MEGA CITIES TO REVOLUTIONISE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements (GDHS) is implementing the long awaited mega human settlements projects, which will yield over 500 000 houses in the province. This comes after months of planning and raising funds from local and international investors. The Department has partnered with a number of developers to ensure that this is realised. Mega Cities are in line with the fifth administration of government as pronounced by Gauteng Premier, David Makhura during the 2014 State of the Province address when he said: “In the next five to 15 years, we shall turn the tide against the current spatial patterns of apartheid in pursuit of spatial transformation and modernisation of human settlements in our province. “We must insist on planned and integrated urban development which will enable us to build more integrated and sustainable human settlements and communities that are inclusive and diverse. We shall take radical steps to transform the spatial configuration and landscape of Gauteng province through better and co-ordinated land use management and spatial development. We shall work with municipalities and state-owned enterprises to ensure that a new built environment and inclusive spatial landscape emerges across the Gauteng city-region. This will be done through public transport infrastructure development and the creation of new integrated and sustainable human settlements and post-apartheid cities that are more connected, liveable, smart and green. “New post-apartheid cities will be a combination of modern public transport modes, integrated and sustainable human settlements that are socially and economically inclusive and promote urban green development. Particular attention will be paid to the West Rand and Sedibeng regions respectively, in order to revitalise their economies and connect them
to the economic centres of the Gauteng city-region. The renewal of old towns and inner-city regeneration will be a key focus of the provincial government, working together with municipalities and the private sector.” These Mega Cities are guided by the department’s mandate, which is to ensure the provision of Integrated Sustainable Human Settlements within a smart Gauteng City Region and its vision which aligns with the strategic paradigm shift away from sporadic and unco-ordinated developments to purposely plan and develop Mega Cities that are completely self-sufficient in providing for the housing, economic and social needs of the community. Mega Cities are post-apartheid cities that consist of more than 10 000 houses of different typologies. The typologies include bonded houses, Financed Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (Flisp) houses, rental stock, and RDP houses. This is done to cater for residents of different income and also bridge the gap between those who can afford and those that are disadvantaged.
Mega Cities will provide residents with mixed tenure options as the houses will also be available for ownership and rental. These mixed typology of houses will have free-standing and multi-story walk-ups, as well as the development of Smart Cities, including but not limited to the implementation and use of gas reticulation systems, renewable energy, solid waste and waste water recycling, along with broadband Internet connectivity. The Mega Cities also have social amenities such as schools, universities, public transport terminals, parks, and healthcare facilities, economic, commercial and industrial opportunities. The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements will implement a total of 31 Mega Cities. A number of new Mega Cities will be rolled out in this financial year. These new post-apartheid cities will be implemented in phased stages in the identified five mega city corridors. The corridors are: The Central Corridor (Johannesburg region), Northern Corridor (Tswane region), Southern Corridor (Sedibeng/Vaal region), Eastern Corridor (Ekurhuleni) and Western Corridor (West Rand region). Through the Mega Cities programme in the five corridors, the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements aims to build 520 000 housing units allocated into 140 000 housing units in the Central Corridor; more than 100 000
in the Eastern Corridor; more than 160 000 units each in the Northern and the Western Corridors and more than 120 000 units in the Southern Corridor by the end of the current term in 2019. As the Department rolls out the Mega Cities programme, which is about building new cities of the future that will radically transform how human settlements are delivered across all the corridors of Gauteng, it is going to work with key partners to ensure proper planning for all services such as water, sanitation, electricity, roads and social amenities. These partners will include: The Department of Higher Education, Department of Health, Department of Roads and Transport, Eskom, Rand Water and private sector among others. This is a move away from focusing on one project to a more clustered approach in order to maximise output in the provision of decent houses and impact on the eradication of informal settlements. The new cities will promote social, racial, economic and cultural integration. All the new cities will have major socioeconomic benefits with regard to decent employment and economic inclusion. Mega Cities will positively and decisively impact on primary, secondary and top structure construction infrastructure, as well as household economy. This is owing to the fact that Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, but experiences high levels of in-migration, which means land management and use must be more efficiently planned. Mega Cities will create a healthy and vibrant household economy that will ensure job opportunities are created closer to places of work, thereby reducing travelling costs and will also be close to other social amenities.