell-bottomed Commissioner Street and highway hippies.

Here we go: get the provincial Premier Mbhazima Shilowa and Executive Mayor Amos Masondo and a couple of senior, well-paid government employees to relocate into the inner-city. After all, this is what is happening in some of the world's major cities.

If the Lord Mayor of London can be housed smack dab in the middle of bustling London, so can Masondo and company.

But the above are not what I would exactly call blue-chip targets for my dream Jozi.

They have the power and the gravitas to turn any section of the city desirable, but do not have enough lolly to be classified as platinum residents.

So we shall relegate them to the second spot from the top and move them to gold status, that is unless they're secret shareholders in all that Gautrain gravy or have their fingers in the national cookie jar.

My prized targets would be the likes of Patrice Motsepe, Gloria Serobe, Mark Shuttleworth, Saki Macozoma, Cyril Ramaphosa and other gilt-edged people whose fabulous lives would turn around the fortunes of my city by just moving into it.

These folks could purchase an entire section of Jozi, preferably a dilapidated one, and turn it into New York City's Upper Manhattan or London's Chelsea.

It would be a coup for the cash-strapped City of Johannesburg.

The super- rich would pay handsomely for a section of the city, turn bad buildings into swanky apartments, pay for their own security and build their own, personal bridges to link them to the major arteries.

As they move in, so will South African replicas of high street fashion such as Harrods, Macys and Dolce & Cabana. We might even see the resurrection of the Carlton and the Colosseum.

High-priced commercial lawyers will reopen their practices in the city, and so would hedge managers, stockbrokers and fine restaurants.

Money does follow money.

And of course they could flaunt their wealth without thinking about the Great Unwashed who can goggle at them from the outside in as they rollick around on their upper-deck swimming pool. After all, it's not their fault that some people are poor.

For their troubles, I wouldn't mind if they build fortresses around themselves where heavily- armed guards man the entrances and only a gold credit card could swipe you in.

That's the nature of the game and its called capitalism, baby.

Now for my Baobab, Mr Prez.


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