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Cities will remain exclusionary if urban land issues are not resolved

South African cities will remain exclusionary if urban land issues are not resolved to address inequality and discrimination, said Geoffrey Bickford, Programme Manager of South African Cities Network.

Bickford’s frank comment ignited more candid debate at the Urban Conference 2017, themed Cities in Conversation: liveable, inclusive, safe and resilient cities: Implementing South Africa’s urban agenda, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban today.

"Inequality is a global issue following centuries of racial discrimination as land systems are man-made over time. It is crucial that we understand the value of land as it is not just merely an economic relationship, it also has economic value and social value for the marginalised,” Bickford said.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality City Manager, Mr Johann Mettler, drew from his extensive experience in senior management at local government level, by reminding the conference that complex issues such as inclusive growth, spatial integration and effective governance need bold and provocative answers.

He reflected that "despite spatial transformation proposals based on densification, corridor and nodal development, the opposite have in fact happened”.

"We can no longer ignore the basic link between society, the economy and space. However, I would like to caution you to dampen your enthusiasm about Transit Orientated Development as the supreme answer to spatial transformation.

"Cities are dealing with too many different zoning schemes that stuns development and transformation. The needs of cities are complex as daily tasks can range from stray animals to serious complexities related to crime and spatial planning,” Mr Mettler said.

According to the Integrated Urban Development Framework 80% of South Africans will live in cities by 2050.

The South African Urban Conference is hosted by the Ethekwini Municipality in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), the Department of Human Settlements, the South African Cities Network (SACN), and the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

Mr Parks Tau, Chairperson of Salga, said the implementation of efficient programmes requires leadership.

"Until we accept that we do not have all the levers under control and it is important that we start engaging with those levers that are not part of governance.

"These levers are men and women who make decisions on behalf of people where they live and could even be considered as an alternative form of government. We need to engage them.

"The instruments and the policies that you have must be reviewed in order for us to have truly integrated plans,” Tau said.

Ends

Issued on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality by Media Management Officer Kupido Baron (082 780 2726 / 041 506 1500 / kbaron@mandelametro.gov.za / @kupidobaron).

 

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