Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The Economist has some good things to say about Joburg in its Cities Guide (an excellent way to waste time, I might add):

Efforts to renovate downtown Johannesburg continue. A combination of public and private spending is rejuvenating the area, and developers are transforming stately old buildings into luxury lofts. New shops, cafes and car parks continue to spring up. Game, a department store that fled the city during the downturn, is back. There are even plans for the country's first presidential library to open here, as well as a Hyatt Hotel to replace a former mortuary. In March, the Constitutional Court, South Africa's highest, relocated downtown, near some run-down apartment blocks.

Some still worry about serious crime. One of the country's best-known musicians, Gito Baloi, was shot dead on April 4th while driving at night through the city. Muggings and petty crime remain a problem, but violent crimes, such as rape, murder and carjackings, have declined by 90% in recent years, according to Tshepo Nkosi of the Johannesburg Development Agency, as reported in the Chicago Tribune. Visitors may be comforted by the sight of closed-circuit cameras throughout the city. But most professionals, when asked about the city's most pressing problem, cite not crime but parking.

Of course, not knowing much about Joburg, I can't verify any of this. Maybe the boys from Commentary can lend a hand?


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