Planning for the PMB of 2030

2009-08-26 00:00

A TWO-day “strategic city summit” set to change the face of Pietermaritzburg over the next 20 years takes place in October.

Preparations are under way and focus groups from different sectors are meeting to come up with ideas. They will contribute to an action plan for projects and strategic decisions that will shape the city.

The initiative has been organised by the three big players in the city: Msunduzi Municipality, the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It is being done through the organisation that they jointly set up in 2005, the Msunduzi Innovation and Development Institute (Midi).

Director Francois du Toit says the aim is to bring together prominent local, national and international specialists to develop and support a series of tangible projects that will grow the city.

He points to the International Convention Centre in Durban as an example of such a project. He says the vision and planning for the centre started 20 years before it was built.

Du Toit says any planning scenario should take into account that Pietermaritzburg is the capital of the province and that it will have metropolitan status by 2011.

“It is also strategically placed on the commercial and industrial axis between Durban and Gauteng. Its contribution to the dynamism of these two entities at either end of the axis needs to grow,” he said.

Other aspects that feed into the vision are the rich agricultural hinterland, the number of top schools in and around the city and its rich cultural heritage.

But there are also the challenges of high unemployment and poverty that have to be considered.

Du Toit said key issues likeley to emerge at the event are: the creation of a technologically “smart” city; new business directions; sustained urban agriculture; a successful metropolitan open space system and the revitalisation of the inner city.

The theme of the Summit is: “Living in the Future: Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi 2010-2030”.

The event will be held at the Golden Horse complex. Among the key speakers are businesswoman and academic Dr Mamphela Ramphele; Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim and KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize.

For details of Midi and how it is positioning Pietermaritzburg for the future and within the global economy, see page 9.

•All those interested in shaping the future of Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi

•Industry and business leaders

•Provincial and local government senior management

•Training and education institution leaders

•Union and labour representatives

•Specialists in the environmental, health, sports, arts and culture sectors.

FILL in a registration form, which is available from Midi. Details are avilable at 033 386 0416 or info@midi.org.za or at the Midi website: www.midi.org.za. The registration fee per person is R750. There is an “early bird” registration fee of R600 per person for registrations sent in on or before October 2 by noon. Companies or organisations that would like to help in sponsoring the summit can contact Midi director Francois du Toit for details on sponsorship packages.

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