TSHWANE executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said yesterday Pretoria's city centre needed to be cleared of waste and crime before it could seriously stake a claim as an investment destination for property developers.

Pretoria and Midrand are seen to lag behind in inner-city regeneration. Johannesburg has led the way with the establishment of areas such as Newtown, as well as with cleaning up parts of Berea and Yeoville.

But in May, Mr Ramokgopa announced plans to develop a megacity in Midrand and to give Pretoria and Centurion a facelift.

He also announced plans for what would be one of the world's tallest buildings, to be built in Centurion. The proposed Centurion Symbio-City development would be 447m tall, with 110 floors. It would be Africa's tallest structure and taller than New York's Empire State Building.

Mr Ramokgopa yesterday said he would create a long-term strategy, called Tshwane 2055, to overcome "anarchy" in the city.

"It's going to be a very painful exercise and there will be casualties. People are used to the status quo and we are tampering with that status quo. Naturally, people respond by resisting."

The city recently faced complaints from informal workers, especially hawkers, whom the city had wanted to move from the central business district.

Yesterday, Tshwane Hawkers Association chairman Shoes Maloka said the body was planning a protest march in the city this week. And the Schubart Park Residents Committee said it had scheduled a protest march on Thursday next week.

Mr Ramokgopa said he was prepared to move hawkers as he looked for space for businesses.

"They have the right to march and we (will) give them the necessary permits to march. They should march in a manner that is consistent with the law; we will take the pain.

"We want to bring life into the inner city. Part of the problem we are dealing with is that the city goes to sleep at six in the evening. We want to have some residential character - where people can wine and dine," he said.

The Tshwane Hawkers Association said the municipality's efforts to regulate hawkers had left some young people with no means of income, and as a result they had resorted to crime.

"Many young people have now abandoned the honest business of selling. Some have resorted to crime while others spend days gambling around the city to eke (out) a living," Mr Maloka said.

With Sapa