During apartheid, spatial planning moved many people away from areas where there was economic activity. Citizens had to travel long distances to work and to migrate from rural areas to marginalised spaces to find economic opportunities. Government has a plan to change that.
Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance Andries Nel says the department is working hard to ensure that South Africans live closer to where they work.
He said the department has, over the past year, continued with the process of coordinating the formulation of the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) to promote urban restructuring in order to transform urban spaces and reverse apartheid spatial planning.
“The Integrated Urban Development Framework will steer urban growth towards a sustainable model of compact, connected and coordinated towns and cities.
“In the process, we will also strengthen rural-urban linkages, promote urban resilience, create safe urban spaces and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable groups are addressed,” he said.
During apartheid, spatial planning moved many non-whites away from areas where there was economic activity, which led to citizens having to travel long distances to work and having to migrate from rural areas to marginalised spaces to find economic opportunities.
According to the United Nations, Africa is expected to be the fastest urbanising region between 2020 and 2050.
In South Africa, 63 percent of the population already lives in urban areas. This number is expected to rise to 71 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
The Deputy Minister said it was because of this that there was a need to guide the growth and management of urban areas in ways that would ensure that their full potential was reached.
He said the objective of the IUDF is to transform urban spaces by preventing further development of housing in marginal spaces; increasing urban densities to prevent sprawl; improving public transport and the coordination between transport nodes and shifting jobs and investments towards dense outlying townships.
“Achieving such spatial transformation will require the concerted effort of all spheres of government, the private sector, labour, civil society and the communities in our municipalities.”
The Deputy Minister said the department cannot achieve this goal on its own, and that forging partnerships is crucial to delivering on this goal.