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20 Years of Freedom and Democracy
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. (SCN: SPATIAL TRANSFORMATION)

In an effort to close the communication gap between city officials and the citizens, the EThekwini Municipality has collaborated with the South African Network (SACN) and South Africa’s Local Government Association (SALGA) in an attempt to address the issues around urbanisation, work done in South African cities and remedial methods/measures to be introduced and/or implemented.

EThekwini Municipality Mayor, Zandile Gumede enthusiastically welcomed the invite; saying the issue of Urbanisation is one that requires the government’s diligence. Mayor Gumede said this at the SOUTH AFRICAN URBAN CONFERENCE: CITIES IN CONVERSATION CONFERENCE, Moses Mabhida Stadium, 30 October.
“As we euphorically anticipate celebrating World Cities Day on the 31st October, we as the City of eThekwini are quite ecstatic to host the SOUTH AFRICAN URBAN CONFERENCE: CITIES IN CONVERSATION CONFERENCE for the very first time; a truly mammoth occasion worth celebrating,” said Mayor Gumede.

In her address, Mayor Gumede discussed the various initiatives the eThekwini has embarked on in managing urbanization; introducing new, and sustaining current remedial methods of dealing with the growth of our city. EThekwini has introduced, and continue to implement projects that will adequately deal with Urbanisation. The following projects are the city’s remedial plans:
  • GO! Durban
  • Durban Metropolitan Urban Spaces
  • Cornubia infrastructure
  • Household photovoltaic (Green buildings)
The continuous introduction of these projects and initiatives are meant to remedy past hinders, organise for today and sustainably prepare for tomorrow. The award winning city continues to strive, going beyond the call of duty when it comes to service delivery.
Accompanying the Mayor in highlighting and discussing the FRAMING INPUT: LOCALISING THE URBAN AGENDA – ROLE OF CITIES discussion was Cllr Parks Tau (Chair: SALGA) who orated on behalf of Mr Sithole Mbango; and Deputy Minister: Human Settlements, Zoe Kota-Fredericks. The pair jointly emphasized and echoed the Mayors sentiments.
“By 2050, two thirds (2/3) of the population will be in cities; and we as the government needs to adequately prepare. Now is not the time to dwell on previous mishaps, but an opportunity to look at the positives,” said Deputy Minister, Kota-Fredricks. She further urged and emphasized how important it is for the City government and the private sector to work together – a moment of articulate planning and collective preparedness.

Various panel discussions highlighted the following issues and suggestions:

  1. A 24 hour City to constantly generate and boost the economy.
  2. Critical factors and action plan
  3. Developing and implementing a free cell-phone and internet access for unemployed residents.
The seminar paves the way for tomorrow’s World Cities Day discussion. The heavily anticipated conference will be orated by a panel of renowned guest speakers and continue on the discussion.

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