6 June 2018

South Africa: Deputy Minister Andries Nel - Western Cape MEC and Mayors' Forum

press release

Address by the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs, Mr Andries Nel, at the Western Cape Minister and Mayors' Forum, on "The Future Of Local Government: Building Resilient Towns, Cities And Communities,"

Programme Director,

MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell,

MEC for Economic Opportunities responsible for Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Alan Winde,

MEC of Community Safety, Mr Dan Plato,

Western Cape Executive Mayors,

Provincial and Municipal Administrators,

SALGA Western Cape Provincial Executive Officer,


Good Morning, Goeie More, Molweni,

It is my pleasure to be here today.

The month of June is recognised as Youth Month, in which we focus on the challenges facing our youth.

The theme for this year's commemoration is, "Live the Legacy: Towards A Socio-Economically Empowered Youth."

Certainly the youth of today are faced with a set of challenges vastly different from the ones many of us face.

And rapid urbanisation is one of them, as it plays a great role in determining the life trajectory of our country's youth.

As we discuss the future of local government and what we'd like to see our future towns and cities look like, let us also acknowledge that our actions affect the youth of our country and that our decisions should recognise the contribution that they can make in this future.

In discussing the future of cities, I would like to focus on how we build resilient cities.

I will also discuss the Agrarian Revolution as it is another initiative that will provide the youth of our country with greater opportunities, so that they do become empowered.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am sure that we have embraced the importance of urbanisation nationally and within the province. We now know that we can no longer afford to ignore and respond to the importance of urbanisation. What is also important is that our response to urbanization must be multidimensional, our IUDF is clear on this. One of the critical dimensions on how we respond to urbanisation is determined on how we tackle the issue of urban resilience.

To some urban resilience is seen as the "new kid on the block" but I am sure it would not be so new to our African forefathers. Over the past few years the concept has rapidly gained a central place in spatial and urban planning policy in South Africa. The State of South Africa's Cities Report, 2011, prepared by the South African Cities Network for example, was written under the broad theme of resilient cities, on the same breath, the State of Cities Finance Report, 2011 - also produced by SACN, applied ideas of resilience to the financial fortunes of cities

The City of Johannesburg in 2011 made urban resilience one of the key themes in its new Growth and Development Strategy, Jo'burg 2040. EThekwini municipality successfully bid to the Rockefeller Foundation for recognition of Durban as one of an initial 33 participants worldwide in a resilient cities programme. The City of Cape Town uses ideas of urban resilience in a number of policies and plans including, for example, the Low Carbon Central City Strategy 4, while both Tshwane 2055 and Ekurhuleni 2025 make clear reference to resilience in their urban policies.

As the years go by, we are beginning to see that the concept is also used in strategies and plans of a growing number of South Africa's intermediate and smaller municipalities, including in their Integrated Development Plans.

There are many definitions out there for Urban or City Resilience.

The Rockerfeller Foundation & ARUP define city resilience as the capacity of cities to function so that people living and working in cities - especially the poor and vulnerable - survive and thrive no matter what shocks and stresses they encounter.

ICLEI defines a resilient city as one that is prepared to absorb and recover from any shock or stress while maintaining its essential functions, structures, and identity; adapting and thriving in the face of continual change.

Whilst there are many definitions of what a resilient city is, I particularly like how the City of Tshwane define it in their long-term strategy, they refer to a resilient city as one "that can withstand shocks, roll with the punches, and come out stronger" - can it get simpler than that? In essence, this is what we want to see - our cities and communities to be able to bounce back quickly and emerge stronger to a stable state no matter what circumstances our cities find themselves in.

As we embark on this journey to build resilient cities, Prof Phillip Harrison urges us to remember that there is no single "truth" about urban resilience. It would be unfortunate if urban resilience became a new orthodoxy, displacing other helpful and important concepts. We believe that the idea of urban resilience is a very useful way of thinking about the ability of cities, and the many actors and structures that make up cities, to respond to the ever-present reality of change. It adds a further dimension, for example, to the weighty concept of "urban sustainability", but in itself resilience can only address a limited spectrum of what we must think about in relation to our urban environment.

