The Honourable Minister Ms Thembisile Nkadimeng
The Premier for KwaZulu-Natal – Honourable Ms Nomusa Dube Ncube
The President of SALGA – Councillor Bheki Stofile
Our international leadership
Brazil – Mr Jader Barbalho Filho- The Minister of Cities (TBC)
Russia – Mr Alexander Lomakin – First Deputy Minister
India – Mr Hardeep S. Puri – Honourable Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (TBC)
China – Mr Qin Haixiang – Vice Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development
Deputy Minister for Traditional Affairs: Zolile Burns-Ncamashe;
The Chairperson, National House of Traditional & Khoi-San Leaders, Kgosi TM Seathlolo;
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Urbanisation of our planet is at greatest momentum within the BRICS countries. Representing a significant percentage of the global population means increasing pressure for urban areas to provide critical access to infrastructure, and economic and housing opportunities. Developing urban areas sustainability, inclusively, equitably and productively is the challenge for all conference attendees and we look forward to being inspired by shared innovations between us as collaborators and partners.
As such we are pleased to convene our honourable BRICS fellow member states in the City of eThekwini, South Africa as we together forge new pathways for better urban futures for all. We invite you to listen and learn from one another, look at opportunities to partner, share resources and test new practices within our own contexts as global actors shaping urbanisation.
In the South African context, we have witnessed extensive urbanisation, with close to 70% of our population living in Cities and Towns. In the historic context of colonialism and apartheid which denied access to urban life for the majority of South Africans, innovations to deliver substantive infrastructure, affordable housing, access to services and economic opportunities have been critical in the work of spatial transformation.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs plays a key role in driving National Urban Policies, legislation and frameworks guiding territorial development. As the custodian of the Integrated Urban Development Framework and Small-Town Regeneration strategy, the department is working with all of the government, playing a cooperative role to ensure the prioritisation of practices, approaches and resources of urbanisation. These policies guide and support the work of Cities and Towns as the drivers of inclusive urban growth and growth Nationally. This forum allows all participants to reflect on the processes of urbanisation and ensure that residents, economies and environments are benefiting from the Urban dividend.
With this in mind, The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is pleased as the Country convenor to offer the opening address for this auspicious occasion.
As such it is a great honour to introduce our Honourable Minister Thembi Nkadimeng. Minister Nkadimeng has played a critical role in the development of a democratic South Africa. Prior to being appointed honourable minister, she has extensive experience working in local government at the coal face of shaping Towns and Cities, as the former Executive Mayor of Polokwane Municipality, and as President of SALGA from 2019 to 2021. This experience has enabled her to strategically support all actors in more sustainable and inclusive urbanisation. She serves as a voice of inspiration locally and globally in urbanisation.
So with this, I am pleased to welcome Honourable Minister Thembi Nkadimeng