Summit builds dialogue platform

2009-10-22 00:00

THE city is officially talking, which is being widely hailed as an achievement in itself. But it still has some way to go before a coherent and inclusive vision for its long-term development is reached.

The final day of the Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi Strategic City Summit ended with a commitment to further talks and support for the Midi-inspired process, but with no clear agreement yet on the future direction of the City of Choice.

SA Cities Network CEO Sithole Mbanga urged delegates to build on the momentum, but said a process is needed to allow delegates “more time for thorough and in-depth conversations in the key focus groups”.

Mbanga also suggested a consolidation of existing focus groups, the addition of a separate group dedicated to governance and accountability, clarity around time frames and monitoring and review mechanisms.

Msunduzi Innovation and Development Institute (Midi) trustee and South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Babu Baijoo said he was left feeling inspired. “We’ve created a platform for dialogue and debate,” he said.

“We also did not impose a particular will on delegates,” he said, referring to the decision taken by some delegates not to sign a pre-prepared statement of intent at the end of the summit, owing to concerns around what they saw as the failure of yesterday’s summary of strategic outcomes to capture the detailed fabric of discussions at focus group level. The statement contained a pledge to support the “initiatives, processes and projects deriving from the summit”.

Explaining his reservations, A Rocha director Alan Goddard, a participant in the environmental focus group, argued that economic opportunities to be derived from the city’s natural environment had been foregrounded at the expense of conservation priorities.

Terry Petersen, chairman of the Institute of Estate Agents (Pietermaritzburg and Interior), said some critical issues raised in Tuesday’s focus group on economics, infrastructure and business development were not sufficiently represented in yesterday’s overview, which focused largely on the development of the N3 corridor, a regional airport and clarifying the status of the city as a metropolitan municipality.

For delegates representing NGOs and community-based organisations, there were concerns that the poor and marginalised are being overlooked.

Baijoo said the value of the summit was the commitment by all participants to keep talking.

Midi trustee Professor Rob Fincham described the summit as an historic milestone. “There was some unhappiness about process, but everyone realised they wanted to be part of the process,” he said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.