Newsletter #5 - Dec 2017

As the year comes to a close, we would like to take the opportunity to touch base with you, the community, with a quick overview of 2017.


Without a doubt, the Precinct Plan has taken up most of our time and we thank all the residents who participated in the consultation process.

Melville resident Paul Mills kindly recorded these workshops and meetings, they can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

On 24 November 2017, Gibb Engineering & Architecture -consultants to the City’s Development Agency- held a public meeting to present their draft proposal of the Melville Precinct Plan. A copy of the draft plan is available at

The Melville Residents’ Association's comments on the PP draft plan can be downloaded from:

For more information regarding the Melville Precinct Plan, click here. We will continue to keep you informed on this matter.

We made great headway with illegal businesses and operations in our area. Thank you to all our volunteers for your continuous efforts with the  mammoth task of ensuring that we are up to date with what is going on and where action needs to be taken.

The Melville pavements competition was a big success and a lot of pavements in Melville have been substantially upgraded as we approached the judging. Thanks to all who entered the competition. Judging took place on Sunday 3 December and results will be announced on our Facebook Page early January 2018.

Stay in-touch with the latest news and events via our Website and follow our Facebook page. We love to hear from you, talk to us via or any of our social media channels.

We look forward to a great 2018 with even further advancements in the way we assist and work with the community to ensure the Melville residents' interests and needs are being further advanced.

Wishing you and your family a joyful, bright, healthy, prosperous and happiest new year ahead! Happy 2018 #MyMelville

Melville Residents' Association Committee

A Vision for Melville

The Melville community has approved a vision for the suburb.

What we want from Melville

A progressive, well-maintained, safe and diverse suburb which welcomes visitors, provides a home for residents and students, and is a stable working environment for responsible small businesses.


What we are working for:

  • Pride and participation
    • Encourage residents and businesses to get involved in local initiatives to protect and improve Melville.


  • Safety and security
    • Working with the Melville Security Initiative,
    • Coordinating the efforts of contracted safety companies,
    • Encouraging residents and businesses to participate in security initiatives,
    • Supporting the efforts of the SA Police Services (SAPS).


  • Protecting Melville’s heritage
    • Encouraging residents and businesses to preserve Melville’s architectural heritage and culture,
    • Supporting and encouraging appropriate local and national government initiatives,
    • Monitoring and challenging inappropriate development plans and illegal land use,
    • Ensuring consultation with residents and businesses.


  • Working to keep the Melville environment clean and well maintained
    • Encouraging residents and businesses to share responsibility for their environment,
    • Monitoring the performance of city authorities and reporting faults and infringements.


  • Recognising our local and national political, social and economic circumstances
    • Supporting and promoting a compassionate and progressive response to challenges such as homelessness, poverty and inequality,
    • Working with the authorities, churches, NGOs, local business and residents to find solutions which sustainably address the needs of vulnerable people – while also protecting the interests of residents.



  • Protecting the environment
    • Encouraging residents and businesses to be environmentally responsible,
    • Educating people about recycling initiatives, reduced use of water and renewable energy options.


  • Transport
    • Encouraging greater availability of public transport, car-sharing, electric vehicle infrastructure, cycling lanes and pedestrian access.


  • Hold the authorities to account
    • Build and maintain good working relationships with city officials,
    • Monitor the performance of government agencies such as City Power, Joburg Water, Johannesburg Roads Agency.


This is a living and evolving document which aims to guide what we DO want for Melville. We continue to welcome comments -

MRA Portfolio Feedback


Melville is also participating in Mayor Herman Mashaba's A Re Sebetseng initiative and we hope to gain even more momentum next year.


The idea is to take ownership of our suburb by assisting with the cleaning of Melville. It takes place on the last Saturday of every month and throughout Johannesburg. It is really a great initiative and a way to meet your neighbours. 


Thank you to Willem & Cornel of Sotherby's Realty together with Leon Pretorius owner of The Countess for their contributions with A Re Sebetseng.


