Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF): COGTA briefing with Minister

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

18 November 2014
Chairperson: Mr M Mdakane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) briefed the Committee on the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF). In response to the National Development Plan (NDP), and to the UN Habitat recommendation for countries to develop national urban policies, COGTA started developing the IUDF in November 2012. The IUDF aimed to create a shared understanding across government and society about how urbanisation should be better managed to ensure liveable, resilient and inclusive settlement areas.

The core levers of the IUDF were:
- Integrated spatial planning
- Integrated transport  and  mobility
- Integrated and sustainable human settlements
- Integrated urban infrastructure
- Efficient  land governance and management
- Inclusive economic development
- Empowered active communities
- Effective urban governance.

However COGTA still faced major challenges in these areas, some included; lack of intergovernmental alignment of spatial planning and poor coordination between sectors, low densities and extensive sprawl of settlements mitigate against efficiencies in transport planning, prevalence of urban sprawl, growth of informal settlements and low densities.

The Minister said that COGTA meet in the new year to discuss the work done around the spatial effects of apartheid and the challenges faced by COGTA in this regard. COGTA would provide some graphics. He said the different parties in the Committee should work together to try and eradicate some of the problems faced by the country rather than playing “silly games”. A suggestion was made that a workshop be held with officials from COGTA and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Members asked what was the timeline for completing the final framework. The meeting did become heated during the discussion as events in the National Assembly in the past week were recalled.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). He indicated that Members needed to be in the National Assembly in the next hour therefore the meeting would be a very brief one.

Opening remarks by Minister
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan, noted that the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) process started in 2012, with the first draft being adopted in 2013. The final discussion document was adopted in 2014. Urbanization and its management was a very topical issue around the world, particularly since urbanization was a phenomenon which was moving at a very fast pace, particularly in developing countries. The manner in which urbanization was planned for, and the manner in which the rich and the poor were dealt with by municipal leaders led to a lot of evidence around the world that the poor were still on the margins with regard to urban management and urban design. He said the Department would return in the new year to brief the Committee in more detail, and to indicate some of the patterns identified in urban design and management.

South Africa however had to be mindful of the fact that the country’s urban design, the location of human settlements, and the lack of opportunities for the majority in South Africa, were as a consequence of the country’s apartheid history. Apartheid still lived with us even today, even though some people would want to deny that. Those who supported apartheid in the past needed to take some responsibility for the conditions in which we found ourselves today. For example, a township could not be erased off a map, it still remained 20 – 30 kilometres away from where most people enjoyed the kind of services that all citizens should be entitled to. Our history and past as a country still shaped the way in which things could or could not be done in the current environment. He said the IUDF was about influencing the manner in which decisions were made and how special forms of planning took place in people’s lives.

Draft Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF): COGTA briefing
Dr Modjadji Malahlela, Chief Director: COGTA, presented a progress report on the draft IUDF. The world was urbanizing rapidly. The global urban population was expected to increase to 70% by 2015. Africa’s 40% urban population was expected to double over the next 20 years. In South Africa, 63% of the population already lived in urban areas, and this figure was projected to increase to 70% by 2030.

In response to the National Development Plan (NDP), and to the UN Habitat’s recommendation for countries to develop national urban policies, COGTA started developing the IUDF in November 2012. The IUDF aimed to create a shared understanding across government and society about how urbanisation should be better managed to ensure liveable, resilient and inclusive settlement areas. Some of the pressures on urban governance were:
• Intensifying public protests and diminishing trust in elected leadership
• Insufficient intergovernmental collaboration frustrates integration at local level.
• Stagnant or shrinking revenue versus demand for services
• Demand for serviced land from private developers
• Increasing demand for housing and continued sprawl
• Rural-Urban interdependencies.

She indicated that the core levers of the IUDF were:
- Integrated spatial planning
- Integrated transport  and  mobility
- Integrated and sustainable human settlements
- Integrated urban infrastructure
- Efficient  land governance and management
- Inclusive economic development
- Empowered active communities
- Effective urban governance.

However COGTA still faced major challenges in these areas which included: lack of intergovernmental alignment of spatial planning and poor coordination between sectors, low densities and extensive sprawl of settlements that mitigate against efficiencies in transport planning, prevalence of urban sprawl, growth of informal settlements  and low densities, escalating demand for serviced land and shelter, insufficient funding for new capital investments and poor maintenance of existing infrastructure, informal sector dismissed or marginalized, lack of adequate skills and experience to engage within government and civil society; and insufficient forums to promote participation and promote social cohesion.

As a way forward, both the national and provincial sectors need to be consulted in discussion on how to enforce the policy framework.

