The history of Century city

the story of how it started

The site had previously been owned by a listed company, Ilco Homes which had started developing entry level housing on a neighbouring site to the north separated by a railway line from what is now known as Century City. After Ilco ran into financial difficulties its bankers looked for a white knight and in stepped another Cape Town developer, Monex, headed up by the visionary Martin Wragge.

Wragge realised that the only chance of salvation was to rezone the land from residential to mixed use as the immense amount of infrastructure required could not be sustained by housing alone.

With the rezoning and basket of commercial, residential, retail and leisure rights in place, the first sods were turned in 1997. At the time, many in the industry thought the Century City plan was overly ambitious and indeed unattainable.

The first couple of years were tough going.

The recession was biting and corporates were slow to be convinced of Century City’s potential. Gradually that began to change with big name corporates such as PricewaterHouseCoopers, Vodacom, the Louis Group, SAPS, Unisys and Business Connexion taking the pioneering plunge.

Again the sceptics were out in full force with many predicting the shopping centre would be a White Elephant.

It is no secret Ratanga Junction was overcapitalised for the South African market at the time and the heavy losses incurred in the early years eventually lead to the demise of Monex.

While Ratanga initially ailed, the ride park was operated successfully on a seasonal basis with the popular function facilities operating all year round for 19 years before closing down on the 1st May 2018. Canal Walk on the other hand rallied from inception and has continued to grow into one of the most successful shopping centres in the country.

And as with Tyger Valley shopping centre, which Wragge had also developed a decade or so earlier, Canal Walk has proven to be a major catalyst for development in the immediate vicinity with offices and residential developments springing up.

In 2004 the remaining undeveloped land and associated rights were acquired by the Rabie Property Group, one of the country’s largest and most successful property developers.

Century City has development rights totalling more than 1,25 million square metres of bulk and at the time Rabie took over the built form stood at around 255 000 square metres.

The timing could not have been better, as it was just at the start of an economic upturn. A significant amount of development has taken place over the past decade with just over one million square metres of bulk currently built or earmarked for development and total investment standing at more than R21billion.

Safety and Security

While at this stage we unfortunately can’t claim to be a 100% crime-free zone, we do pride ourselves on our comparatively low crime statistics which is in no small part a result of the zero-tolerance approach to crime that has been adopted since Century City’s inception.

In addition, the success rate in apprehending those that commit crimes in Century City is well above the norm. Security at Century City works on a three-tier system. Firstly, the Century City Property Owners’ Association (CCPOA) is responsible for security in the common areas or in other words, the public realm.

The commercial property owners and the Body Corporates and Home Owners’ Associations of residential complexes are responsible for the security of their developments while the third tier of security are individual property owners who are responsible for the security of their units. As part of Century City’s expanded & integrated security solution preferred third part security service providers provides commercial and residential property owners and tenants a single dynamic a cost effective 24/7 security solution that includes CCTV monitoring-by-exception, intruder detection, alarm monitoring and armed response, all co-ordinated from the Century City Security Operations Centre.

The strategy of combining the use of cutting-edge technology with highly visible policing and rapid emergency response has proven very successful in curbing crime at Century City.

A fibre-based CCTV surveillance system with a network of dome and fixed cameras cover the gateway entrances and common areas. More than 145 cameras are linked to digital video recorders in the centralised control centre which is manned 24 hours a day by a highly trained team of security officials ready to respond to any situation.

The state-of- the-art security operations centre, which is the nerve centre of Century City, is in direct control with SAPS and Council emergency services as well as with other security officers operating in Century City.

The entire perimeter of Century City is walled or fenced, and access is monitored through manned security control points at all gateway entrances which is supported by an LPR (Licence Place Recognition System) that alert the Century City Security Operations Centre of any suspicious vehicle that enters the precinct. In addition, access to certain precincts within Century City is boom controlled.

Visible policing of the site is by three easily identifiable Century City branded vehicles, together with bicycle and foot patrols. We also have a very close relationship with the local SAPS and have two dedicated City Traffic Officers working with our response team.

The CCPOA security personnel, who are normally first at the scene of an emergency incident, are trained to provide emergency first aid and a fire fighting response as well as traffic control until such time as the City emergency services can get there.

In addition Century City has a Disaster Management Plan (DMP) which will be implemented immediately if a major event occurs. Regular audits are undertaken to ensure that individual property owners’ DMP, including building evacuation plans, are aligned and complement the Century City DMP.

Security Contact Number: +27 21 202 1000


Embracing the principles of new urbanism, Century City is a 250ha mixed-use development in Cape Town combining office, retail, residential, leisure and environmental components in an integrated urban environment.

The CCPOA and many of its major Stakeholders are continually working at reducing their carbon footprint within Century City. To this end there are a number of measures the CCPOA has undertaken.

As a development, Century City offers all the conventional services such as bulk electrical, water, irrigation and waste water infrastructure, road and pedestrian access, communal-use areas and landscaping. However, in line with the aims to become a sustainable settlement, the following is also offered:

– Public and Environmental amenities within close proximity to one another

– Ease of access to public transport

– Water Infrastructure with lower embodied environmental impact

– Integration of sensitive ecological system into an urban environment

– Planning of a comprehensive Integrated Waste Management Plan for the whole of Century City