The UIP (SRA) mechanism is based on the Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004, which makes provision for the establishment of Special Rating Areas. The SRA is a defined geographic area. It must be approved by 51% of commercial owners or 66% of residential owners who agree to the top-up services, in addition to those supplied by the municipality. Once the formation of the UIP is approved by Council, 100% of property owners within its legislated boundaries are required by law to contribute to the UIP i.e. every property owner contributes their share, proportionate to the budget for their precinct and the market value of their property.
The Urban Improvements Precincts is a Section 21 Company, not for profit, with the mandate to establish Special Rating Areas (SRAs) or Precincts. In early 2000 it established three Council-approved precincts in the inner city in response to the needs of property owners who wanted to improve, at their cost, the environment in which they lived and worked.
The three precincts are
The CBD Precinct: (with the boundaries bordered by Anton Lembede (Smith), Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Broad), Monty Naicker (Pine), and Dorothy Nyembe (Gardiner) Streets
- The first precinct to be established in July 2000.
- Located in the Durban Central Business District.
- Over 100 paying ratepayers, including Foschini Group, ABSA Bank, Redefine Properties and SA Mutual Life Assurance, and the following retailers, Shoprite, Edgars, The Hub, Game and Woolworths.
- UIP supplementary services include crime monitoring and cleaning by UIP security team, Enforce Security Services and UIP cleaning team, Cwebezela Trust.
- The annual 2015/16 budget for the CBD Precinct is R4.69 million.
The NEB Precinct: (the area bordered by Soldiers Way, Dr AB Xuma (Commercial), Florence Nzama (Prince Alfred) and Braam Fischer (Ordnance) Road.
The area bordered by Soldiers Way, Braam Fischer (Ordnance), Sylvester Ntuli (Brickhill) and K E Masinga (Old Fort) Roads.
The area bordered by Dorothy Nyembe (Gardiner) Street, Margaret Mncani Avenue (Victoria Embankment), Beach Walk and Anton Lembede (Smith) Street.
- The second precinct was established on 1 July 2001.
- Comprises two areas adjacent to the CBD.
- The UIP provides a security top up service only, as this is a clean area.
- Presently there are 226 paid members, some of which include City Lodge, Reserve Bank, Exhibition Centre, ICC, The Workshop, The Marine and Royal Hotel.
- The annual budget 2015/16 for this precinct approximates R0.80 million.
The SB Precinct: (The area bordered by Rutherford, Gillespie, and Dr Pixley KaSema (West) Street and the OR Tambo Parade
- Situated in the South Beach area.
- The third precinct was formed in July 2002.
- Currently over 1000 ratepayers, including residential and commercial, as well as hotels and timeshare establishments such as South Beach Garden Court, Tropicana, Durban Spa and 10 South (previously Durban Sands).
- Crime monitoring and street cleaning/washing service.
- The annual 2015/16 budget for this precinct approximates R2.83 million.
As of July 2008, Precincts became known as Special Rating Areas (SRAs) and Service Agreements (section 67 of MFMA) were put in place by the eThekwini Municipality, which together with the Rates Policy sets out specific rules and regulations pertaining to the management of these areas.
Although the existing services provided by Metro Police, SAPS and DSW are invaluable, property owners identified visible gaps in the urban management space that required additional and individual care. This could only be achieved by a specialist team working closely with the property owners, the municipality, and various other partners. The function of the UIP is not just a top-up service of cleaners and security surveillance in the streets and lanes, but involves daily SAP and Metro Police contact, as well as regular contact with the other municipal service departments such as Roads and Storm-Water, Electrical, Parks, ETA, iTrump and many other role-players to ensure the different forms of snags are resolved. It also works vigorously to lobby support for issues of common concern to all ratepayers, and with its vast networking base helps to fast track services that will ordinarily be delayed by red tape and city protocol.