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PArliament, Cape Town - MPs were urged on Tuesday to involve their constituents in a national dialogue on the future shape of urban South Africa.
“I want to call on all members of this House, across party lines, to get involved - and also to involve their constituencies - in a national dialogue on the future of our cities and towns,” Deputy Co-operative Governance Minister Andries Nel said in the National Assembly.
Referring to the recently released Integrated Urban Development Framework discussion document, he noted that six in 10 South Africans currently lived in urban areas. This figure would rise to seven in 10 by 2030.
“(And) those (matriculants) who are writing exams today, when they reach retirement age after 2050, eight out of 10 of them will be living in urban areas.”
Government was proposing a “national approach” toward dealing with urbanisation, including reversing “apartheid spatial patterns”, he said.
The discussion document, tabled last week, refers to the “profound spatial, economic and social divides and inequalities” that mark the country's towns and cities, and calls for these to be arrested and reversed.
It was approved by Cabinet last month.
Nel said municipalities alone could not deal with the problem.
“We recognise that municipalities alone cannot deal with the challenges of urbanisation and the transformation of apartheid spatial patterns, that still persist in our towns and cities.
“We are proposing a national approach that brings together three spheres of government and all sectors of society. We need a national dialogue (on this matter),” he said.