30 October 2017
South African Urban Conference Unpacks Strategies to Deal with Rapid Urbanisation
South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past has left the country’s urban areas with a distinctive spatial legacy of racial segregation, low densities, sprawling suburbs and location of most urban poor on the periphery of cities. Despite a range of legislation and instruments introduced since 1994 with the aim of spatial transformation, this spatial reality remains. These were the sentiments echoed by various speakers at the South African Urban Conference hosted on Monday, 30 October 2017 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
In an effort to find solutions and close the gap, eThekwini Municipality together with the South African Cities Network (SACN), Departments of Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and South Africa’s Local Government Association (SALGA) hosted the conference in attempt to address the issues around urbanisation, work done in South African cities and remedial methods to be introduced and implemented.
Opening the conference, Mayor Zandile Gumede said that eThekwini Municipality was committed to sustainable urbanisation as per the strategic goals of the National Development Plan, Integrated Urban Development Framework and many other related policy imperatives. Mayor Gumede listed some of the City’s key projects which seek to promote a connected and compact city. These include the Go! Durban Integrated Transport Project, Durban Metropolitan Open Space System, Cornubia Housing and Mixed Use Development Project and the households and municipal buildings photovoltaic installations projects.
Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Hon. Andries Nel emphasized the need for all sectors to collaborate their efforts in managing sustainable urbanisation. “We must see implementation as an alliance-based activity. We need partners, donors, the private sector, civil society, investors, communities, research bodies and think-tanks, technical specialists and many more parties in the development of the New Urban Agenda.”
Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Hon. Zou Kota-Fredericks said that South Africa is already 61% urbanised and the trend was rapidly accelerating. She added that projections show that by 2030 three quarters of the South African population will already be living in urban areas.
“In recognition of the pressure of urbanization and the urgent need to respond to it, the South African Government has developed the urban policy and urban agenda, which we call the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF). The extensive and collaborative process of developing the IUDF happened in concert with our international engagement on the New Urban Agenda, and the two are thus very well aligned.
The IUDF also responds to our National Development Plan to 2030, and to the Sustainable Development Goals. This makes our life easier, to some extent, as we move to implement the IUDF, and thus respond to the National Development Plan, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Some of the topics discussed at the conference are Inclusive Growth, Spatial Integration, Inclusion and Access and Effective Governance.
Tomorrow, 31 October 2017, eThekwini Urban Week will continue with the celebration of World Cities Day under the theme, “Innovative Governance. Open Cities”. The week-long programme will end off with the African Forum on Urban Safety (AFUS) Learning Exchange scheduled for 01-03 November 2017.
Media Inquiries and Interviews:
Department of Human Settlements: Teboho Montse 082 886 6721
Department of Cooperative Governance: Legadima Leso 083 378 9495
South African Local Government Association: Tahir Sema 082 940 3403
eThekwini Municipality: Vuyo Ndlovu 073 250 5704
South African Cities Network: Mayleen Vincent 082 488 0484
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