15 September 2006
South Africa’s Gauteng province has launched a R3-billion project to develop 20 of its townships into upmarket residential areas.
Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa launched the Twenty Priority Township renewal programme in Tembisa on the East Rand earlier this week.
The 20 townships are: Attridgeville, Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Kagiso, Munsieville, Mohlakeng, Boipatong, Bophelong Sharpeville, Sebokeng, Ratanda, Katlegong, Kwatsaduza, Wattville, Daveyton, Tembisa, Refilwe, Rethabiseng, Orlando and Zola.
Shilowa said the aim was that, by the time the programme was completed, “young professionals and high-income earners will be choosing townships as places where they can buy property and raise their children,” Shilowa said.
Improvements to all the prioritised townships should be finished by 2009, according to the the provincial government.
The focus will be on building safe, sustainable communities where all residents will have decent shelter with all the necessary facilities, including clinics, roads, schools and sport and recreation facilities.
Townships like Soweto are already undergoing a major facelift, with billions of rands being pumped into tarring roads, putting up street lamps and developing properties such as shopping malls.
Shilowa spoke against the historical marginalisation of townships, saying it could not be allowed to continue when the provincial government sought to consolidate Gauteng’s role as a globally competitive city region.
“Our strategy to build Gauteng into a competitive city region requires us to grow the economy, involve marginalized economic communities and ensure sustainable livelihoods.”