The transformative potential of coordinated public investment, together with catalysed private sector investments in reviving township economies, was highlighted by former finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, in his 2018 Budget Speech.
Gigaba used the Bridge City hub in eThekwini as an example of a successful public-private partnership, which is leading to social and economic transformation. “By revitalising the township economy and reconfiguring our urban centres, we are radically transforming the unequal spatial planning of our cities,” he stated.
Bridge City: A success story
Bridge City, north of Durban, a joint venture between the eThekwini Municipality and Tongaat Hulett, is a mixed-use urban precinct linking adjacent areas to each other and the wider metropolitan region.
Founded on the existing rail service, with a rail station located under the Bridge City Shopping Centre, and Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) routes currently being built between Bridge City and surrounding centres, the development has attracted increasing interest as a decentralised residential and commercial town centre hub with an adjoining industrial business estate.
Tongaat Hulett development managing director, Mike Deighton, who is responsible for the company’s land conversion and development, remarks that the company partners with varying levels of government to realise transformation and growth.
“We have invested in this development together with the city because we have a deep understanding of the challenging socio-economic profile of our region. We are actively seeking development partners and investors who share this vision, and are able to deliver products that meet the goal of a truly integrated mixed-use development that represents the vision of a new urban future for South Africa,” says Deighton.
Reconfiguring urban centres
Gigaba further said that the government recognises the potential of intermediate cities, which are significant urban centres, and has therefore introduced more flexible grant funding arrangements for these cities over the medium term. In addition, to address weaknesses in project preparation, execution and delivery, which often leads to delays and cost overruns, a budget facility for infrastructure has been established to standardise and improve the management of public infrastructure projects.
Thanks and acknowledgement are given to Tongaat Hulett Developments for the information supplied.
Caption main image: An aerial shot of the Bridge City precinct, north of Durban.
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