Whilst the theme of this gathering is derived largely from the environmental changes that the Province has found itself in, such as global warming, heavy storms, water scarcity etc., we would not be doing ourselves justice if we looked at building resilience in our towns and cities from only the environmental angle, we should ensure that our cities and towns are resilient in other aspects as well, namely; economic resilience, social resilience and governance and institutional resilience.

Economic Resilience

The economic aspect of urban resilience is about the ability of city economies to adjust to difficult economic circumstances and emerge from the transition in a more advantageous position. This may involve adapting existing skill sets, technology, knowledge and fixed assets to new opportunities. This aspect explores whether local economic agents are sufficiently versatile and resourceful to adjust to altered conditions. It is also concerned with whether a city's economy is shifting from its inherited narrow base and concentrated ownership pattern to a more equitable and labour-absorbing growth path, which is particularly relevant to South African cities. It considers whether the informal economy is being strengthened and becoming more productive over time, and whether it is able to fill in some of the gaps in the formal economy and improve the livelihoods of those on the margins.

Social Resilience

The social aspect of urban resilience is partly about whether disadvantaged groups remain marginalised from opportunities and reflects on the level of inclusivity or exclusivity of the urban system. It also refers to the ability of urban communities to tolerate and assimilate migrant populations from rural areas and other countries without conflict.

Preservation of cultural and natural heritage is another element that enhances social resilience. This can be done for instance in Civic centre precincts, museums and old buildings by way of ensuring a live interface between the brown environment and the green environment, using the latter to enhance historical structures. Implementing social resilience programmes is vital to the realisation of a social compact.

Governance and institutional resilience

The aspect of resilience in governance and institutions concerns the capabilities of city-level institutions to anticipate and adapt over time to shifting conditions through learning and innovation. It is partly about the quality of leadership and the strategic powers and resources of local governance structures, as well as their level of astuteness in terms of their judgement of the situation, future threats and their appropriate response. This aspect considers whether they are able to stand up to other spheres of government and pressure from vested interests, and the extent and strength of their internal and external networks and relationships with other organisations. It also concerns their financial viability and ability to invest for the future.

This is exactly what the Department of Cooperative governance seeks to address in its recently adopted Integrated Urban Development Framework.

The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF)

In our recent engagement with the President, I was inspired by the leadership, challenge and the passion he portrayed on the implementation of the IUDF. In essence, the President not only challenged our current pace of implementing the IUDF, he went further and asked of us to use the IUDF to disrupt our national urban agenda, in his own work, the President referred to the IUDF as the Integrated Urban Development "Revolution". This meant to me, and I hope you here in the WC that we are indeed in a new dawn. The bar has been raised and we are transforming the IUDF into a national campaign. I have subsequently passed on this challenge to the IUDF family, which you are part of to move with speed to implement the IUDF/R. To this extent, COGTA will be organising a national workshop with all provinces to discuss how the IUDF will be rolled out within the next month. I have been informed of the eagerness of the WC to participate in this process.

The IUDF advocates that as a country, we need to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and disasters, and to realise opportunities associated with the rising incidence and costs of urban disasters, the current and anticipated impacts of climate change, and the protection of critical ecosystems and natural resources.

As more and more people and assets are concentrated in cities, an increasingly complex array of shocks and stresses can influence resilience, negatively or positively. The factors that influence a city's resilience include the range and severity of hasards; the risk to lives and property; the vulnerability and exposure of human, social, and environmental systems; and the degree of preparedness of both physical and governance systems to any shock or stress.

Cities are increasingly expected to take concrete actions to adapt to risks associated with rising sea levels, floods, droughts and other natural disasters that are exacerbated by climate change and climate variability. Reducing the risk of disasters helps to protect development investments and enables societies to accumulate wealth, in spite of hasards.

Building urban resilience and ensuring sustainable development require a close interface and integration of urban governance, climate and risk-sensitive development planning, as well as coherent systems, services and resources. A whole-of-government and all-of-society approach that is advocated by the IUDF emphasises the linkages between mitigation and adaptation, as well as the multiple economic, social and environmental co-benefits of urban climate action.

Cities resilience in the global context

In April 2018, leaders and decision-makers from around the world from local governments and small islands in developing and industrialised countries converged in the City of Bonn in Germany for the Resilient Cities Conference to look at how their countries' progress on Sustainable Development Goals in particular Goal 11- which talks about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable.

