The City of Johannesburg’s Council has approved Soweto Strategic Area Framework (SAF) to demonstrate the City’scommitment to serve the residents of South Africa’s largest township, with the aim to create jobs, develop the local economy, reduce poverty, gender and inequality.
The MMC for Development Planning, Thapelo Amad said, “Selected as one of the priority intervention locations in the 2016 Special Development Framework, Soweto is widely recognised for its great potential to grow into a true City district that can function independently, and further produce its residents with integrate human settlement where they can live, work and play.”
Amad added that the approval of the Soweto SAF was a milestone achievement to the people of Soweto, who had been marginalised for decades through apartheid spatial planning.
“It is our responsibility, as the members of Council and the Government of Local Unity, to make decisions that will not only change the spatial landscape of areas such as Soweto, but to create a lasting legacy that can be found affluent, suburban parts of Johannesburg today,” added Amad.
He noted that the approval of the framework comes days after the launch of Soweto Construction Infrastructure and Property Chamber, which will make it easier for locals to collaborate with big firms and develop ties, particularly while building and construction is taking place within the areas.
In addition, Amad said that there are many constraintshindering economic development in Soweto, including those relating to spatial inefficiency, mismatches between where poor people live and where economic opportunities exist, insufficient capacity for innovative and socially-rooted urban planning, and evidence-based decision-making and financing.
“Communities in Soweto are still living in unacceptable circumstances that do not enable them to thrive, in conditions that lock them in a perpetual cycle of poverty and spatial injustice,” said Amad.
“The Soweto SAF is a pioneering project initiated through the Global Futures Cities Programme that is run and funded by the UK Government’s Prosperity Fund.”
He added that SAF aimed at supporting a range of strategic interventions in 19 cities across 10 countries, the programme seeks to address key barriers to prosperity that focus on urban planning, transportation and resilience with big data and project finance, as cross cutting themes.
“The formulation of the Soweto SAF was carried out through extensive engagements and workshops with members of the community, to allow them the platform to voicetheirexpectations and for them to present community-owned solutions to issues that effect the spatial vision that they have for their area,” said Amad.