On 3 March 2015, the SACN’s Chairperson and the Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Parks Tau, hosted a Strategic Conversation on Spatial Transformation at the Innovation Hub in Tshwane. Twenty years into our democracy, we can firmly conclude that developmental local government is resilient. Local government has played a pivotal role in service delivery in the last 15 years, but this success has come at a price and has, to some degree, contributed to rapid urbanisation as well as climate change.
Our cities, villages and towns still require to be transformed to be more inclusive and promote economic productivity. Unlike Western countries, urbanisation in South Africa is primarily characterised by poverty and under-development. In many parts of the country, the urbanisation challenge is intensified by the legacy of the apartheid spatial planning and racial segregation.
Our municipal spaces need to be reconfigured, to create cities, towns and villages that drive structural efficiency, decreased inequality and increased economic activity. This need is recognised in the Draft Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) published in September 2014 by the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). To attain a non-racial and inclusive society, this configuration has become local government’s primary function.