Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille. File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille. File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Patricia De Lille moots new city for SA

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Sep 8, 2021

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Cape Town - Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Tuesday said research would be undertaken on the best practice for the first “new city” to be built in democratic South Africa.

De Lille said the so-called “new city” provided a lifetime opportunity to the country to transform and improve the quality of life for future urban residents.

She was responding to questions during a ministerial briefing on infrastructure in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

DA MP Sonja Boshoff asked her about what she said 10 months ago about a “new city” or “smart” city President Cyril Ramaphosa assigned to her.

Boshoff said De Lille had in her speech conceded it would take enormous work and serious work, but said the project preparation was to have started soon.

“Ten months down the line, where will the city be?

“What will it look like, how much will it cost, when will it be ready and how many people will be employed on a permanent basis?” she enquired.

In her response, De Lille said there was a difference between “the new city” and “the smart city”.

This was an attempt to make a distinction to what Ramaphosa dreamt in June 2019 of a South Africa “where the first entirely new city built in the democratic era rises, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories”.

However, last year Ramaphosa said the Lanseria “smart city, the first new city to be built in a democratic South Africa, is now a reality in the making” would be home to between 350 000 to 500 000 people within the next decade.

On Tuesday, De Lille said the implementers of the “smart city’” that is being built close to the Lanseria Airport were the Gauteng provincial government together with the surrounding municipalities and also the district municipality.

She, however, said the initiative of a “new city” was something new.

“This initiative presents to us a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform and to improve the quality of life for future urban residents and it will be a new first city in our new democracy,” she said.

“The framework is being developed through a study, an intensive research, and consultative process which will then culminate in a strategic and action plan for a new democratic city in South Africa.”

She told the NCOP delegates they have so far set up the core project team and a reference group and developed their terms of reference.

“We will set up a stakeholder, a communication plan and research unit that will look at international best practices.

“We will do research on international best practices on the building of new cities, of new towns.”

De Lille said they were working with the London School of Economics and the local universities were on board.

“The faculties of urban development of our own universities all form part of the reference group,” she said.

The minister said they want to complete an evaluation framework early next year.

She said they also wanted to confirm and investigate the land ownership for the “new city” because they have not decided where it would be built.

“Once we have developed the complete strategy that we are busy with now – sort of a brief and a specifics of a kind of city we want – then by April next year, once this is approved by the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) and by cabinet … a proposal will go out to build this new city through an open competitive procurement process.”

De Lille said a lot of work has been done to date.

“I am giving a report back to the IMC hopefully next week. I was supposed to do it last week,” she said.

Political Bureau

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