07 October 2021
The approval of the Soweto Strategic Area Framework (SAF) by Council today is a demonstration of the City of Johannesburg’s commitment to serving the residents of South Africa’s largest township, with the aim to create jobs, develop the local economy, reduce poverty, gender and social inequality.
Selected as one of the priority intervention locations in the 2016 Spatial Development Framework (SDF), the South-Western Township (Soweto) is widely recognised for its great potential to grow into a true City district that can function independently, and further provide its residents with integrate human settlement where they can live, work and play.
Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Development Planning, Cllr Thapelo Amad said the approval of the Soweto SAF was a milestone achievement to the people of Soweto, who had been marginalised for decades through apartheid spatial planning.
“It is our responsibility, as the members of Council and the Government of Local Unity, to make decisions that will not only change the spatial landscape of areas such as Soweto, but to create a lasting legacy that can be found in affluent, suburban parts of Johannesburg today,” said MMC Amad.
The approval of the framework comes days after the launch of Soweto Construction Infrastructure and Property Chamber, which will make it easier for locals to collaborate with big firms and develop ties, particularly while building and construction is taking place within their areas.
Soweto was subsequently identified in the 2020 Nodal Review as a Regional Node, with a high mix of land uses characterised by parameters that allow for an intense urban fabric.
Albeit the permissions, there are many constraints hindering economic development in Soweto, including those relating to spatial inefficiency; mismatches between where poor people live and where economic opportunities exist; insufficient capacity for innovative and socially-rooted urban planning, and evidence-based decision-making and financing.
“Communities in Soweto are still living in unacceptable circumstances that do not enable them to thrive; in conditions that lock them in a perpetual cycle of poverty and spatial injustice,” added MMC Amad.
The Soweto SAF is a pioneering project initiated through the Global Futures Cities Programme that is run and funded by the UK Government’s Prosperity Fund.
Aimed at supporting a range of strategic interventions in 19 cities across 10 countries, the programme seeks to address key barriers to prosperity that focus on urban planning; transportation; and resilience with big data and project finance, as cross cutting themes.
The formulation of the Soweto SAF was carried out through extensive engagements and workshops with members of the community; to allow them the platform to voice their expectations and for them to present community-owned solutions to issues that affect the spatial vision that they have for their area.
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