In that conference it was emphasised that:

Local governments are vitally important in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They need to use the implementation of SDGs, especially SDG 11, to leverage finance for climate change.

Cities play a very important role in climate change and should therefore take a lead in driving climate change initiatives.

Government must ensure that public investment is 'green'; meaning climate change and sustainability should be the guiding principle in all future plans and development agenda of cities if we are serious about building resilience.

In order to take the urban resilience agenda forward, these are some of the strategies we can employ:

Stronger local, regional and territorial dimensions in climate action are needed. At present only 60 percent of national plans consider the urban context, despite the risks they face and contribution they make to global greenhouse gas emissions. This link is too important to disregard in national climate policy.

Mobilising NGOs, SOEs and the private sector to collaborate with government at all levels through participation at various planning processes, and the implementation of projects and programmes through mutually beneficial public private partnerships.

Evidence-based, science-driven policy is paramount. Smart policy and action requires a strong evidence base and input from climate science.

Open information and data sharing opens doors. Advances in digitalisation can be leveraged to support sustainable, resilient development in cities. Openness enables cities to do more with and for citizens, researchers, enterprises and civil society organisations. It also allows for information to be used, reused and shared. Cities must therefore consider partnerships or entering into memoranda of understanding with academic and research institutions.

Collaborative action should cut across stakeholders groups and all levels of government. Climate action and sustainable development is not just a task for nations - a perspective increasingly taken up in global sustainable development frameworks. One thing becomes evident that as endeavour to respond to the challenges we face, there is no single solution but we can all begin crafting good practices that are specific to our circumstances. For cities to advance resilient development strategies, it is critical to pool together and leverage all available resources. To facilitate long-term and future-oriented change, experts and researchers have initiated collaboration projects that combine the efforts of both the private and public sectors.

As part of the IUDF implementation and our Department's commitment to building resilient cities, we have entered into partnership with ICLEI, which already has the following cities as members in this Province:-

Cape Agulhas Local Municipality, South Africa

Cape Winelands District Municipality, South Africa

City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

Overberg District Municipality, South Africa

Western Cape Provincial Government, South Africa

Beaufort West Local Municipality, South Africa

The partnership is under the auspices of the Urban Low Emission Development Strategies (Urban LEDS) II project which recognises that human activities in cities contribute a significant and growing proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, driving the demand for energy and other services in urban areas with rapid population growth.

Meeting the ambitious goals of the Paris Climate Agreement will require a fundamental transformation of how urban infrastructures and services, such as transport, energy, water, waste and urban space, are planned, delivered and maintained. It will also require effective monitoring, reporting and tracking of performance. Urban-LEDS II aims to contribute to this vital component of international climate action, with a focus on local needs and the role of all levels of government to enable action. The programme does this by promoting Urban Low Emission Development Strategies (Urban LEDS) and increase resilience through climate change adaptation actions, and in so doing, to contribute to the commitments made by South Africa in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)--as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the National Development Plan, the Integrated Urban Development Framework. A key focus of the project will be to assist in the development and improvement of mechanisms for improved intergovernmental relations relating to reporting into these international climate agreements and exploring opportunities for the financing of climate change projects.

In South Africa, the project is implemented by ICLEI Africa in Kwa Dukuza Local Municipality, Steve Tshwete Local Municipality, Mogale City Local Municipality, uMhlathuze Local Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Saldanha Bay Local Municipality, and Sol Plaatje Municipality, due to each municipality's commitment to the project. These pioneer South African municipalities are part of the national and international Urban-LEDS community that is comprised of 65 cities across Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Laos, India, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Europe.

The project will deliver:

Increased local capacity for low emissions development and financing through training, technical assistance and peer-to-peer exchanges.

Improved multilevel governance through the Talanoa Dialogues, identifying and making use of levers for vertical integration and multi-level governance re: climate reporting and climate financing.

Through this partnership, Drakenstein, Stellenbosch and George will also be supported in mainstreaming climate change under the Intermediate Cities Support Programme as the roll out unfolds.

