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July - August 2014

July/Aug Newsletter

Message from SACN

Greetings colleagues,

We are almost halfway through the year, and our local government and secretariat has been hard at work. Our theme for this issue is setting the tone for spatial transformation, with a focus on women in governance, since August was national women’s month.

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Setting the tone for spatial transformation, deconstructing SA legacy

Upcoming Events

  • Financing public infrastructure, infrastructure dialogue: 11 September DBSA
  • SACN seminar and book launch: Public Transport and Sustainable Human Settlements launch: 18 September
  • KMRG meeting: 25 September
To keep up to date with the latest news from the secretariat, SACN would like to encourage you to visit our newly launched website at and to follow our digital and social media platforms (see URL and handles below).

Over the past couple of months, many events have occurred that have set the tone for spatial transformation in South Africa. In August, we had the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress, which celebrated Africa’s contribution to world architecture,  thought leadership and city development. The overarching sentiment of the various State of the City addresses was that South Africa today is a far better country to live in than the politically unstable, racially divided and economically depressed exile state that we inherited on 27 April 1994, even though work remains to be done. In July, the municipal audit report highlighted that overall the number of clean audits has increased, and 15 municipalities and two municipal entities had improved on their previous  year's findings. Multiple articles have pointed out that political leadership and getting  governance  right is the key to improving  financial control (source:

Africa is the least urbanised continent in the world, but rapid urbanisation is shifting the landscape and having a negative effect on African cities. It has primarily resulted in poverty and inequality, rather than employment opportunities (through industrialisation).  In many African states, the rapid growth has outperformed infrastructural developments, resulting in a lack of investment in cities, poor planning and urban governance plus issues of city boundaries, and has had a negative effect on city management. The SACN report on spatial transformation suggests that suitable devolution of power,  clear  classification of city boundaries and city funding  will enable better service deliver and governance in African cities.

Part of the challenge is that many  African countries  do not have an integrated  urban policy in place.  Only Nigeria and Ghana have such a policy in place, while South Africa and Kenya are in the process of developing an integrated urban policy. South Africa's draft Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) is open for discussion.

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Women in governance

Over the past 20 years, South Africa has achieved much progress in ensuring that women to occupy top positions in leadership. During the month of August, SACN posted one fact every week to the Did You Know section of our new website. Some of the 'firsts' achieved by South African women in government include:

  • South Africa’s first woman speaker of Parliament (Frene Ginwala);
  • South Africa’s first woman deputy president (Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka);
  • The African Union first woman chairperson (Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma);
  • South Africa’s first woman public protector (Thuli Madonsela);
  • South Africa’s first woman Reserve Bank governor (Gill Marcus); and
  • South Africa’s first woman Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC (Molebatsi Bopape).

Although women representation in local government decreased after the 2011 election, representation of women in Parliament increased by 2.7%. Out of 189 countries, South Africa is ranked number seven in the world for women political participation. The government's goal is to achieve 50/50 gender parity by 2015. (News24 article)

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Salga welcomes municipal audits

Johannesburg - Salga on Wednesday welcomed the release of the 2012/13 municipal audit outcomes announced in Pretoria.

'As South Africa marks 20 years of democracy, we celebrate a significant increase in the delivery of basic services to the citizens of our country,' spokeswoman Karen Reyneke said in a statement.

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Provincial Centres for Entrepreneurship?

South Africans of all stripes often lament the general lack of entrepreneurial success and limited support for its development in the country. So, when President Jacob Zuma created a new small business ministry, the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) soon after entering his second term in office, the news was well received all round.

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Coega and EC Provincial Government to drive employment of women in EC

The MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana, announced a partnership between her department and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) which will benefit women in transportation in the Eastern Cape. 

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AG Identifies positive trends in audit results

Auditor General Kimi Makwetu has identified what he's described as a positive trend in local government audit results, but supply chain management and irregular expenditure remain a concern. 

The Auditor-General released his local government audit outcomes findings at a briefing in Pretoria.

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MBDA engages Schauderville and Korsten residents

The City Futures project aims to confront the current challenges facing planning in South Africa by re-looking at the way neighbourhoods are planned. A central idea of this experiment is getting the voices (narrative) of citizens to talk more directly to larger planning processes, allowing citizens greater influence over the future of the neighbourhoods where they live. In order to realise this, a process (methodology) was devised to bring together these voices and combine them with the broader planning ideas (scientific data) and the specific character of the neighborhood (urban form).

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Tshwane bus system set to 'be the best'

Pretoria - Tshwane Rapid Transit (TRT) is ready to operate the A Re Yeng bus service as soon as the roll-out of the infrastructure is complete and the City of Tshwane has decided on the launch date.

When the inception phase of the system goes live from Hatfield to the CBD, taxis will disappear from the route and owners will be compensated for loss of income.

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Reflections & Opportunities:  Design, Cities and The World Cup

In 2009 South Africa was a veritable construction site, a federation of frenzied states preparing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the five years since winning the bid to host the event, massive tracts of undeveloped landscape had been reshaped beyond recognition.

South Africans were mesmerised by the scale of development in this country on the margins, both geographically and economically - not least the local design pundit Zahira Asmal, who was inspired to establish Designing_SouthAfrica.

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Speeches: Jeff Radebe

Address by the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, during the presentation of the Budget Votes 6 and 13

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Joburg to turn communities into incubators of SMEs to alleviate unemployment

On Thursday 31 July 2014 the City of Johannesburg municipality officially presented its Jozi@Work Developmental Service Delivery Model to the Council Chamber, highlighting its plan to provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with developmental services to alleviate unemployment in the municipality.

Johannesburg executive mayor Parks Mpho Tau said beyond service delivery challenges experienced in Johannesburg, the municipality needed to address developmental issues pertaining to employment.

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