South Africa to build new ‘city’ to redress inequality

6 Oct 20

A “city opposed to Apartheid” is being built in South Africa, with the first phase of development having been launched by president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Mooikloof Mega City will be built east of Pretoria, one of the country’s three capital cities, and is intended to address the lingering impacts of formal racial segregation, which ended in 1994.

Ramaphosa said the development is “pushing back the ugly and horrible frontiers of the past, when the majority of our people were relegated to the backwaters of our living spaces in the country”.

He said Apartheid systems of land design led to the ‘40-40-40’ principle, which still sees many poor people living 40km from employment opportunities, spending more than 40 minutes travelling to work, and paying out 40% of their income on travel.

“Through [the project] we are bringing more and more of our people to the centres of human activity and economic activity, through proper design and planning and really well constructed living spaces,” Ramaphosa said.

In this way, Mooikloof will be “a city opposed to the Apartheid era”, he added.

The first stage of development will include 15,000 new homes aimed mostly at families, while the overall plans include 50,000 homes, with schools, offices, sports facilities and health clinics also in the pipeline.

The city, a public-private partnership, is one of many infrastructure projects Ramaphosa sees as the way out of the economy’s poor performance, which predates Covid-19.

He said infrastructure can be “one of the key drivers of economic recovery and growth” in the coming years, adding that the 84bn rand (£3.9bn) set to be spent on Mooikloof showed how seriously the government takes it.

Ramaphosa also announced the creation of a complaints office aimed at speeding up the planning process, and promised that in his economic recovery plan, which will be unveiled soon, there will be a focus on infrastructure.

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