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The vision is here

September 4, 2013: Tshwane Vision 2055 is official. The document, a guiding light to build a smart, inclusive city of the future, was launched amid much fanfare by the executive mayor. It is not a culmination, he said, but the beginning of the journey.

batonExecutive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa hands over the Tshwane Vision 2055 baton to City manager Jason Ngobeni, who has pledged to drive the vision forward

The long-awaited, highly anticipated development guide, Tshwane Vision 2055 – Remaking South Africa’s Capital City, has officially been launched by Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

“By 2055 our city should be a liveable, resilient and inclusive space in which citizens enjoy a high quality of life, have access to social, economic and enhanced political freedoms and where citizens are partners in the development of the African capital city of excellence,” he said in handing over the document to residents.

The launch came after a year-long intensive consultation on what residents would like their city to look like come 2055. During that year, the metro called for public participation to reflect and think systemically about the growth and development path necessary to rid Tshwane of the legacy of the past.

Set against the backdrop of the lit-up Union Buildings on the evening of 3 September – illuminating one of Tshwane’s treasures – the surroundings offered up the perfect location for soulful dancers to tell the musical tale of Tshwane. The night would not have been complete without an MC who lived up to the event, and Tshwane didn’t disappoint: John Kani, the legendary actor, director and playwright was that man.

Attendees included ambassadors, high commissioners, cabinet ministers and members of the mayoral committee, senior managers, labour and community leaders, councillors, and the chief Whip of the council. Ramokgopa took to the stage following a heartfelt welcome by the Speaker of council, Morakane Mosypyoe-Letsholo.

Collective aspirations

“Today we assemble to denote the zenith of what will go down into the annals of the short history of our new city as the most comprehensive, intense and yet collegial process of shaping our collective aspirations as the citizens of Tshwane,” said the mayor. “Ours is titled Vision 2055 precisely because we wish to make explicit the links with that historical landmark development when our people, through their legitimate representatives, gathered in Kliptown in 1955 to spell out the vision of a society they wished to inhabit one day.”

The year 2055 would mark a hundred years since people gathered on that auspicious occasion. The City of Tshwane’s long-term guideline was inspired by the clarion call of the Freedom Charter: the people shall govern. “We took this to mean that the people shall define and determine their own destiny not only through periodic casting of votes, but most importantly through determining the substantive basis on which they exercise governorship,” Ramokgopa said. He thanked the citizens of Tshwane for not only responding to calls for submissions and attending consultative sessions, but most importantly for showing abiding respect for the democratic ideals underpinning the whole process. “By so doing you have demonstrated loyalty, patriotism and a sense of civic responsibility beyond the call of duty; and with that, you have sent out a loud and clear message of the extent to which you value your aspirations and dreams,” he said.

“In the context of the centennial celebrations of the social, economic, political and cultural ideals enshrined in the Freedom Charter in 2055, we will also have cause to celebrate our own achievements of these ideals as defined by our citizens through a transparent and all-inclusive process.

“Approximately 20 years ago we won the right to determine our own destiny as a people and wasted no time in seeing to it that all our citizens had a meaningful say in the formulation of their collective aspirations,” said Ramokgopa. “We were able to collectively deliver this fundamental vision statement because not a single one of us doubted the integrity and authenticity of the process undertaken.”

Long-term interests

Tshwane Vision 2055 represented an emphatic answer by the majority of people to the critical question of how best to secure the long-term social and material interests of the citizens of the city. “Over and above these, we also committed ourselves as the country’s capital city to contribute towards the imperative of social cohesion by leading society to the realisation of a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society.”

The principles, goals and processes outlined in Tshwane Vision 2055 emerged as the most preferred purely as a result of their superiority and realistic posture as the only road map that could guarantee the attainment of a better life for all the citizens, he said. “Those of us whose acquiescence and acceptance the vision is yet to earn, we implore you to recognise and respect the majority whose voices and dreams are embedded in the principles underpinning the vision.

“We consider this vision as a crucial rallying point and platform to establish strategic partnerships with communities and stakeholders to imagine, transform, remake, and build a cohesive and adaptable society.”

Ramokgopa noted: “In this context, the implementation of Tshwane Vision 2055 is an exciting challenge [and] we cannot wait to put in place programmatic strategies for its realisation on a decade by decade basis … We stand ready to ride the monumental challenges thrown up by Tshwane Vision 2055 and we firmly believe that with precision and meticulousness, something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching.”

The adoption and official launch of Tshwane Vision 2055 was not a culmination of our journey, but merely its beginning, he said.

The mayor then handed over a baton to City manager Jason Ngobeni, who pledged to drive the vision forward.