Statement by the City's Mayco member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron
The City of Cape Town welcomes the findings of an independent survey which has recognised the City’s MyCiTi bus network as a leader in the field of African public transport systems.
The Siemens African Green City Index refers to the investment in the MyCiTi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) network which is being rolled out to historically under-served areas throughout the metro. As a result, Cape Town is among the top cities in the Index for the length of superior forms of transport such as Metro or BRT lines. The city’s superior public transport system measures 0,11 km per square kilometre, compared with the Index average of 0,07 km.
The continued expansion of this network is crucial to both the empowerment of previously disadvantaged communities and to ease the pressures brought by rapid urban development.
The report makes specific mention of the historically underserved West Coast region, the prevalence of minibus-taxis and private vehicles, and the poorly maintained rail system. It is with these challenges in mind that the City chose to roll out the service first to the West Coast region, particularly the previously isolated areas of Dunoon and Atlantis. The expansion of the service between the economic centres of Cape Town, Claremont and Wynberg and the informal settlements in the Metro South-East is also a necessary development.
In Cape Town, the population of our city is growing by 3,7% annually. It demands an equal percentage of additional economic growth and public spending in a time of heightened fiscal awareness. A balanced approach to sustainable urban development is non-negotiable.
It is therefore encouraging that the report rates other key City domains, such as land use, waste management (including reducing, reusing and recycling waste), environmental governance, air quality and water as being above average.
The City’s land use practices, in particular, have been rated well above average – making Cape Town the only African city to achieve this rating.
The report lauds the City’s measures to contain urban sprawl and the balance that it is seeking between necessary urban development and sustainability best practice. The report also recognises that the City has some of the most robust environmental policies among cities included in the Index, including the Energy and Climate Change Action Plan.
Cape Town has the most green space according to the Index, and has a robust set of policies in place to protect these areas. The report mentions that the city has an estimated 289 m² of green space per person – about four times the Index average of 74 m².
Over the years, the City has invested more than R250 million in 68 public spaces in an effort to create innovative and inclusive community-friendly areas for the residents of Cape Town. The city’s previously disadvantaged communities have been the recipients of the majority of this investment. More than R35 million has been earmarked for the public urban space programme in the next two years. This will include the commencement of projects such as the upgrades to the Pavilion Precinct in Strand, the Pampoenkraal heritage site in Durbanville, and the Langa Station southern forecourt.
The City’s management of its 16 reserves has also been recognised. The management of the natural environment also holds great economic potential. A City-commissioned study has shown that the tourism potential alone associated with the recreational use and inherent value of Cape Town’s parks, nature reserves, beaches and other open spaces suggested an industry worth over R2,9 billion.
The creation an inclusive, world-class public transport system and of spaces for families to enjoy or for commuters to travel through safely en route to their destination, is part of this administration’s aim to provide facilities which make all of the people of Cape Town feel at home.