We received 13 applications to the MRA this year to assist with PHRAG permits to either demolish or renovate buildings older than 60 years or with Heritage value; a mixture of applications for both residential and business properties. Thank you to our residents for complying with the Heritage Resources Act.


The portfolio works closely with the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. Gently reminder  - if your property has Heritage value and/or is older than 60 years, a PHRAG permit needs to be obtained before any works are carried out.


Non-compliance can lead to severe fines and/or a criminal record. The MRA's Heritage Subcommittee, will gladly assist with any queries.

Cleaning of Main Road

Aimee Nel and her team continue to clean Main Road twice a week. Lately they have been removing weeds ie. the old Post Office (cnr 1st), the new flower bed they made at 5th Avenue and across the church in 4th Avenue.


They currently need funds to buy weed killer in order to avoid repeating the same back breaking work over and over again, also in need of some new tools as they have worked the old ones to death. If you are able to help with donations, please contact us. 

Thank you to the following businesses that contribute to the main road clean-up initiative:

  • Willem & Cornel - Sotherby's Realty
  • Melville Postnet
  • Antique Bathrooms
  • MRA


We urge other Main rd businesses to join in and take Main Rd back! Let's make this happen.

Aimee & Duzi, we Thank You!


The liquor subcommittee (supported by other members of the Exco) attended to a number of applications for different licences, transfers of existing licences and then also illegal operations outside of the parameters of either existing licences or licences in the (alleged) process of transfer.

Currently there are 28 venues selling liquor in Melville (including 2 liquor stores) – quite high for a mainly residential neighbourhood.  The focus was and will remain on the venues involved in illegal trading and illegal / unlicenced activities at the venues selling liquor, e.g. providing entertainment without the necessary licence; operating a nightclub in contravention of the zoning of the premises; selling liquor without the completion of the transfer of a licence; operating a restaurant on premises with a residential zoning; drinking liquor outside the premises with an “On Consumption Liquor Licence”.  In this regard, the MRA works with the Councillor (Bridget Steer), the City of Joburg, SAPS and the Gauteng Liquor Board (GLB) as far as possible.

A major victory was the closing of Ballerz in Main Road during November after months of illegal trading and operations causing disruption and disturbance to that part of the neighbourhood.  Support from the City and the Councillor in this process is appreciated. Their involvement was crucial as the venue was not zoned for operating a nightclub. The GLB was still in process of considering the restaurant liquor licence transfer which was ongoing for months.

Currently the following venues don’t have liquor licences: Syp Wine (7th Street), BaalBek (4th Avenue), Esbayeni (Main Road), Glory (3rd Avenue) and Ideal Café (4th Ave).

If there are transfer applications lodged, it has not been approved and thus the trading is illegal. Objections have been lodged with the GLB or are being prepared.

A number of other activities are being investigated and should you be aware of any illegal trading in liquor, do not hesitate to contact the MRA Liquor Portfolio.


As with liquor trading, land use remains a challenge.

The matters reported ranged from illegal structures being erected, illegal communes being operated, a restaurant and a catering business being operated on premises zoned for residential purposes to a night club run on premises not zoned for entertainment.

All the matters were reported to the City of Joburg and as mentioned above their attention assisted with the moving away of Ballerz.  It remains however a challenge and lengthy process and it is hoped that should the Municipal Courts be reintroduced, it might assist in resolving some of the matters more speedily.



After several administration issues with MidCity, including the issues with the January 2017 debit order run, the directors of the MSI decided to move the administration of the initiative to Beagle Watch effective August 2017.

At the same time it was decided, with the closer relationship between the MRA and MSI, that all members of the MSI would have MRA membership included in their MSI membership.

We hope to see both of these initiatives increase the effectiveness of both the MRA and the MSI in 2018. |

MRA Subcommittee Feedback


It’s been quite a trip from vocal opponent of 27 Boxes to ardent supporter. I would still argue nothing should have replaced Faan Smit Park but we are way down the road and the white elephant that residents despaired about has been transformed. Certainly, we aren’t out of the woods yet and 27 Boxes will only be a real success story when reinvention is complete and the people of Melville use it as it is now designed.


