The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) will join other government spheres and various sectors at the South African Urban Conference which is set to kick off an eThekwini Urban Week from 30 October to 3 November 2017.
The urban week celebration events will take place at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban and feature:
- South African Urban Conference #UrbanConf2017 – 30 October 2017 (Day one)
- World Cities Day ((#WCD) – 31 October 2017 (Day two)
- Africa Forum for Urban Safety (#AFUS) – 1 to 3 November 2017 (Day three –five)
Convened under the theme – Liveable, Safe and Resilient Cities: Implementing SA’s Urban Agenda, the milestone conference will bring together experts; practitioners; and government in a dialogue about the strides that have been made since the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) was adopted by the government Cabinet in April 2016.
This includes challenges that still exist and the mitigations in place to ensure that the country remains on course to achieve its key objectives. South Africa shares the same challenges that face other cities in the continent such as spatial fragmentation due to colonial planning systems and apartheid planning policies in the case of South Africa.
To this effect, CoGTA Minister Des van Rooyen welcomes Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba’s emphasis on the importance of IUDF in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement of 25 October 2017.Indeed South Africa is an urbanising very fast with over 70 per cent of households expected to live in urban areas by 2030.
As Minister Gigaba alluded, urbanisation has been associated with a reduction in absolute levels of poverty and rising prosperity. But due to the massive inequalities and social legacy of Apartheid, South Africa is at risk of missing the benefits of this urban revolution.
Government is on course to position cities and towns as the engines of future economic growth. In order to do so, it has embarked on the programme to radically transform the spatial footprint of urban areas and get rid of the distorted, inefficient and highly unequal spatial legacy of Apartheid in line with the NDP.
The IUDF marks a new deal for South African cities and towns and sets out the policy framework for transforming and restructuring the country’s urban spaces, guided by the vision of creating “liveable, safe, resource efficient cities and towns that are socially integrated, economically inclusive and globally competitive, where residents actively participate in urban life.”
Already, the Cities Support Programme is under implementation in metropolitan municipalities and this will be scaled up from 2018. A complementary programme for secondary cities has also been prepared for rollout in Polokwane and uMhlatuze from 2018. Similar initiatives are also under development for the regeneration of small towns.
The eThekwini Urban Week events will therefore provide a platform for learning and knowledge exchange among multiple urban government actors on issues such as the implementation of the urban agenda and what it means for them in their own government, private, NGO or community environments.
The profiling of the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) – which is South Africa’s national urban policy – will inform the development of the Implementation Framework for the New Urban Agenda, adopted at Habitat III in October 2016 by over 150 countries globally.
This implementation framework will reflect and frame the localised commitments; and adopt country-specific priorities such as government-wide upscaling and partner coordination. This will improve joint planning and investments in municipal spaces. It is hoped that through the upscaling of targeted and integrated infrastructure provision, ‘spatial compacts’ can be reached between multiple players.
Collaboration between partners means we can contribute to creating sustainable environments with opportunities for economic growth across the continuum of South African metros, intermediary cities, smaller towns and villages. Of importance is that a number of role players and departments are at work implementing all the nine policy levers which include integrated transport and human settlements; empowered communities; and integrated planning.
This conference will therefore provide an opportunity to assess the key IUDF policy drivers for sustainable urban development, interpret and plan for action based upon the key policy implementation areas.
The concept of rural-urban interdependency recognises a need for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to urban development that responds to the characteristics, demographics and socio-economic profiles of both more urban and more rural environments.
Other IUDF’ cross-cutting’ issues include building urban resilience – involving the management of disaster risk reduction and mitigation interventions in the planning and management of urban areas – and urban safety, particularly safety in public spaces.
These are essential ingredients for creating liveable, safe, inclusive and prosperous urban areas – the visions of both SDG Goal 11 and the IUDF. Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Andries Nel has called for leadership and strong political will from various levels of government, labour, business, and citizens to ensure a highly coordinated, systematic, collaborative and people-centered approach.
CoGTA Head of Communication
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