The Portfolio Committee received a briefing from the Department of Cooperative Governance on the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF). The purpose of the presentation was to provide an update on the development of the IUDF. The scope of the presentation included the purpose of the IUDF, working towards managed urbanization, timeframes for the IUDF, supporting structures, progress to date with a focus on the IUDF discussion document and conference, an overview of stakeholder consultations and taking the IUDF forward. The IUDF sought to build and integrate the existing initiatives since 1994 and provide a holistic and overarching framework, and to prioritize the development of vulnerable, marginalized spaces such as informal settlements, peripheral townships, pockets of poverty and spatially marginalized areas.
The IUDF project had been divided into two phases. The first phase had been from November 2012 to October 2013, and was characterised by the submission of the IUDF discussion document to Cabinet and approval for further developments. The second phase would be from November 2013 to mid-2014, and this would be characterised by the submission of the IUDF to Cabinet following extensive consultation.
After outlining some major challenges and anticipated benefits, the Department told the Committee that the critical issue was how to prepare the IUDF in a way that supported the integrated space economy approach presented in Chapter 8 of the National Development Plan (NDP), and related policy proposals. It did not have to further perpetuate urban-rural binaries. Of importance was to develop an IUDF that addressed the current urban realities and enabled all role-players, both within and outside of government, to be driven by a common vision and goal. Government had to lead, but it could not do it on its own. Semi-governmental and non-governmental stakeholders also had to participate, support and take co-responsibility for solutions.
During the discussions that followed the presentation, the Committee Members generally welcomed the briefing and expressed a sentiment of appreciation. However, they raised concerns about why it had taken so long for the issue of an urban development framework to be brought before the Committee, as the issue was just as important immediately after 1994 as it was today. The Committee generally expressed concern about the implementation of the IUDF, and the difference between the new policy and previous policies. The concern raised was that many policies were good on paper, but the implementation of the principles and projects was also a challenge for government, especially within local government, where there was an acute shortage of engineering and planning capacity. Members asked why the IUDF focused only on spatial issues and not on issues of economic growth and city competitiveness. The Department was asked to explain what it was doing to curb illegal immigration into South Africa from neighbouring countries.
Members asked about the outcome of the IUDF conference which had been held in October 2013, and requested that for future conferences of such importance, the Portfolio Committee should be invited. The Acting Chairperson asked what the difference was between the IUDF and other previous policy documents. Was the public not going to perceive the IUDF as just another policy document under a different name? Was the IUDF going to address issues in secondary towns? The Department had to set clearly defined implementation targets which could be closely monitored and measured. There was nothing in the presentation about the monitoring and evaluation of the framework and project. What was the timeframe for the rest of the processes?
Appointment of Acting Chairperson
The Committee Secretary, Ms Shereen Cassiem, told the Committee that the Chairperson was still at a meeting and would join the meeting at a later stage. According to the Rules of Parliament, the Committee had to appoint an Acting Chairperson. She called on the Members to nominate candidates.
Mr J Steenhuizen (DA) nominated Ms W Nelson (ANC). This nomination was seconded by Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC).
Introduction by Acting Chairperson
The Acting Chairperson welcomed the Committee Members and the officials from the Department of Cooperative Governance. While waiting for the Chairperson, the Committee would go directly into the presentation.
Briefing on Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF)
Dr Modjadji Malahlela, Executive Director: Development Planning, at the Department of Cooperative Governance, said the purpose of the presentation was to provide an update on the development of the IUDF. The scope of the presentation included the purpose of the IUDF, working towards managed urbanization, timeframes for the IUDF, supporting structures, progress to date – with a focus on the IUDF discussion document and conference – an overview of stakeholder consultations, and taking the IUDF forward.
Purpose and Context
Dr Malahlela told the Committee that the IUDF was located in terms of various chapters of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the objective was to work towards a better managed urban future. The purpose of the IUDF was within the context of the NDP and the need for government to rethink the urban space to face future challenges. The IUDF sought to build and integrate the existing initiatives since 1994 and provide a holistic and overarching framework, and to prioritize the development of vulnerable, marginalized spaces such as informal settlements, peripheral townships, pockets of poverty and spatially marginalized areas.
IUDF Project Phases
The IUDF project had been divided into two phases. The first phase was from November 2012 to October 2013, which was characterised by the submission of the IUDF discussion document to Cabinet and approval for further developments. The second phase was from November 2013 to mid-2014 and this was going to be characterised by the submission of the IUDF to Cabinet, following extensive consultation.
After presenting the timeframes of the project to the Committee, Dr Malahlela outlined the immediate structures which supported the IUDF. These included the IUDF Political Forum, a panel of experts, the Technical Steering Committee, COGTA Internal Working Group and the working collaboration between the Department of Human Settlements and the City Support Programme of the National Treasury. She outlined the position of the IUDF in the policy implementation environment.
