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South Africa: Planned Urbanisation can Grow Economy
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Monday, December 12, 2016
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 12, 2016

“If we manage urbanisation well, strengthen the linkages between urban and rural areas, and reverse apartheid spatial patterns, it has the potential to increase economic growth, prosperity and social cohesion,” said the Deputy Minister on Thursday.

At the same time, Deputy Minister Nel said South Africa is not immune to an increasing magnitude of hazards. These hazards and disaster can be of natural or human induced origin.

The Deputy Minister said as more people and assets are concentrated in cities, an increasingly complex array of shocks and stresses can influence resilience, negatively or positively.

Factors that influence a city’s resilience include the range and severity of hazards; risk to lives and property; vulnerability and exposure of human, social, and environmental systems. It also includes the degree of preparedness of both physical and governance systems to any shock or stress.

Cities are increasingly expected to take concrete actions to adapt to risks associated with rising sea levels, floods, droughts and other natural disasters that are exacerbated by climate change and climate variability.

“Reducing the risk of disasters helps to protect development investments and enables societies to accumulate wealth, in spite of hazards. South Africa has a well-developed legislative framework to guide and support disaster risk reduction,” said the Deputy Minister.

The Disaster Management Act and the National Disaster Management Framework promote a holistic response aimed at reducing the likelihood of disasters and better managing disasters that do occur.

Despite progress made, said the Deputy Minister, several challenges remain, including capacity shortages and inadequate institutional placement of the disaster management function in provincial departments and municipalities.

Among other challenges is inadequate funding for proactive risk-reduction planning and activities.

“Building urban resilience and ensuring sustainable development require a close interface and integration of urban governance, climate and risk-sensitive development planning, as well as coherent systems, services and resources.”

The continuing drought has seen seven provinces as well as two municipalities, respectively declare provincial and local states of disasters. 

“It would appear that the drought is still persisting and its impact severely felt by our most vulnerable communities including farmers. 

Our water sources are extremely strained with some water services compelled to ration supply to its users. It is our collective responsibility to use water wisely while we work on ways to mitigate the effects of the drought.”

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