City of Tshwane executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa says 71% of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. This will increase further to 80% by 2050.
Africa as a continent, meanwhile, is expected to reach 50% urbanisation by 2030, the mayor said, citing data from the World Research Institute.
“The unprecedented human migration into urban centres is resulting in rapid urban growth. Cities are at the forefront of managing the impact of unplanned urbanisation, often resulting in challenges in terms of providing adequate infrastructure, service delivery, governance and development,” the mayor said in an address at the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF) on Monday.
The ACCSF was hosted for the fifth time this year, with representatives of 36 capital cities in attendance, including Abuja, Bamako, Bangui, Banjul, Bissau, Djibouti, Dodoma, Freetown, Gaborone, Gitega, Harare, Juba, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Lilongwe, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mbabane, Maseru, Mogadishu, Monrovia, Moroni, Nouakchott, Porto-Novo, Rabat, Tripoli, Tshwane, Victoria and Windhoek.
South Africa’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma mentioned in her keynote speech that the ACCSF event had grown from hosting representatives of 18 cities in the first year, to 36 in the fifth year. She hoped that by next year all African capital cities would be represented.
Dlamini-Zuma said South African cities, and ultimately all African cities, had to demonstrate democratic spatial planning, while aligning to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Minister noted that, in 1994, only 40% of South Africa’s population was living in urban cities, while 25 years on, the country has 60% of its population in urban cities and 40% in rural areas.
Dlamini-Zuma said, when expanding cities, the focus should be on resilient infrastructure to withstand changes in climate and erratic weather patterns, especially since these have devastating economic and social impacts on people.
She called for progression of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, as well as for the “African passport” that would allow people to move freely between African capital cities and ensure more tourism income for infrastructure development, while enabling a free environment for knowledge-sharing around innovative solutions for cities.
Dlamini-Zuma added that 60% of tourism income in African countries was derived from other African countries, demonstrating the viability of an “African passport” movement.
Mokgalapa further stated that South Africa’s urban population was becoming younger.
“There is a correlation between urbanisation, economic growth and sustainability in cities. There is a need for cities to develop their own solutions to respond to the challenges they face.
“Indicators for sustainable cities include access to water, energy management, effective waste management, efficient transport and mobility, connectivity, reduction of carbon emissions and the green economy. All this can only be done if a conscious decision is taken to develop sustainably,” the mayor asserted.
Mokgalapa said the City of Tshwane had made commitments in its long-term strategic plan to explore innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors. The strategy further integrates climate risk assessments and potential responses in all the market areas.
“Investment in resilient infrastructure and cleaner technologies remain at the heart of our sustainability pursuits.”
City of Tshwane Roads and Transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge said the city’s sustainable development programme included transport as a key driver, because it had important links to other sectors.
She noted that it was an important consideration that Tshwane’s development did not displace the poor owing to unaffordable services or social exclusion.
“Cities such as ours should create vibrant opportunities and provide basic services, while balancing the developmental impacts on our environment.”
Senkubuge added that the City of Tshwane had been focusing on developing high-capacity modes of transport, as well as making it easier for people to walk or cycle.
“We are promoting co-modality, which involves multiple modes of transport in the same transport channel, which is the solution for sustainability looking forward.”
She noted that smart mobility systems include mass transit systems, as well as individual mobility services, such as ridesharing, bicycle-sharing and on-demand transportation.
“Our transport system will become more adaptive to social needs, while ensuring that the modes of transport are safe and economically efficient,” explained Senkubuge.