Johannesburg – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel says South Africa’s cities continue to play a major role in growing the country’s economy.
The Deputy Minister was speaking to reporters in Johannesburg ahead of the release of the 2016 State of South African Cities Report.
The report will be released on Wednesday evening and is expected to highlight progress made to transform South Africa’s cities since the dawn of democracy. It is also expected to highlight areas that still need development in South Africa’s cities.
The report is published every five years by the South African Cities Network.
“We believe the report is a further demonstration of how we have transformed our cities from the apartheid spatial development pattern to cities that work for our people,” Deputy Minister Nel said.
He said South Africa’s metropolitan cities accounted for at least 44 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Studies show that 63 percent of South Africans today live in urban areas and this figure is expected to balloon to 71 percent in 2030.
Eight out of ten South Africans are expected to live in urban areas by 2015, Deputy Minister Nel said.
But he cautioned that if the country does not manage urbanisation, government could find itself confronted with the downside of urbanisation – such as increased competition for scarce resources.
Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau said more than 10 000 people flock to the city every month in search of better opportunities.
“This phenomenon places a challenge on us to manage space and how the different spaces and land use interact with each other. Our policy is thus very emphatic on the importance of managing land use in our city,” Tau said.
In May, ratings agency Moody’s upgraded both the global scale ratings and national scale ratings of the City of Johannesburg by four notches. Ekurhuleni was also given AAA by the ratings agency.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said this week that with the country just weeks away from the 3 August Local Government Elections, it is an opportune moment to launch the 2016 State of the South African Cities Report.
It said the 2011 State of the Cities Report highlighted the need to focus on “a more coherent approach” to urbanisation.
This led to the development of the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), which was approved by Cabinet less than two months ago. The IUDF offers a New Deal for South Africa’s towns and cities, in line with the National Development Plan.
The report will be officially released at 6pm on Wednesday