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Long-term plan launched
02 August 2011
 

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The Growth and Development Strategy, which will shape the Joburg we want in 2040, has been launched, with the City fathers calling on all citizens to have their say.

EXECUTIVE Mayor Parks Tau launched the City’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) at Turbine Hall in Newtown on 2 August.

Executive mayor Parks Tau (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)
Executive mayor Parks Tau: residents should have a say in shaping the city (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

Tau was joined by City manager Mavela Dlamini, City manager designate Trevor Fowler and the chief executive officer of the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC), Lindiwe Kwele, to launch the strategy, a document that will guide Joburg until 2040. He called on all residents to participate in determining the future of the city.

Joburg’s GDS was born jointly with its five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) in 2006 to steer the political term of office. The IDP is required by law; a GDS is not. However, the City feels it is a necessary guiding document.

A strategic plan such as the GDS defines the specific development paths that a city wants to take; it frames the medium-term operational plans and long-term strategic choices, as well as confronts challenges that the city faces. Above all, it promotes public participation and action in shaping the future of the city.

The GDS is reviewed every five years, at the end of a political term of office, and the launch of GDS 2040 on 2 August comprises part of the review process.

Dlamini said at the launch: “It is not so much a new beginning as the continuation of a journey and the GDS will define the future and be a roadmap of what Joburg can be.

“This is the time to reflect and play a meaningful role. Be a driver in shaping the future of the city,” he added.

Video
The City is calling on citizens to have a say in shaping the future of the city. Watch a video of the launch of Joburg GDS 2040.

Tau concurred: “We are launching a process of conversation and interaction; it is a time to ensure adequate engagement and consultation. We are asking the people of Joburg to make a contribution to how we should shape the city.”

As a way of achieving its aim of being an inclusive city in which all residents have a say in shaping its future, the City has developed nine themes that will be discussed and studied during dedicated focus weeks. These themes are: economic growth, community safety, resource sustainability, transport, governance, smart cities, liveable cities, environment, and health and poverty.

Liveable Cities
To facilitate discussion with all of its residents and stakeholders, the City has set aside a week for each theme, beginning on 10 August with the Liveable Cities week. Issues on the table would be ways to move away from the dormitory city Joburg had become, as well as how to create an integrated city, said Tau.

JTC CEO Lindiwe Kwele (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)
JTC CEO Lindiwe Kwele will ensure the marketing of GDS 2040 (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

Intensive workshops, discussion sessions and seminars would be hosted each week to encourage public participation and involvement. These would serve to measure where there were failures and gaps, and where the City was succeeding.

At the end of each thematic week, a summary document outlining the key responses that emerged would be publicised in the media. “We request you to participate in all forms of consultation possible, whether it is at roundtables, through Facebook or Twitter, or through the media,” Tau said.

Various forms of consultation will used to encourage as much participation as possible, such as town hall meetings; roundtables with stakeholders; media engagement through TV, radio, print and digital media; school competitions; suggestion boxes in regional offices; and the extensive use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

This will ensure that various social groups are targeted, namely the religious sector, academic sector, media, environmental sector, business sector, civil society, youth, women, people with disabilities, ratepayers and the labour force.

“We will make sure there is a platform for literate and illiterate, sophisticated and unsophisticated,” said Kwele. The JTC is responsible for the communications and marketing aspect of the GDS outreach. “This will ensure that there is a thorough process of dialogue.

“It is a proactive, as opposed to a reactive, communications approach, and we are giving you a platform to tell us what we should focus on,” she said.

Challenges
Already there is some idea of the challenges that the City faces and is hoping to overcome through reviewing the GDS. Fowler, the City manager designate, outlined the challenges and focus areas that the GDS would target to overcome these difficulties.

City manager designate Trevor Fowler
City manager designate Trevor Fowler (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

Hardships include a quadruple resource challenge comprising water, electricity, fuel and food, as well as structural barriers to the economy, which exclude large numbers of the workforce. Acute skills shortages, high levels of inequality and climate change leading to extreme weather patterns have also been identified as serious challenges that the City needs to take into account.

“The process is aimed at rigorous consultation, discussion and debate and all input will be considered for inclusion into the final GDS,” Fowler said. The final GDS will be released following an international conference to be held on 20 October, which will wrap up the themed focus weeks.

It was decided that 2040 was an appropriate future date to work towards the strategy’s vision. It is agreed that long-term change can only conceivably be achieved a generation from now as it is necessary to change the foundation of the current energy system. The next 30 years will therefore be dedicated to achieving a set of defined outcomes in each of the nine themes.

Overall, the GDS review and participation process is a way of harvesting an active citizenry. “We want people to be part of the city. We need, collectively as the people of Joburg, to decide what we want the city to be,” Tau said.

“Legacies are there for the people of Joburg to leave for themselves.”

To become involved in shaping Joburg into the best city it can be, follow the GDS review process on Facebook or on Twitter, @GDS2040. It also has a website.

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