Kgosientso Ramokgopa, executive mayor of Tshwane, unveiled the city’s new long-term development strategy called Tshwane 2055. This new strategy shows the growth and development plan for the city in the future (for the next four decades). Tshwane 2055 isn’t just a plan, it also shows the aspiration of the city because it want to leverage its status as the capital city and revamp its image as a cesspool of informal trading and traffic congestion.
Ramokgopa said that the city already approved a strategy in 2004. But since things have changes and new municipalities have been incorporated, the city feels the need to revise the City Development Strategy. So Tshwane 2055 isn’t a new process but a review of the already existing strategy. This review is needed because of the globalised world which has become more accessible. So as a city, it’s needed to respond to this.
Some of the key issues of the Tshwane 2055 strategy that the city will be working on over the next few decades are the issue of spatial re-engineering, shared economic development, creating a safer, more competitive, resilient and sustainable city. Another issue is that the governance has to become more transparent. People need to better understand their rights and this can be done if Tshwane is governed in a collective manner that is engaging.
The city now has some challenges related to poverty, unemployment and inequality. So the new strategy needs to address these challenges. That’s why the strategy can become a game-changer for Tshwane. Jason Ngobeni, city manager of Tshwane, highlighted that the new and improved strategy is developed in collaboration with planned developments in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. They did this because they feel like developing in isolation isn’t the way to go.
Although Tshwane 2055 is a Tshwane project, it also effect the rest of the province. The long term strategy wants to bring people from different cities together to reduce costs of transportation. They want to build a pedestrian-friendly city where the number of vehicles on the road is as less as possible and where hop-on/hop-off public transportation becomes reality.
The council also wants to remove parking on the sides of the roads and widen sidewalks because they all feel that the city needs to be given back to the pedestrians. That’s why they are for the moment consulting broadly with informal traders and taxi industries. And with all the parking places being removed from the city center, they plan to bring huge parking facilities at the entrance of the city and access these parking places with free train and bus services to the center.
Some other aspects of Smart Cities are being applied on Tshwane, like increasing police visibility for a better public safety and security of the city. And they also want to drive the city by smart technologies.