I joined the MRA committee a while back with the express intention of keeping an eye on what was going on and motivating to get involved with management, who had adopted a closed door policy. But then something changed. Gustav Holtzhausen was appointed CEO of Citiq, the company that owns the development.


He talked to everyone concerned – to the tenants, to us the representatives of the residents and to people who had ideas about how to rescue 27 Boxes. More importantly he listened.


Gustav made it no secret Citiq wanted to sell 27 Boxes but he recognised it first had to become a place worth buying. Leon Pretorius, owner of The Countess, put his hand up to manage a turnaround process.


Gustav also brought in consultants Brian Green and Mark Batchelor of 44 Stanley, a nearby retail success story, and a plan to reinvent 27 Boxes got underway. It seemed like an age before the process began but it did and on November 17, the management team welcomed members of the media to a long table dinner at the new 27 Boxes.


It was a low-key event but comments were positive and the food catered by restaurants at the centre got the thumbs’ up.


The following day with cooperative weather, the playground was officially opened. It was the boost 27 Boxes needed to showcase the exciting children’s activities at the centre. Tinker is a supervised art and expression centre; Kidchen is a school for young wannabe master chefs and the playground is the cherry on the top in a suburb that didn’t previously cater a great deal for children’s entertainment.


While the kids threw balls into the water feature, played in the sandpit, crawled through the castle and rode their little plastic bikes down the winding ramp, moms and dads chatted to neighbours and new friends and celebrated the very essence of a modern recreation area on their doorstep.


Hot musicians played cool music and judging from the smiles on everyone’s faces, Melville – specifically, 27 Boxes - was suddenly a jolly nice place to be again.


It helps that the ugly duckling has emerged as a stylish addition to the Melville landscape, complete with a park filled with Euphorbia trees and indigenous plants on the periphery of the centre.


Phase One is complete and the next steps will soon be underway, including balancing the mix of shops – in a way, more important than anything this far. The Baker Brothers are a class act but more such outlets for the selective shopper are needed to make 27 Boxes a must-do daily activity. My own wish list includes quality boutique stores like a fresh-fish shop, an organic butcher, a spaza shop, a hardware store, a good wine shop and of course the long-promised garden nursery. And the fresh veg shop needs to up its game if it is to be a convenience.


These are some of the extras that will keep us residents going back for more. I would also argue for some heaters or a warm room where the market can decamp in winter or on rainy Wednesday nights.


I would love to have ended this email in the belief that my work is done, but 27 Boxes isn’t quite there yet.


What happens next year will determine once and for all whether 27 Boxes will become a well-supported Melville community centre as envisaged by the change agents. Only once that is certain and once it is clear that Melville residents have embraced 27 Boxes, will the MRA watchdog function cease to be required.  - Suzanne Brenner

Thank you to Councillor Bridget Steer for her continuous support and involvement in Melville! She is actively involved in many residents' queries and is always willing to help.

Service delivery and communication have definitely improved and it is a great pleasure working with her.

Contact Details


Mobile: +27 83 604 0404 (Text / WhatsApp)

Melville Koppies News

Melville residents are blessed to have a prime, natural, green spot within easy walking distance of many homes. Alternatively, if you want to drive, safe parking is available opposite the Puma Garage or in Kloof Road off 7th Avenue.

It is pleasing to see walkers, walkers with socialised dogs, the occasional runner and families enjoying Melville Koppies EAST, which is open daily from dawn to dusk – and free! A daily dose of walking and enjoying the panoramic views is music for the soul.

To learn more about the incredible cultural and natural wealth of the Koppies, join one of the Sunday guided tours (usually two per month) on Melville Koppies CENTRAL. Details of these are available on (see calendar/map).

If you want to go for a long 10km hike across all three section of the Koppies, join the Sunday organised hikes. There are usually two every month and they leave from the car park of Marks Park Sports Club at 8h30 sharp. The website has details.

Our Facebook Page is an ongoing album of pictorial news.

The Koppies are in immaculate condition, thanks to the full-time Conservation Team employed and supervised by the volunteer Melville Koppies Management Committee, part of the Friends of Melville Koppies. The monthly R20 000 funding needed for the Conservation Team and Sunday security is derived from private donations and the organised Sunday events and special/school groups.

