Academics, thought leaders add to the IDP narrative
Academics, thought leaders add to the IDP narrative

Several Johannesburg academics and thought leaders contributed to the City of Johannesburg’s draft 2015-2021 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) process at a round table discussion at Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Tuesday night  (19 April).

Facilitated by Professor Abe Ndlovu and the City’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance, Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo, the session sought to engage academics and thought leaders on ways in which the IDP could be improved and made more inclusive.

“By inviting new voices into the strategy-making process, we gain valuable insights and perspectives that can advance the document prior to it becoming policy,” MMC Makhubo said.

The panel included Professor Ivor Sarakinsky of the University of Witwatersrand; Dr Naude Malan and Dr Shanale Barnabus, both from the University of Johannesburg; Yamkela Fanisi, a student at Wits; and Dr Blake Lefatola, of the City of Johannesburg.

“Find enablers of innovation and ways in which to maximise these innovations, for example the Green and Blue Economy. Find ways in which to integrate projects such as the biogas initiative with sewage waste flows,” said Prof Sarakinsky.

He also suggested that infrastructure be provided to maximise efforts and functions of informal waste collectors and recyclers to further reduce waste going to landfill sites. Prof Sarakinsky also said energy-efficient lighting should be a priority when erecting new public lighting.

“There are better outcomes to be had with the resources already available, we just need to harness these ideas,” he said.

Dr Malan suggested the City use technology to change the way it did business. He said enterprises could be created by harnessing networked action with the community and integrating service learning to reduce unemployment among the youth.

“Technology is available and it can make a huge difference in operations. I suggest connecting budding entrepreneurs with successful businesses to build new social capital,” said Dr Malan.

Dr Barnabus commended the City’s Back-to-Basics approach, saying to attain community buy-in and trust, the City needed to improve its community dialogue and engagement.

“By having leaders on the ground who are accountable to the community, the efforts of the City will be improved as a result of an increased trust relationship. From an academic standpoint, the IDP can be improved by ensuring there is limited wasteful expenditure through eliminating duplicated efforts and making plans and projects more accessible for the people they intend to serve or benefit,” said Dr Barnabus.

Fanisi said efforts by the City to roll out the Corridors of Freedom were an ideal way to address the needs of students.

“Joburg is characterised by a huge youth bulge and integrating this age group into various opportunities and projects is an attractive option. I feel the Corridors of Freedom and improved public transport efforts will go a long way towards including the youth bulge into the City more effectively,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the City, Lefatola said better working relationships between the City, academia and the private sector were being explored to further develop the IDP vision. He said existing relationships, like the one with the University of Johannesburg in the Vulindlel’ eJozi programme, had proven that such relationships had huge potential for positive change and empowerment.

Contributions from the floor included:

  • There is need to make the IDP process “less political and more practical”;
  • Focus on vulnerable groups;
  • Improve SMME support; and
  • Maximise youth potential.