BYLINE: Roy Cokayne
The launch of the National Forum on Human Settlements and Urban Development offered South Africans an opportunity to engage in conversations meant to refine and improve the country's policies, Deputy Human Settlements Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks said on Friday.
This included the green paper on human settlements, which sought to revise the Housing Act, she said at the launch of the forum.
The deputy minister added that an improved understanding of the interface between rural and urban areas was critical for the formulation of national poverty reduction strategies, particularly in South Africa's context where rapid urbanisation and rural-urban disparities co-existed.
She said a better understanding of rural-urban linkages mattered because it provided the basis for greater understanding of the social and economic linkages between rural and urban areas, as well as policy measures that could improve the wellbeing of both urban and rural inhabitants.
Andries Nel, the Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, said there was an urgent need to respond to the challenges of rapid urbanisation.
Nel said this reality had been highlighted by analysis of urbanisation trends since 1994, which showed a steady upward cycle. He said 60 percent of the population currently lived in urban areas but this was projected to reach nearly 72 percent by 2030.
This reality had also been recognised in the National Development Plan (NDP), which called for urban areas to be centres for both economic growth and social inclusion.
Nel said the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) process being launched sought to profile the country's regional and urban development patterns, policies and interventions to date and through a series of collaborative stakeholder engagements propose "a new deal for South Africa's towns and cities". …