Living in the Corridors of Freedom of a Caring City

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

Cllr Christine Walters

Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Transport Councillor Christine Walters will on Wednesday 2 October be unveiling the City of Joburg’s (COJ’s) long awaited policy framework for transport in the City, the Strategic Integrated Transport Framework (SITPF) at the Johannesburg Zoo at 8.30am.

On the same day, under this year’s theme for Transport Month in South Africa of: “Living in the Corridors of Freedom of a Caring City”, she will also launch the COJ’s Transport Month activities. There will be details of the extension of Rea Vaya BRT services and other Transport Month activities to take place within the city during October.

Speaking to Executive Director of Transport in the COJ, Lisa Seftel, about what all of this means to the ordinary citizens of the City in the 130 wards, she referred me to Sipho Nhlapo who is in the Transport Month committee.  

Nhlapo declined to be drawn into the discussion and the unpacking of the SITPF, saying protocol didn’t allow him and that all would be revealed on Wednesday 2 October 2013, at the launch.

The idea of the Corridors of Freedom came from the COJ’s record budget of over R40 billion for the 2013/14 financial year consisting of operational expenditure of R36.3 billion and new capital spending of R7.5 billion.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance, Geoffrey Makhubo, delivering the budget said: “Johannesburg is the first municipality in South Africa to present a multi-year capital budget of R30.1 billion. The self-funding part of this Budget will grow to above 65% from a current average of 39%”.

We are able to achieve this despite the challenging global and regional economic environment,” he said. “In the current year our finances continued to strengthen, bolstered by sound financial strategies and forward thinking by the city,” he added.

The COJ’s achievement can be attributed to effective financial management and sound planning of our operations. “Within the City of Johannesburg there is a strong commitment to prudent financial management at all levels; ensuring tightened controls, strengthened policies and procedures and the attainment of a clean audit,” said Makhubo.

The budget followed on the Thursday 9 May State of the City Address by the Executive Mayor, Councillor Mpho Parks Tau. In this he made major announcements on the City’s intention to reshape its urban form, make a decisive break with apartheid spatial planning and construct a future based on equity, accessibility and sound economic principles.

At the core of this approach is the emphasis on Corridors of Freedom. These corridors will be developed to support inclusive, high-density, mixed-use developments to reduce commuting times and costs. During the course of the year, the COJ will be consulting with residents to finalise the nodes of the Corridors of Freedom with focus on the medium term being Soweto to the CBD (along Pert Empire); CBD to Alexandra; Alexandra to Sandton; Turfontein node and the mining belt. The most efficient urban form is compact, mixed land use with extensive public transport network that includes high intensity movement corridors and with attractive environments for walking and cycling.

The budget contained detailed programmes for spending by Johannesburg’s departments and Municipal Entities over the coming three years. More than 50% of the operating budget is allocated to sustainable services and strategic infrastructure.

The operating budget for public safety will grow by 5.1% to R2.3 billion. The focus is on crime prevention operations targeted at violent crime in particular and the continued roll out of the JMPD 10Plus initiative – the JMPD 10Plus initiative being a community based policing initiative which will see the deployment of at least 10 JMPD officers in each of the COJ’s 130 wards. This will be followed by the multi-disciplinary City teams moving into the wards to start with the implementation of the new strategy. The teams will not only be responsible for crime prevention but also report incidences of urban decay such as potholes, water leaks, faulty traffic signals, illegal dumping and derelict buildings.

There are a few different forms of transportation in South Africa. Some forms of transportation are road transport, railways, airports, water transport, and tramways. South Africa experiences a lot of deaths on the roads. As of 2013, about ten thousand people die on the roads each year. The national speed limit in residential areas is between 50 and 80 kilometers per hour and 120 kilometers per hour on the national roads and freeways.

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