Discussion
Ms N Mthembu (ANC) thanked COGTA for the presentation; it showed that the department was a working department. She appreciated COGTA’s strategies and mechanisms for closing the inherited structural gaps which existed in society today. She agreed that the topic was a broad one and COGTA needed to engage the Committee in more detail in the new year. She agreed that there needed to be collaboration between the various stakeholders to bring the IUDF to light and to effectively redress past imbalances. Another challenge was that some of the people from foreign countries who no longer had employment in this country did not go back home and this led to overpopulated informal settlements. This was a matter which could not be easily addressed.

Mr K Mileham (DA) welcomed the presentation from COGTA, however the presentation should have been given a while back. What was the timeline for completing the process; how long before the draft was adopted and the final framework accepted as a way forward? One of the issues faced by South Africa as an urban economy was the flow of cash from the urban areas to rural areas by people who were funding their families who were still living in these rural areas. Urban areas were not the beneficiaries of the jobs they created. Cities created an economic good working environment but the revenue was moving to other municipalities elsewhere and this did not make sense. Money was not spent in the areas where it was generated.

Mr N Masondo (ANC) welcomed the presentation and agreed that it was a complex matter. It was good that the problem of urbanization and migration were identified as serious challenges. These were issues which were debated continually on various platforms. He said very bold action was needed to address these challenges. In Johannesburg alone, there were over 180 informal settlements. There needed to be a few pilot projects underway; at local government level there was no understanding of what was meant by formalization. He argued that new mines were also adding to the problem of informal settlements. The problem should be anticipated and dealt with accordingly.

Mr A Mudau (ANC) said despite the progress made during the last 20 years with provision of services, and dealing with the legacies of apartheid, the data from Statistics South Africa showed that there has not been much progress in dealing with apartheid’s geography. The manner in which cities were developing was further entrenching unfair development and planning. The majority of the workers in the country were struggling with the rising costs of transport and food. Workers were the bulk of the people who drove the economy. Integrated transport and a mobility plan was therefore welcomed. The Department of Transport needed to be engaged; public transport needed to be developed and integrated in a manner which favored workers.

Minister Gordhan responded that in the coming year COGTA would return to the Committee to address the work done around the spatial effects of apartheid and the kind of challenges faced by COGTA in this regard. COGTA would provide some graphics. He said the different parties in the Committee should work together to try and eradicate some of the problems faced by the country rather than playing silly football games.

Mr Mileham said the Minister should focus on answering the questions rather than making broad political statements.

Minister Gordhan responded and said that was exactly what Mr Mileham was doing on a daily basis; making broad political statements.

The Chairperson intervened and said Committees were political spaces by nature; they were not churches. Members would therefore be expected to engage in hard politics. Politics would therefore dominate the engagements.

Minister Gordhan said he has been in constructive politics for a very long time, where there was willingness to engage constructively with people who wanted to engage constructively. If on the other hand Members wanted to play silly political games, they must be ready to receive as much as they give.

Mr Mileham said the Minister should start by answering letters which were written him. He indicated that he wrote letters to the Minister months ago and he has not received any response from his office.

Minister Gordhan responded to the question about mine workers and the conditions in which they lived and said the whole idea of the IUDF was for government to be proactive in its planning so that municipal managers were ahead of the game rather than behind. Settlement patterns pre and post apartheid were an important concern. The process was indeed a very long process and the reason why COGTA was only presenting to the Committee now was because of scheduling within the Committee; which was out of COGTA’s hands. He agreed that piloting would be taking place. On the urban economy, he said Mr Mileham’s point about money made in a particular municipality remaining in that municipality was in fact a very narrow point of view. The sustenance of families was a very important part of development, and this was a global phenomenon, not a South African one. Part of the effects of apartheid planning were its costs in terms of transport and the productivity of human beings and the economy in general.

The Chairperson said a workshop was needed early next year. The legacy of apartheid was real, even in the House this could be seen by how Members treated each other. He indicated that he was nearly beaten by another Member because he was protecting the Speaker.

Minister Gordhan said such incidences were because of the angry young men.

The Chairperson said if that was the case these angry young men needed to go to the army to get training.

Mr Mileham said Parliament was run by a group of illiterate thugs.

The Chairperson said Members still had four years with each other, and to be carried away by anger was very unnecessary. This would make it very difficult for Members to work with each other in the House and in the Committees. it was not wise for anyone to provoke a big organization such as the African National Congress, which was a very accommodating political party. He suggested that during the workshop next year, officials from the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) should also be invited to participate.

Minister Gordhan asked that Mr Mileham withdraw his statement accusing some people of being illiterate thugs.

Mr Mileham withdrew his statement.

The Chairperson said Mr Mileham should not make such statements against colleagues who have been victims of apartheid for the last 300 years. Appreciation should be given for the role played in reconciling the country. People should not be treated as slaves, the supremacy approach by the opposition which treated black people as sub human would not be tolerated. The Committee needed to disagree respectfully.

The meeting was adjourned.

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