The Corridors of Freedom programme is at the leading edge of a new developmental approach that is changing Johannesburg’s spatial destiny, Executive Mayor Parks Tau said in his State of the City address on Wednesday, 6 May.

Joburg Executive Mayor Parks TauJoburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau arrives at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein ahead of his State of the City address on Wednesday, 6 May. (Photo: a speech delivered at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein and broadcast live on the major local radio stations, Mayor Tau said that developmental urban government “must do more than competently provide services. We must innovate in order to transform the conditions we govern, to ensure that tomorrow will be better than today.”

The City’s “next area of acceleration”, the Corridors of Freedom programme and the wider public transport overhaul that underlies this programme, was key to achieving this kind of transformation, he said.

A crucial part of the Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy, with the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) as the lead implementing agency, the Corridors programme aims to create strategic arteries integrating various modes of transport, connecting mixed-use residential development nodes, in order to undo the legacy of apartheid town planning.

“Left to the forces of the market alone, the poor would be cast to the edges of the city, huddled together in crowded shacks, trapped there by the cost of mobility,” Mayor Tau said in his address. “This is exactly what we seek to disrupt and transform when we speak of confronting apartheid spatial patterns.

“The Corridors programme uses public transport as the backbone of new kind of mixed-use, mixed-class development, and focuses on location and affordability of housing as an enabler to embrace economic vitality and diversity of Joburg.”

Mayor Tau said the City’s budget gave priority to the first three corridors: the Empire-Perth Corridor connecting Soweto to the CBD, the Louis Botha Corridor between the Joburg CBD, Alexandra, Sandton, Diepsloot and Ivory Park, and the Turffontein Corridor.

He said the planning frameworks for these three corridors had been finalised and approved by Council. “These set out the development vision for the corridors, and will be the basis on which land use rights applications are considered.”

The City’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, one of the JDA’s flagship developments, is the crucial public transport mode for establishing and bringing the corridors to life – the core network, with which other modes of transport, including non-motorised transport, will be integrated.

Mayor Tau noted in his address that the rollout of the third phase of Joburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system between Alexandria, Sandton, Ivory Park and the CBD was on track.

The Corridors programme, the Mayor said, demonstrated the City’s determination to turn challenges into opportunities, and to innovate in order to transform.

“We are a world-class African city,” he said; a city that was “casting transformation in steel and concrete, rising along our Corridors of Freedom”.