Volunteers are always needed to help with conservation (a fancy name for weeding), hiking, guiding, fund raising and publicity. Please contact us if you’d like to make a commitment.

Enjoy the festive season on Melville’s own ‘Table Mountain’


Wendy Carstens | 011 482 4797 |

A word from our neighbours..

The Westdene-Sophiatown Residents Association (WSRA) launched in June 2017. This has been an exceptionally great year for the WSRA with so many goals reached.

We started off and identified some huge challenges that we needed to address and took on the tasks one by one. With a committed group of volunteers we made a difference and impact in the area.

In 2017 the WSRA achieved the following:

Building control and Land use management:

Through a relentless process and pressure throughout the are we were successful in engaging council on various issues of land use management and building control issues from illegal building, illegal communes as well as objections to new applications that was dealt with.

So far since we started the process 6 months ago:

  • there has been 27 illegal communes that has closed down.
  • 4 illegal building sites/completed building has been referred to the municipal court roll to appear early in 2018.
  • 2 illegal communes/slums has been referred to municipal court to appear early in 2018.
  • Rates and taxes penalties has been instated on over 30 properties not complying with council processes.
  • We had numerous applications this year for new communes, liquor licenses and rezoning applications and we have had close to 560 objections that was completed and submitted to council.
  • We have exposed suspicious activity on transactions on 11 properties so far and the city is currently investigating 4 of them that we have referred to the department of General Sibiya.


Community Development

  • We successfully co-hosted our first talent show this year and planning has already begun for the next one.
  • We managed to launch a veggie garden at the Westdene recreation centre and our first batch of food has already come up. This veggie garden will be formalised in 2018 with the city joining hands to train people on urban farming using our veggie garden.
  • We hosted our first community market in December 2017 and this initiative will be expanded in 2018.

Community development portfolio has had numerous social projects including a sanitary pad drive. Success was the key for this portfolio in 2017.


Environmental Portfolio

We have successfully started the process to adopt 2 parks and the koppies in Sophiatown. This will be finalised early 2018 and positive changes will come as soon as the final papers are received.


Economic Development

We had our first business forum as well and what an amazing turnout of business owners, students and entrepreneurs. Following this first business forum we can report back that we managed to help student graduade that finished last year establish a successful business and they have done and delivered their first work within 60 days of our first business forum.

This was indeed a great year for the WSRA.

The above is just a small extract of what has been done and although there has been many more successes and positives that came out of 2017 we know and look forward to 2018 to make Sophiatown and Westdene even better.


A quick glimpse at 2018:

  • Formal adoption of green spaces
  • Formalising and job creation from veggie garden
  • Soccer tournament
  • Night Markets
  • Business forum expansion
  • Investment of business into the area
  • Land use management committee to be launched
  • Declaring both suburbs as heritage suburbs
  • Launching of a joint residents association forum for Johannesburg west and surrounding areas around us. Unity is strength , and strength is victory.


We are excited about the year ahead and the new friends and residents we will get to engage and help build a safe, clean and economically viable area.

Have a blessed and safe 2018

Dauw Steyn
Westdene-Sophiatown Resident Association/
Ward Committee(Public Safety)

The Johannesburg Public Safety Department is appealing to residents to welcome the New Year in a responsible manner.

It says fireworks are not allowed to be ignited near animals, old age homes and hospitals, for which failing to do so a R1000 fine will be issued.

The department says firework displays are also prohibited to be held on agricultural holdings and near petrol stations for which the fine is R1500.

It says anyone who ignores these by-laws will face the full might of the law with the jmpd being on high alert this weekend.

Joburg Metro Police Department’s Wayne Minnaar says, “Fireworks maybe ignited on New Year Eve from 11 pm to 1 am and on New Year’s Day from 7 pm to 10 pm. Igniting of fireworks outside of the permitted times, there’s a fine of R500 and the public can call the JMPD or EMS on 10177.

Melville Residents' Association

Melville, Johannesburg

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