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State of the City Address to focus on progress and the future


The progress the City of Johannesburg is making and the direction it is taking in the implementation of major programmes under the Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040) to positively transform the lives of residents are expected to feature prominently when Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau delivers his State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Wednesday.

The speech, to be delivered under the theme: "Turning Challenges into Opportunities", follows an intensive and comprehensive four-week public participation process during which residents reviewed the City's Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and made inputs and comments on how the administration could continue on its growth and development path as the current five-year mayoral term enters its final lap.

Called "The Final Push", the process examined progress in the implementation of programmes such as the Corridors of Freedom, the 10-year R100 billion capital investment programme, Jozi@Work, Blue Economy, Green Economy and Smart City initiative, among others.

It also explored ways through which implementation could be further strengthened and enhanced in 2015-2016 – the final financial year of the current mayoral term.

The Corridors of Freedom Programme is changing the face and shape of Johannesburg as the City makes a clean break with apartheid spatial planning by creating mixed-use high density developments along well-planned transport arteries.

The City has already made a significant move towards investing in the Blue Economy, a new wave of thinking on sustainable economic development that has captured the imagination of the world.

Mayor Tau indicated the urgent need to embrace the Blue Economy in his 2014-2015 SOCA.

Blue is – as the world's leading thinker on the concept, Professor Gunther Pauli puts it, "the new green".

The City's green initiatives – which include solar heating, photovoltaic panels, the production of biofuels and conversion of vehicle fleets to run on such energy sources – are well known.

On the R100 billion capital expenditure programme, the Mayor is expected to, among other things, flesh out details of the Inner City Roadmap, the City's new strategy aimed at accelerating the rejuvenation and revitalisation of the Johannesburg inner city.

Residents can watch the speech live at the following selected public viewing areas: Sarafina Park, Diepsloot (Region A); Pennyville Park, Pennyville (Region B), Tanzania Park, Cosmo City (Region C); Thokoza Park, Rockville, Soweto (Region D); Jukskei 1 Park, Alexandra (Region E); Joubert Park, Johannesburg inner city (Region F) and Orange Farm Regional Park (Region G).

The SOCA will be broadcast live on several community radio stations such as Alex FM, Eastwave FM, Eldos FM, Jozi FM, Mix FM, Radio Today AM, Thetha FM, Lenz FM, Rainbow FM, Voice of Wits FM and UJ FM as well as on Joburg TV – the City's own TV station.

Four mainstream radio stations – Kaya FM, Power FM, Ukhozi FM and Lesedi FM – will air extensive expert analysis of the speech.