The public and private sectors are joining hands in a bid to take local government forward in all South African cities, including Joburg.
The South African Cities Network (SACN) will on Friday October 5 formalise a partnership with the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) during the network’s strategic conference, which is hosting conversations among mayors, officials and selected stakeholders in government, private sector and civil society.
The chief executive officer of SACN, Sithole Mbanga said partnering with SAPOA was a positive step in opening a dialogue to find mutually beneficial ways to move forward. He said this would enable the "valuable relaying" of information.
“We are partnering with the private sector to tackle and discuss issues of mutual interest, including day-to-day administrative ones, such as response times and plan approvals, solve problems and make spaces more efficient. It creates a platform for future discussions to sort out and resolve issues – a more principled agreement for engagement on crucial issues,” said Mbanga.
He said SACN and SAPOA would look at issues such as infrastructure, human settlements, public transport, land usage and climate change.
SAPOA President Dr Sedise Moseneke agreed that partnering with SACN was a great opportunity for his organisation. “As the private sector, we are in control of more than 90% of all property. So having an open partnership with the likes of SACN gives property owners the opportunity to be part of the development of cities. We are hoping this partnership will in the future lead to better urban space usage, attract investments, which will in turn push urban regeneration and drive efficient and quality developments at consultation level to address issues such as the greening of buildings, spatial organisation and infrastructure development.
Dr Moseneke added that the partnership between SAPOA and SACN would benefit the City of Joburg in that it would open more transparent discussions among all relevant stakeholders, which would work towards solving issues such as billing, backlog in the issuing of clearance certificates, zoning, to name a few.
Mbanga said SACN would in the near future begin engaging with various other sectors of society, including labour unions. “Our cities’ belong to all of us and we must develop them in ways that service all of us,” he said.
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