The UIP Company
Always caring, always there !
The UIP Company is a non-profit organization. Established primarily in geographically defined areas, it delivers supplementary public services which improve social, environmental and economic conditions. The Company’s success is underscored by the many milestones it has achieved since its inception in July 2000, and its ongoing efforts toward revitalizing the Inner City.
Our reason for being ...
The past two decades have witnessed significant changes in urban governance and the development and maintenance of urban space, both locally and abroad. One of the most prominent changes has been the increasing, but highly selective privatisation of the development, securitisation and maintenance of those spaces valued by the private sector.
Throughout the world, governments are experiencing increasing problems with the maintenance and improvement of urban areas. South Africa has the added legacy of apartheid planning, which resulted in municipalities investing heavily in former townships and informal areas to address massive inequalities in terms of access to services and opportunities. Massive growth in urban populations coupled with domestic and international migration, most often of an irregular nature and of low-income migrants, with the inner city as their destination; resulted in both the need for housing and services and a dramatic increase in the demands on public resources.
Tasked with a whole new range of duties, local governments with far more tasks but not necessarily more funds, have been hard-pressed to meet their many old service provision tasks and live up to their novel development mandate. Slack job growth, deepening poverty, unemployment and homelessness coupled with poor town planning and inadequate by-law enforcement, caused a sharp increase in crime in these densely populated inner city areas. These conditions led to the movement of a variety of professionals and high street retailers, offices and entertainment facilities away from inner city to suburban and exurban locations.
Some people remaining in these inner city areas and those newly entering these spaces opted to take charge and ensure that they can stay on and improve these areas and even expand their businesses. This resulted in the advent and expansion of the Urban Improvement Precincts (UIP) Concept in South Africa and a growing set of public / private partnerships to jointly take on these tasks.
The term Urban Improvement Precincts (UIP) is now well established in South Africa’s urban regeneration and property vocabulary and represents the latest organizational response to the rapidly changing dynamics of Urban and Inner City areas over the past few decades. The concept of “Improvement Districts” originated in Canada in 1965 when retailers and property owners in cities decided to jointly take on the responsibility of paying for the development and improvement of pedestrian malls, streetscapes and enhancement of the inner city environment.
The concept itself goes under a variety of names such as Urban Improvement Precincts (UIP), Business Improvement Districts (BID) or City Improvement Districts (CID). While the names for the concept may vary, they are also indicative of the diverse application of the concept in different parts / districts of urban areas, notably residential, university, industrial and central business areas. And, while these areas often have a dominant land use or set of uses, the profile can also be highly diverse, as is generally the case in inner city areas.
In all cases the reasons for their establishment tend to be the inhibition of crime, grime and urban decline. By providing a mechanism devoted to the revitalisation and economic advancement of the area in which it functions, UIP enable the private sector to deliver services for inner city regeneration way beyond what the local authority could reasonably be expected to provide.
Urban Improvement Precincts (UIP) are distinguished by two factors, namely public financing and private management and share the following key concepts. They are privately directed activities, in a geographic area, providing supplementary services that are sanctioned by the public. UIP may be managed by an organisation that is either a public agency or, more often, a non-profit corporation. It is the responsibility of a board of directors whose membership is often dominated by business and commercial interests, reflecting those who pay the assessment.
UIP must consist of a defined ‘geographic area’ in which the majority of property owners and/or tenants agree to pay for pre-determined services to supplement those normally supplied by a Local Authority with the aim of enhancing the physical and social environments. It is important to note that the municipality continues to provide a pre-determined level of services in the specified area of the UIP. In South Africa, UIP are ratified by local and provincial authorities that must take into account their respective spatial development plans, and should, according to the Constitution of South Africa, ensure equal access to facilities and areas.
The public sanctions an UIP as it must first be permitted in terms of legislation and is thereafter agreed to by a majority of residents / property owners in a specified geographic area. It is furthermore approved either via a council resolution / local law or via said provincial / state legislation. In the case of South Africa, for instance, in order for any organisation to submit a proposal to a local authority for the inception of an UIP, at least 25 percent of the property owners must agree to the plan, while 51 percent of them must accept the final UIP Development Plan for it to be legally ratified.
The property owners and/or tenants determine the nature of the ‘supplementary services’ to be provided in an UIP based on the needs of the geographic area. UIP Members are in most cases free to determine the mix of services required; thus, the ‘mix’ of these service improvements will vary from one UIP to the next.
