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New South African smart city planned in unexpected location

The ANC has been working on plans for a new South African smart city between Port St Johns and Margate on the Wild Coast, reports the Sunday Times.

Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma presented the plan at the ANC’s national executive committee lekgotla earlier this month.

In her presentation, Dlamini-Zuma described the proposed city as “coastal, smart, vibrant, integrated, prosperous, sustainable and resilient.”

According to the ANC, the new “eastern seaboard development” will reduce unemployment, promote tourism, and reverse migration and apartheid spatial planning.

The coastal area between Port St Johns and Port Edward, close to Margate, currently has no significant towns or road infrastructure.

This situation may change thanks to the N2 Wild Coast Road Project, which is underway.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent comments about the N2 Wild Coast Road Project highlighted plans for road improvements in the region.

There are currently seven projects developing 112km of a new highway between Port St Johns and Port Edward and improvement projects along the existing N2 and R61.

“Of this, the Port St. Johns and Port Edward portion is a greenfield project that commenced in 2016,” said Ramaphosa.

“This is SANRAL’s flagship infrastructure project here in the Eastern Cape. It is one of 18 designated national Strategic Integrated Projects of catalytic value.”

He said the project would benefit tourism both inside and outside the province and help to grow the provincial and national economy.

“It will create a trade corridor running along the Indian Ocean coastline from Cape Town through to Gqeberha, to East London, to Durban, and to Ermelo in Mpumalanga,” said Ramaphosa.

The planned smart city on the Wild Coast forms part of numerous new smart city projects by the government.

During his 2021 state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said many new post-apartheid cities are being conceptualised across the country.

These include the Lanseria smart city, the Durban Aerotropolis, and the Mooikloof Mega-City in the east of Pretoria.

While the Wild Coast Smart City will reportedly be different from the one planned near Lanseria, the latter project may provide insight into how the government would go about planning a smart city.

Lanseria Smart City first entered planning in 2007, and was conceived as South Africa’s first city to be built around an airport.

The project rose to prominence in 2020 when Ramaphosa and Gauteng Premier David Makhura mentioned it in their 2020 state of the nation and state of the province addresses.

Crosspoint is working with the Gauteng department of human settlements to implement the project over a ten-year period, and is also working with the PIC to develop a 90-hectare Lanseria Business District.

The city is focused on becoming the first post-apartheid city in South Africa to be premised on best practices in urban sustainability, and the principles that underpin “smart cities”.

“It is to be inclusive of the broadly defined South African socio-economic spectrum and must stimulate a vibrant, mixed urban economy,” states the city’s master plan.

Lanseria International Airport would be the primary economic driver in the city, with plans to expand the airport from its current 3.5 million passengers to annum, up to 20 million in the future.

The city would be eco-friendly, feature rainwater harvesting, and solar energy to limit its carbon footprint.

It would also prioritise a reduction in car usage by making it easy to walk or cycle to school, malls, and work.



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