De Lille hopes to leave legacy


The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS -

She wants to build homes for poorer res­i­dents closer to their work­places.

The out­go­ing mayor of Cape Town, known for avert­ing a near cat­a­strophic wa­ter shortage, said she hopes to leave of­fice on the heels of an­other vic­tory in the fight against cli­mate change – slash­ing green­house emis­sions from trans­porta­tion.

Pa­tri­cia de Lille said South Africa’s sec­ond-largest city could re­duce its green­house gas foot­print by build­ing homes for low-in­come res­i­dents on land left un­de­vel­oped as a legacy from apartheid.

It is a unique solution tied to the coun­try’s cruel his­tory.

The parcels of land were used to buf­fet the white-mi­nor­ity from mem­bers of the ma­jor­ity black pop­u­la­tion who were op­pressed and seg­re­gated un­der the sys­tem of apartheid, which was im­posed by white-gov­ern­ments from 1948 un­til the early 1990s.

“It’s valu­able land, close to trans­port,” she said on the side­lines of a cli­mate change sum­mit in San Fran­cisco on Wed­nes­day.

Un­der her plan, De Lille said, erect­ing low-cost hous­ing on five city-owned plots will al­low peo­ple to live closer to their jobs in the city cen­tre, thereby cut­ting car trans­porta­tion and re­duc­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

“We’re us­ing those pieces of land that be­long to the city to bring about trans­port-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment,” she said, adding that trans­porta­tion ac­counts for about 70% of car­bon emis­sions in Cape Town.

“To re­duce car­bon emis­sions, you have to deal with the spa­tial plan­ning of your city,” said De Lille.

Her plan was adopted by Cape Town’s gov­ern­ment in 2016, but has not yet been put into ac­tion.

De Lille, a former anti-apartheid mil­i­tant who quit as mayor of Cape Town last month af­ter a bit­ter dis­pute within her po­lit­i­cal party, said it “must be im­ple­mented”.

“If it does not hap­pen, I will be the first per­son to protest and I will mo­bi­lize the masses,” she said. “This is an op­por­tu­nity for me to drive in­te­gra­tion of the city, by bring­ing peo­ple of colour closer to the city.”

De Lille’s res­ig­na­tion is ef­fec­tive on Oc­to­ber 31.

She has been a mayor of Cape Town since 2011, and has a large sup­port base among her fel­low mixed-race res­i­dents of the coastal city.

Un­der her ten­ure, the city, a tourist hub with a pop­u­la­tion of about four mil­lion, avoided a feared “Day Zero” when its taps would have run dry due to se­vere drought af­ter three years of low rain­fall.

De Lille was speak­ing at the Global Cli­mate Ac­tion Sum­mit, a three day event that has drawn about 4 500 del­e­gates from city and re­gional gov­ern­ments from around the world. – Reuters

You have to deal with spa­cial plan­ning of a city

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