The City of Cape Town has, as part of our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, established a new authority to accelerate our efforts to create a more equal society based on integrated communities, economic inclusion and access to opportunities.

The new Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) brings together the pivotal functions associated with the long-term sustainability of Cape Town and those who live and work here, namely: transport, spatial planning and urban development, the management of our environmental resources, and affordable housing.

With the amalgamation of these functions under one authority, the City can align its policies and strategies to be more responsive, resilient and dynamic in dealing with the challenges we are currently facing.

The high cost of transport, the long distances commuters have to travel to get to work, and the poor integration between the different modes of transport is an obvious failure of transportation and spatial planning. These failures entrench economic exclusion and threaten social stability.

Further to these challenges is the staggering scale of urbanisation and population growth. Cape Town currently has a population of approximately 3,95 million people, meaning our population has increased by 29% since 2001. This trend is set to continue, if not at a faster pace.

Our Integrated Human Settlements Framework – the strategy we adopted in 2013 to address the dire housing need – found that we will need to provide an additional 650 000 housing opportunities at an estimated cost of R101 billion over the next 20 years. This is a mammoth task. Addressing such a scale of need requires a radical shift in our financing and planning strategies and delivery methods.

As such, the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Strategic Framework, which was adopted by Council in March 2016, will be the new order of business

The TOD Strategic Framework is the City’s long-term development strategy. It prescribes how new developments across Cape Town should happen and how existing public infrastructure should be transformed to address the legacy of apartheid spatial planning, the high cost of public transport, and urbanisation, while also stimulating economic growth.

The strategic framework seeks to optimise the location of future residential areas for all income groups in relation to economic and work opportunities. This will hold substantial benefits for lower-income households who currently spend up to 45% of their monthly household income on transport and have to travel between 45 km to 70 km every day to get to work opportunities.

The TOD Strategic Framework is a bold commitment to transform our spatial reality over the next few decades. It is a new approach to integrated spatial and transport planning that prioritises more efficient land use, with increased densities and mixed uses. It prioritises the right development in the right locations with public transport and access as the determining factors.

Going forward, it means that the delivery of new housing opportunities will not happen in isolation, but in conjunction with access to work opportunities and access to public transport. It means affordable housing will be provided on well-located land, close to work opportunities, schools, social amenities and social services.

Our task is massive and it is urgent.

We will, in the next term of office and in line with the new Integrated Development Plan to be adopted by Council this year, take radical steps to accelerate change.

First of all, we need well-located affordable housing in our inner-cities and around transport corridors, for what is the point of having a job, but being unable to access it due to a lack of transport or because transport is unaffordable?

Secondly we will leverage City-owned assets such as land and property to achieve spatial transformation. We must capture our land value to create an inclusive urban fabric.

We have already embarked on an exercise to identify well-located City-owned land which can be developed optimally in terms of access to public transport, density and mixed use (commercial and residential). In these areas, residential developments will have to consist of a combination of social housing, affordable housing and middle- and upper-income housing (thus housing for those who can afford to pay).

The other reality is that we must find additional and alternative funding resources.

The National Government’s conditional grants set restrictive conditions which limit the pace and method of delivering housing opportunities. For example, the total Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG)/Human Settlement Development Grant funding allocation limits the number of housing opportunities that could be provided, while the distribution of the USDG funding between housing and bulk, connector and social infrastructure, limits the number of sites that can be serviced.

Going forward, the new Transport and Urban Development Authority will be the City’s driving force for achieving a more equitable city.

The TDA will promote development in the right locations with the aim of fast-tracking delivery so that we can achieve tangible results within the next five years.

We launched our first TOD project in July 2016 when Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority at the time, issued the prospectus for the development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct in the Cape Town central business district (CBD). There has been great interest in this project from investors – registered bidders must compile and submit their proposals by 9 February 2017 and we will provide an update soon thereafter.

Another five TOD projects that are in the pipeline are as follows:

  • In the Bellville central business district
  • In Philippi East as part of the roll-out of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service
  • In Athlone
  • Paardevlei
  • Gallows Hill and Ebenezer in the Cape Town CBD

In the next term of office, the City will either invest in the improvement of existing public transport infrastructure in these areas, or provide new public transport infrastructure to ignite urban renewal, economic growth, and job creation.

Thus, it is our intention to establish networks of activity along priority transport corridors where we can activate the spaces surrounding public transport infrastructure. In so doing, we can optimise and capitalise the value of that land.

The formation of the Transport and Urban Development Authority is the culmination of the planning we have done and the commitments we have made to build a city that is inclusive, integrated and sustainable. It is a necessary and well-timed restructuring to deliver on the priorities that this government has identified.

Going forward, the TDA will, in conjunction with other key City directorates and the private and public sector, implement the new approach to integrated spatial and transport planning to reverse the legacy of apartheid segregation and to meet the demands of future population growth. Key to this is to ensure that public housing is well located.

I want to reiterate that it is our vision to:

  • improve access to economic and social opportunities by addressing transport inefficiencies
  • create and encourage dignified and affordable housing opportunities on well-located land
  • use development as the catalyst for spatial transformation in creating efficient, inclusive and sustainable communities
  • ensure the City’s long-term financial, economic and social sustainability

We have a plan, we have a vision, and we are committed to radically transforming Cape Town’s spatial reality.

The return on investment will be measured not only in our long-term sustainability and efficiency, but also in the future social stability of Cape Town and our residents’ living standards and quality of life.