Progress to date
The Discussion Document had been finalised and was being distributed to stakeholders. The discussion document was not the framework itself, but presented the conceptual framework and the rationale for the IUDF. Ten research papers had been completed. These had expanded on key subject areas and key issues were being integrated into the IUDF. A Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and Communications Plan had been finalised, and the first consultative conference on the IUDF had been held on 25 October 2013. Dr Malahlela further briefed the Committee on the context of the discussion document.
South Africa’s urban areas remained largely segregated, making it harder to reverse the apartheid geography as it was in 1994. Another challenge was the need to maintain the existing property values, which were drivers of income. Cities would not to take any decisions that might erode these values. There was also the interdependencies and inter-linkages of rural and urban areas, not fully understood and exploited for mutual benefit. Governance and capacity challenges in government generally, and municipalities in particular, were also identified.
Some of the urban realities to be addressed included the challenges of providing housing and basic services; weak spatial development and planning capabilities; low densities; shortage of well-located land for housing development; fiscal resources; and disaster risks and environmental challenges. A coherent policy or plan was needed to address these challenges. It was this policy vacuum that the IUDF aimed to address.
The IUDF sought to reap the urban dividend as a result of the maximised impact of investments on people, places and economy. It would increase the effectiveness of policies and resource allocation and create a platform for civil society and the private sector to play their part. It would contribute to rural development and improve the management of urbanization.
Dr Malahlela told the Committee that the critical issue was how to prepare the IUDF in a way that supported the integrated space economy approach presented in Chapter 8 of the NDP, and related policy proposals. It did not have to further perpetuate urban-rural binaries. Of importance was to develop an IUDF that addressed the current urban realities and enabled all role-players, both within and outside of government, to be driven by a common vision and goal. Government had to lead, but it could not do it on its own. Semi-governmental and non-governmental stakeholders also had to participate, support and take co-responsibility for solutions.
The Acting Chairperson said that this was a very important policy, considering its links with the National Development Plan. She reminded Members that this was a process and not an event, as it was going to be carried on right into mid-2014. It was work in progress and this was just a briefing, so this had to be considered in the questions and comments from the Committee Members.
Mr P Smith (IFP) asked why the issue of an integrated urban development framework had taken so long to be brought before the Committee. This issue was as real just after 1994 as it was today, and he did not know why it had taken so long to be brought to the forefront. He was concerned that government was now notorious for making policies, and then failing to implement them. He had noticed there was an absence of real targets in the framework and he was scared that it was just going to be another policy document with a track record of poor implementation.
He said it seemed like the focus was on spatial issues, and that was very limiting. He asked if consideration could not be given to the issue of producing competitive cities and contributions to economic growth. The IUDF was very soft, and not hard core. However, he welcomed the document and the briefing.
Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) welcomed and appreciated the briefing. He asked for more clarity on the issue of migration which had been raised in the context of the discussion document. Was enough being done to handle migration and the high level of immigration from neighbouring countries? He gave the example of the over three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa. What were the strategies in place to curb migration? The Departments of both Home Affairs and International Relations and Cooperation had not been mentioned as being consulted. What was the Department of Cooperative Governance doing to engage the cities of the neighbouring countries for better cooperation and interaction? He asked how government could assure private sector participation. Government was leading the process and playing its role, but the private sector was leveraging that only in terms of profit making.
Mr Steenhuizen said a big concern was the pressure on metros resulting from the collapse of secondary towns. The pressure was going to increase over the next few years to an enormous extent. It was going to take over 20 years just to address the housing backlog in Durban alone. There was an acute lack of capacity at all levels of government in terms of urban planning. What was going to happen in terms of implementation and who was going to implement the policy? Local government did not have an adequate number of engineers and planners to carry out the plan contained in this framework.
Ms M Segale-Diswai (ANC) said she shared Mr Steenhuizen’s concern about the capacity. It was a big problem. However, it was important to note that this was only a briefing and she hoped that there was more work in progress in terms of ensuring and enhancing implementation. There was a need for an intensified workshop on the issue. Operational plans had to be established. She requested that the Department should always provide the full details of all acronyms used, as the document and briefing could get very complex and confusing if the details of acronyms were not provided. She gave the example of the acronym “DOE”, which actually stood for Department of Energy, but which could easily be mistaken for the Department of Education.
Mr T Bonhomme (ANC) said the input had been very good, and was an indication that a lot of technical work was being done. He asked what the outcomes of the IUDF consultative forum had been. On the issue of migration, nothing had been said about curbing the influx of illegal migrants who were putting so much pressure on the social and spatial services of both the urban areas and secondary towns. Something had to be done about that situation.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) said the briefing spoke to a discussion document which indicated the efforts of government and all stakeholders. The discussions had to lean towards factors which were going to solve problems such as the illegal migration which had been mentioned by other Committee Members. Within the context of the IUDF, it was important to note that urban development was not an alternative to rural development. The discussion was about the issue which affected the country and its people on a daily basis, so he proposed that there had to be more work on dealing with the issues, and not just identifying them.
Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) remarked that from looking at the document, it had been compiled by people with lots of expertise, and often these were consultants who only designed the documents and were no longer present for the implementation phase. She was worried about the implementation. She asked what was being done about rural areas and the people living in those areas. Was the plan only concerned with metros and cities?
Mr J Matshoba (ANC) asked why the Portfolio Committee had not been invited to the IUDF conference. It was very important for the Committee to be invited to such events and not be kept in the dark, only to be briefed by a slide show lasting 30 minutes.
The Acting Chairperson asked what the difference was between the IUDF and other previous policy documents. Was the public not going to perceive the IUDF as just another policy document under a different name? Was the IUDF going to address issues in secondary towns? She noted that the Department had to set clearly defined implementation targets which could be closely monitored and measured. There was nothing in the presentation about the monitoring and evaluation of the framework and project. What was the timeframe for the rest of the processes?
Dr Malahlela replied that most of the comments had related to issues which the Department was going to take up as it worked on the actual framework. The Department had previewed that the IUDF was going to have a financing and implementation framework, but the monitoring and evaluation framework was an addition which was going to be included in the IUDF.
On the issue about how the IUDF was different from previous policies, she was going to link this with the concern over whether the IUDF was for metros only. The issue of the difference was key to the document, in that the IUDF was not only for metros and secondary cities, but for all urban spaces, whether in a small, medium or big town or city, or even a metro. In previous documents, the issue of differentiation had not been a key issue and in terms of the framework, the focus was not on administrative boundaries, because even with metro municipalities, there were still both urban and rural spaces. The IUDF was focusing on urban spaces from a spatial perspective, irrespective of whether the municipality was predominantly urban or rural. One of the key principles was the ability of urban areas to access the IUDF, and how these areas fitted into the entire framework.
On the concern about targets and outputs, it had to be acknowledged that the targets were so enormous that they could not be addressed all in one phase. However, in terms of the implementation framework, the thinking was that the project was going to use a phase-by-phase approach, where targets were going to be spread over the short, medium and long term.
With regard to the implementation plan and accommodation of rural areas, the IUDF was an urban plan, so it was biased towards urban areas, whereas the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform was dealing with issues of rural development. There were, however, linkages between the two spaces, so the extent to which the document was going to talk about rural development was going to be limited to extent to which there were linkages between the two spaces. It was not going to go deeply into issues of rural development, as that was not the purpose of the framework. It was very true that urban issues could not be considered to the exclusion of rural areas.
On the concern about land, one of the modules which had been commissioned by the Department was to look at state-owned enterprises and other government departments in terms of the assets and land which they owned and the extent to which this could be used as one of the levers for empowering cities so it was actually one of the issues which was being considered.
With regard to the concerns about migration, the intention, scope and mandate of the IUDF was not about curbing or dealing with illegal immigration and other migration-related issues. The intention was also not to stop people from moving from rural to urban areas. Migration in itself was not a bad phenomenon and was not unique to South Africa alone. The spirit and intention of the document was to say that taking into account the migration from rural to urban areas, the reality was that people moved voluntarily, and this century was called the 'urban century' because for the first time, more than 50% of the world’s population lived in urban areas. The question was whether the cities and urban areas were prepared to receive the migrants. The increase in informal settlements was proof of the fact that the previous planning system did not accommodate new entrants into urban spaces. The challenge was to provide adequate interventions to accommodate migrants. However, the Department had taken seriously the suggestion by the Committee that the Departments of Home Affairs and DIRCO should be brought on board for the discussions and engagements. One of the research papers commissioned by the Department on demographics was looking at both national and regional migration patterns and this process was, at a later stage, going to involve the two departments.
On the outcomes of the IUDF conference, the Department had not yet completed its report on the conference, but immediately it was completed, copies would be provided to the Portfolio Committee. The Department had also noted the need for a workshop on the IUDF.
In terms of the focus and reliance on spatial issues, it was important to note that the presentation on the three pillars included people capability, place and the economy. These three pillars were designed in an attempt to have a balanced approach, rather than focusing only on spatial issues. The Department had a research paper which was focusing only on the economy, both formal and informal.
On the participation of the private sector, it was a critical issue and a challenge, as there were no concrete proposals and solutions on how to resolve the issue. In most urban spaces, most land – especially strategic land – was owned by the private sector, but what was being experienced was that it was the private sector that was at the forefront of growth in cities and towns. This was a challenge which had been identified, and intervention was required.
Dr Malahlela thanked the Committee for the questions and comments raised and said she was open to any further questions and comments.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Dr Malahlela for the briefing and asked the Committee if they were satisfied that all their questions and comments had been dealt with. There were no follow up questions. She remarked that it was good that the Committee had received the briefing, and she hoped that the Department was going to continue to update the Committee on all the progress made with the IUDF.
The meeting was adjourned.
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