One of the primary reasons for their popularity is that UIP are a new and often steady source of non-government revenue to fund much-needed physical improvements, do maintenance and provide supplementary services. Other than purchasing supplementary services, UIP can finance capital improvements such as street furniture, greening, signage and special lighting beyond those services and improvements provided by the City.
Given that these UIP are generally created by provincial / state or local law, property owners and merchants have access to publicly-held information and are allowed to use the City’s tax collection powers to collect income. In most cases these funds are collected by the City and paid over in their entirety to the UIP. There is, however, no agreement on all aspects relating to these Precincts and opinion varies as to whether financial contributions made by property owners / tenants in such a Precinct should be voluntary or compulsory.
However; UIP where compulsory self-imposed taxes are levied are found to be far more successful than those that accept voluntary payment. Moreover, there is also ‘pragmatic value’ in a compulsory levy, as it provides greater predictability in terms of income and enables better planning with respect to the services offered by the UIP.
UIP afford businesses and property owners an opportunity to respond proactively and positively to shrinking State budgets by providing supplementary public services to mitigate declining levels of municipal service delivery. This is advantageous for a number of reasons. Firstly, they contribute to the cleanliness and safety of commercial districts.
Secondly, they promote care and collective concern among often self-centred private sector interests. Thirdly, they can assist in keeping government on its toes, with the State having to provide specified services of a particular level of quality in terms of a set service level agreement. Fourthly, UIP create jobs and provide job training to low-skilled workers.
Finally, they allow the municipality to focus its attention on other areas of the city. On the down side, local municipalities first often tend to lower their baseline services due to the perceived increase in supplementary services provided by UIP. Being geographically defined UIP may create or deepen space-based inequalities in service delivery.
UIP present an opportunity to develop the much vaunted governance model between the private and public sectors and enable a highly focused and flexible form of Urban Governance. As such they enable a constructive engagement and partnering process between and among the various parties, enabling the building of ‘social business capital’. The UIP Company comprises a board of directors and staff who have a common strategic vision and passion for the upliftment of the Inner City.
The UIP is governed by the Companies Act of 2008 and based on the Municipal Rates Policy of 2013/14, which makes provision for the establishment of UIP. The UIP Company’s Memorandum of Incorporation outlines specific responsibilities of its Board of Directors, allowing for transparency and accountability, giving property owners peace of mind that their contributions are used for the purposes intended.
UIP represent a concerted effort by businesses to change perceptions of inner-city areas, freeing revitalisation and renewal efforts from being restricted by limited public finances. As such they challenge the suburban areas, which have been attracting inner-city business with well-funded and organized private sector initiatives combining, in a managed environment, the diverse disciplines of crime prevention, maintenance, marketing, landscape architecture and urban design.
The last few decades have seen a growing global trend toward forms of public realm management that do not conform to an established division of roles, in which the state is the provider of services and both the market and civil society are the recipients of those services. The rationale driving this process has been linked to approaches to urban governance that advocate a reduced role for the state and the transfer of responsibilities to stakeholders outside the public sector and emphasize partnerships and collaboration in the provision of public goods and services.
The UIP has embraced this drive toward alternative forms of service provision and governance, which focuses on specific areas and the promotion of an increasing role for civil society in managing its own affairs via a comprehensive Urban Realm Management Structure working in concert with municipality.
UIP Company Management Team
Ebrahim is a conceptual and analytical commercial leader with strong business acumen, sound technical and analytical skills. He has an excellent record of leading and managing projects with 40 plus years of experience as a specialist in travel and tourism; driving corporate performance via transformation and as an innovative strategist supporting growth.
As a trusted advisor to various boards and executive teams, able to redesign operational blueprints to enhance commercial performance, he is an inspirational team leader with a track record of mentoring and developing future leaders. Ebrahim joined the UIP Board in 2014 and became Chairperson of the South Beach Precinct before being elected Chairperson of the UIP Board in September 2015, a position he holds to date.
Amar has been in the hotel industry for over 46 years, and recently retired as General Manager of Tsogo Sun Garden Court South Beach. He has returned to his passion and is now employed by Coastlands Hotel and Resort Group as General Manager. He started his career as an accountant, quickly moved up the ranks in Management of Hotels.
Amar is passionate about charity work and is actively involved with various community upliftment programmes. He was involved with the UIP for a number of years before joining the Board as a Director and now as Vice Chairman.
Michael van der Meulen
Michael is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and is the holder of a Masters in Town and Regional Planning with more than 26 years of project and programme management experience serving local and international private and public sector clients. Michael joined the UIP Board in 2021. He is also dedicated to Professional Community Service and serves as Board Member or Chairperson on the following NPCs: City Story, Vukukhanye Community Upliftment Initiatives, WNCP, St. Mary’s DSG, Kloof Estates Committee.
