“If the city is to be sustainable, draw investment and grow, it’s crucial that the elements that are handbrakes to progress be identified, resolved or removed,” said Adrian Peters, chief strategy officer for eThekwini municipality. He offered highlights from a “short discussion document” prepared by the new City Planning Commission for Greater Durban at a recent networking breakfast for the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA). To a packed house of developers, investors and real estate industry representatives, Peters pulled no punches about the state of eThekwini, offering an analysis of why Durban as a city is not moving forward as it should, and acknowledging the failings of both the municipality and the private sector.
Peters urged SAPOA members to get involved: “The scale of the challenges facing Durban is beyond the capacity of any single organisation to address. You are all role players with an interest in the city. The plan has to be owned by everybody. Improved communication and trust between the public and private sectors will assist in this.”
The aim of the commission document is to stimulate debate and discussion and to get input and opinions from the industry. “Were the questions the right ones?” asked Peters. “Do they adequately capture the key challenges and opportunities facing the metropolitan area?” SAPOA KZN regional chairman Edwin van Niekerk stressed the organisation’s willingness and intention to get involved.