MECs and Mayors,

Agrarian revolution

In the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by the President of the Republic of South Africa President Ramaphosa spoke at length about agriculture as being critical to lifting the economy of South Africa. He mentioned amongst others the following: "We will accelerate our land redistribution programme not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation. We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal".

The pronouncement during the SONA was in line with one of the resolutions taken during the indaba of Traditional Leaders held in June 2017 on the need to "Reverse the legacy of apartheid that ensured the permanent loss of land of indigenous populations; Expand socio-economic opportunities and activities towards the creation of economically and self-sustainable traditional communities".

Emanating from the above, the Ministry for COGTA engaged the National House of Traditional Leaders to start focusing on Agricultural Revolution as a mechanism to grow the economy, build capacity and ensure that food production remains key to farmers and landowners. The Ministry approached the NHTL to focus on acquiring land for realisation of the Agrarian Revolution. The traditional leaders appreciated this approach, especially a need to foster partnerships to accelerate the Agrarian Revolution Programme

At the MINMEC held on 18 May 2018 in Pretoria, Minister Zweli Mkhize addressed the Ministers and MECs that were present on how the Programme would be taken forward. Progress to date is as follows:

a) The NHTL and traditional leaders have already identified a total of 37 620 hectares of available land. The figure will change drastically once all provinces have pledged land. The aim is to have over 1 000 000 hectares of land for agriculture;

b) Sector departments are already implementing a number of programmes aimed at revitalising the agricultural sector. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform's Agri-Parks Programme seeks to put in place producer support infrastructure such as markets; agro-processing facilities as well as to create networks for producers, logistics and inputs suppliers. The objective of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Fetsa Tlala initiative is to ensure that one million hectares of underutilised land is brought into full production over the next few years. The Small Enterprise Development Agency's Co-operatives and Community Public Private Partnership Programme is also key as Agribusiness is one of its focus areas;

c) The targeted sector departments and State Owned Enterprises met to discuss and agree on the approach to rollout the Agrarian Revolution Programme. This initiative should be self-sustainable. This Programme must be used as a platform to build capacity and economic self-reliance;

d) The President emphasised the importance of working with traditional leaders to drive the Agrarian Revolution Programme;

e) COGTA convened an interdepartmental team to discuss the conceptual framework for the Agrarian Revolution. This meeting was followed by the Ministers' meeting held on 08 May 2018. Both the interdepartmental team and Ministerial meeting endorsed the Programme;

f) Technical capacity should be established at the district level to support the implementation of the Agrarian Revolution Programme. There should be a one-stop centre at the district level where departments and municipalities will be represented. This district agribusiness support centre should offer a range of services;

g) The actual owners and drivers of the Programme should be communities represented by traditional leaders, councillors, farming communities, local entrepreneurs, churches, cooperatives and civil society;

h) Communities and partners involved in this Programme should be able to develop rural economies through projects;

i) Each province should at least have no less than five projects that are driven at the district level where communities are directly involved;

j) There is a need to develop the agricultural value chain for rural communities. This will include bush clearing, fencing, extension services, project management, supplies, fertilisers, seeds, implements, sales, maintenance, irrigation experts, packaging, warehousing, fumigation, sale of chemicals, sales and marketing; and

k) Traditional leaders are engaging their communities and all stakeholders are ready to start implementing the Programme. The Inter-Departmental Team met with the Provincial Heads of Rural Development and Land Affairs as well as the Provincial Heads of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on 17 May 2018 to engage on this Programme.

At the MINMEC held on 18 May 2018 it was agreed that going forward:

The MECs responsible for local government should share ideas on how this Programme should be coordinated, managed and implemented. The MECs should advice on the type of coordination methodology that should be adopted for the Agrarian Revolution Programme;

The Agrarian Revolution Programme should be coordinated at the district level. The MECs responsible for local government should meet with the MECs for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Rural Development and Land Reform; Small Business Development; and other relevant sector departments in their provinces to discuss the coordination of this Programme at the district level;

The MECs responsible for local government should ensure that the district agribusiness support centres are established and are functional. Farmers, traditional leaders, members of communities should know the type of support they will receive from these centres;

This is, therefore, a call to all the ministers and mayors present here today to rally behind this initiative and support the agrarian revolution.

The Cogta Ministry will provide more details as we move forward with the programme.

I thank you for your time.

Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance

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