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AFUS shine the light on implementation of safer cities approach
​Juma Assiago

THE SECOND day of the Africa Forum for Urban Safety Learning Exchange Conference continued with Day one’s momentum, shinning the light on the outcomes of the implementation of the Safer Cities Approach since its inception of the Safer Cities Network 20 years ago.

The Safer Cities Programme in South Africa commenced in 1996, Johannesburg and a second pilot in Durban in 1998. The City Safety plans adopted by these two cities have provided differentiated institutional outcomes.

The delegates and speakers   interrogated and delve deep on the value and delivery of Safer Cities approach in Africa.

The Coordinator of the Safer Cities Programme at the UN Habitat Juma Assiago said that it was important for the cities to evaluate if the Safer Cities approach was implemented correctly and if it was yielding any positive results towards attaining the new urban agenda.

“African cities need to look at a broad definition of safety and how to improve on crime prevention.  We have come a long and we are proud of the fact that today the concept of Safer Cities is now institutionalized in the structures of local government structures in majority of the countries in Africa. We have a new phenomenal called the New Urban Agenda and it is poising a major challenge as how we improve prevention. It is therefore important that we lean towards the approach of people for cities not cities for people,” said Assiago.

He further explained that the SAFER CITIES Approach was not about policing but about managing the inadequacies presented in urban environments. “it is a multi-level governance of safety approach that clarifies the role of local government through the city plan for safety supported by the national framework, crime prevention and urban agenda,” he added.

The role of open spaces in enhancing safety in communities also came to fore.

The delegates and speakers vehemently agreed that if open spaces are turned into social spaces, crime level will be reduced drastically.

It is also important that we look at cities as laboratories of knowledge, learning facilitation, and support initiatives.

Bongumusa Zondo of eThekwini Municipality said that has a long-term plan that speaks to the fact that all who live, work, within the municipality must feel safe in their private and public spaces.

“The plan is that by 2020, violent crimes should be reduced by 90% and 75 % of the resident to feel safe in eThekwini.

The Municipality’s approach is that it digs deep to what are the factors of crime and advocate for a collaborative justice system. The effective policing, community empowerment and urban management has proved to effective,” Zondo concluded.

In Durban, the City Safety Plan was developed as part of the City’s Integrated Area Development Plan. Both strategies have been used as a source of reference for the development of a national framework on safer cities anchored under the Integrated Urban Development Policy.

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