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20 Years of Freedom and Democracy
South Africa aiming for open cities
​Councillor Xolani Sotashe, Mayor Zandile Gumede, Deputy
Minister of Cooperative Governance Adries Nel, Deputy
Minister of Human Settlement Zou Kota-Fredericks,
President of the South African Local Government Association
and United Cities and Local Government Parks Tau and
Director of External Relations at the United Nations Habitat
Christine Musisi during the commemoration of the World
Cities Day.

Picture: Simphiwe Dlamini.
The Director of External Relations at the United Nations Habitat Christine Musisi has heaped praises on South Africa for being two steps ahead of many countries towards the attainment of the New Urban Agenda during the commemoration of the World Cities Day that was held at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, 31 October.

In 2013, United Nations General Assembly designated the 31st of October as World Cities Day. The international celebration and initiative aims to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation and to push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization; contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

Musisi said that it is only after a year of the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III Conference in Quito and South Africa is already moving towards localising the New Urban Agenda and hosting the World Cities Day. “This year’s theme is Innovative Governance, Open Cities to highlight the important role of urbanisation as a source of global development and social inclusion. We are proud of the fact that South Africa is already driving home with unpacking the concept of Open Cities in the South African context,” said Musisi.

The President of the South African Local Government Association and United Cities and Local Government Parks Tau said that the New Urban Agenda is both a vision and guide for addressing urbanisation and pursuing sustainable growth and the development of cities through 2036.
“Our national urban policy, the Integrated Urban Development Framework aligns well with the global developments agenda. This agenda calls for a greater role for cities in driving economic growth, ensuring social cohesion and effecting spatial transformation,” said Tau.

The Deputy Minister of Human Settlement Department Zoe Kota-Fredericks said South Africa was on the right path in working towards an agreement on how the New Urban Agenda will be implemented.
“This implementation will be periodically tracked international over the next twenty years. The engagements we had in eThekwini on this World Cities Day builds on what we have been discussing for several years. However the meaningful engagement and collaboration between all sectors of government to support human settlement development in a way that balances the economic value and the social value of such development,” she explained.

The Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance Andries Nel explained that the significance of innovative urban governance should not be underestimated. “Cities must lead and manage the global, national and sub-regional interface of development, most importantly as cities and towns will be localising the new agenda.  The commemoration of this day has provided an excellent platform for us to meet and dialogue on how to implement our urban agenda. We were also able to zoom in on what our priorities are for localisation of this international commitment we have pleaded to support,” said Nel.

Mayor Zandile Gumede said that while we accept that we have made effort to deliver on the need of our people within the context of 2030 sustainable development agenda there is a number of areas that need continuous improvement.  “We need to accelerate the innovation around how we collectively govern the cities so as to improve local governance in contributing towards building a liveable and caring city, “said Gumede.

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