JOBURG residents will be able to have their say about changes and improvements they would like to see in the city when Executive Mayor Parks Tau launches the draft Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) and outreach process at Turbine Hall in Newtown on 2 August.
“This will serve as a platform for intense discussions with academic institutions, finance corporations, residents, religious groups, youth, business, security agencies, environmentalists, town planners and a host of other stakeholders to determine the future of Johannesburg,” says the City spokesperson, Virgil James.
Joburg’s initial GDS was born jointly with its five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) in 2006 to steer the political term of office. It is now reviewing the strategy, setting out aims and plans to take the City into the middle of the 21st century. The target date has been set at 2040.
The GDS charts Joburg’s long-term strategic course, and makes some of the bigger, overarching decisions about what to emphasise to accelerate economic growth and human development. The IDP defines where it wants to be after five years, and how it intends incrementally achieving long-term goals.
While an IDP is required by law, a GDS is not. However, the City feels it is a necessary guiding document. “This alignment allows the long-term goals to be effectively translated into realistic medium-term programmes, planning and budgeting,” James says.
Some of the city’s key challenges and opportunities will come under the microscope when Tau launches the review process. These are: climate change, water shortages, affordable energy supply, inequality, pollution, conservation, economic development, infrastructure, urbanisation, investment, transport and an array of other topics of sustainability.
These topics will be divided according to nine themes: economic growth, community safety, resource sustainability, transport, governance, smart cities, liveable cities, environment, and health and poverty.
Stakeholders in the city will be able to add their input as the next eight weeks, starting from 10 August, will be dedicated to discussion. A specific topic will be chosen each week and discussed, with summarised feedback being publicised in the media, according to James.
“It is important for the City to have this conversation about its future to assess whether the GDS still provides a clear guide towards the future or whether it requires a review to keep in line with rapid development shifts and expectations over the next five years,” he says.
“As always, public participation and input is critical for local government to work. It is hoped that the GDS process will be broad enough to source multiple opinions and divergent views.”
The participation of the public is encouraged, with Joburg turning to social media to open more lines of communication, in an effort to achieve the City’s vision as outlined in the GDS:
“In future, Johannesburg will continue to lead as South Africa’s primary business centre, a dynamic centre of production, innovation, trade, finance and services.
“This will be a city of opportunity where the benefits of balanced economic growth will be shared in a way that enables all residents to gain access to the ladder of prosperity and where the poor, vulnerable and excluded will be supported out of poverty to realise upward social mobility.
“The result will be a more equitable and spatially integrated city very different from the divided city of the past.
“In this world-class African city, everyone will be able to enjoy decent accommodation, excellent services, the highest standards of health and safety and quality community life in sustainable neighbourhoods and vibrant urban spaces.”
The launch of the GDS starts at 8am at Turbine Hall, 65 Ntemi Piliso Street, Newtown.