His diverse experience includes Enterprise Portfolio & Programme Management, Property Development Management, Urban Precinct Management, Strategic Planning, Built Environment Master Planning & Feasibility Studies , Statutory Planning, Infrastructure Master Planning, Infrastructure and Single Site Capital Projects, Municipal Property Rates and Rates Rebate Advisory Services, Management of Municipal General Valuation, Asset Management, Election Management, Demarcation, Transit Orientated Development, Housing. Corporate Social Development Investment.
An easy going articulate and well-presented legal professional who enjoys challenging and diverse roles, Sifiso joined the UIP Board in 2018. His academic qualifications include BA, LLB Law, Advanced Labour Law, and Legislative Drafting Certificate. Sifiso joined the Public Service in 1998 as the Labour Relations Officer in the Office of the Premier before moving to the Department of Finance as Senior Manager Human Resource Management & Development.
In November 2006, he moved to General Manager Corporate Services – KZN Department of Economic Development, before going into private practice at Sifiso Chili & Associates Attorneys in May 2015. He also served as Chairperson of the then Liquor Board, KZN Public Sector Lawyers Association, the Coordinating Bargaining Council for KZN, Municipal Tender Appeals Tribunal for UMgungundlovu and is the current Chairperson of the Municipal Tender Appeals Tribunal for Harry Gwala District Municipality.
Yvonne has been the General Manager of the UIP Company for the last 6 years. She has been a resident of Durban for more than 30 years. She is passionate about the City. For the past 29 years Yvonne has been involved in many crime fighting initiatives.
She chaired the Point Community Police Forum and the Durban Central Cluster CPF for many years. Yvonne was a member of the uShaka Marine World Management team responsible HOD for departments like Safety and Security, CCTV, Cleaning, Medical Services, Parking and Landscaping. She was then promoted to Facilities Manager. Yvonne has vast experience and an excellent relationship with all Municipal Departments and Management.6
Ingrid joined the team as Administrative Assistant on 1 October 2015 and provides valuable administrative support to the General Manager with the daily running of the office. Ingrid moved to Durban three years ago, after spending over 30 years in Johannesburg, working mainly in sales. “Once you move to Durban, there’s no going back. I simply love it here.”
“To be given this opportunity to work and make a difference in the city is an added bonus, and I am eager to get involved.” Ingrid is a hands-on go getter and will not be office bound, but will be doing regular walkabouts in the city to identify and fix problems. She is an avid gardener, who loves reading and spending time with her family.
Faatima joined the UIP Company in September 2016 and comes with five years professional experience in office management and administration; optimizing productivity, efficiency, service quality and delivery across various environments. Faatima is responsible for a wide range of duties, from handling ratepayer queries, service delivery issues and staff matters to checking service provider reports, budget expenditure and maintaining the office in good shape.
A valuable member of the UIP Team, Faatima has proved to be a highly dependable, ethical and reliable support specialist and leader who blends advanced organizational, technical and business acumen. Native to Durban and passionate about community work, she also holds a Bachelor of Medical Science Degree, majoring in Anatomy and Microbiology.
UIP Service Providers
Shanela Environmental Management is an accredited Level 3 B-BBEE Company established in 1997. Based in Durban, Kwazulu Natal Shanela has been the UIP Company’s preferred service provider of Cleaning and Environmental services since 2016, a position it proudly maintains to date. Shanela is 74 percent black owned with our staff trust holding a 25 percent share in the company. Our focus is on the supply of Road Sweepers and we also offer sweeping of smaller precincts on a manual basis.
In addition to cleaning the South Beach and Central Business District Precincts, Shanela is the local and sub – Saharan sales agent for Roots Road Sweepers. Shanela has partnered with the first company to manufacture truck mounted road sweepers in Southern Africa with the manufacturing base in Cape Town. They also provide a high speed Runway sweeper and can deliver to any customer in sub-Saharan Africa while providing specialist training and accreditation for operators of these sweepers.
Our Security is a PSIRA accredited, South African Owned, Black Empowered Company which has transformed into one of South Africa’s most efficient Security Companies through it’s commitment to service excellence.
Our reputation as one of South Africa’s most efficient security service providers has been achieved through our continued provision of superior service delivery and customised implementations.
UIP security is a true reflection of the new South African ideal where diverse personnel combine their skills to provide maximum value for our clients. Our commitment to service excellence has led to the success and rapid growth of the company and enables us to consistently meet and exceed client expectations.