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    Durban, South Africa

    March 2013


    The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), in partnership with The Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) of eThekwini Municipality, as part of its International Learning Series, hosted a Learning Exchange on Intermediary Cities, together with KwaDukuza Municipality in collaboration with the KwaZulu- Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (KZNCOGTA) and the Newcastle Municipality. Supporting Secondary Cities is also an important focus area for the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and South African Cities Network (SACN) MILE supports UCLG ‘s agenda to develop, well-informed, participative and realistic policy and plans on the management of Cities through improving urban strategic planning and competitiveness in world cities; in this Learning Exchange, the focus was on the concept of Intermediary Cities, currently known as Secondary Cities in South Africa. Within this framework, SACN, noted in recent research (March 2012) the important role Secondary (Intermediary) Cities play as alternative urban centres that are catalysts in their regions acting as markets, administrative and service centres and links to metros. Internationally, there is recognition of their role as drivers of economic growth. This Learning Exchange will apply the lens of the Intermediary Cities paradigm to urban

    strategic planning in two municipalities, KwaDukuza and Newcastle, as a way of enabling

    such centres to plan towards becoming a viable Intermediary City.

    Overview of the Learning Exchange

    The goals of the MILE Learning Exchanges is to provide an arena for engagement amongst researchers, policy developers and local government practitioners, to present and discuss

  • new and on-going practice with a view to forging closer links between involved in city learning. The overall objective of the learning exchange on intermediary cities was to understand the major characteristics and role of Intermediary Cities in general and observe the South African experience, explore the use of urban strategic planning in prioritizing actions for cities in establishing themselves as viable Intermediary Cities. Furthermore it was vital for the learning exchange to recommend concrete suggestions for the host city, KwaDukuza and Newcastle and how they can develop as viable Intermediary Cities; and to establish a learning platform in Southern Africa in collaboration with government, and city and local government organizations, to enhance the growth and special role of Southern African Intermediary Cities and to use them as a base for transferring valuable knowledge to other cities in Africa.


    Monday, 18 March 2013

    Session One: Official Opening

    Programme Director, Mr Eric Apelgren (Head of eThekwini Municipality’s International

    and Governance Relations), welcomed the delegates. He acknowledged the presence of

    participants from nine countries around the world. The countries included Angola, Brazil,

    Spain, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

    Setting the Scene

    As part of the official opening, representatives from Local and Provincial Governments of

    South Africa, The United Cities in Local Government (UCLG) and the South African Local

    Governments Association (SALGA) provided input on behalf of their organisations.

    Mr Mandla Manzini, the Executive Director of KwaDukuza Municipality, gave a brief

    description of the municipality, including its geographical information, statistics and the

    vision for the municipality. He then introduced KwaDukuza Municipality’s Mayor, Cllr R M


  • Cllr R M Mthembu of KwaDukuza Municipality thanked the UCLG for choosing to host the

    learning exchange in KwaDukuza Municipality. He described KwaDukuza Municipality as a

    ‘fast growing town’ with assets that are utilised by the province at large. Cllr Mthembu

    suggested that we use this platform for learning and sharing.

    Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala, Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, suggested that this

    Learning Exchange is an opportunity for municipalities to share experiences and not

    compete. As a member of the Urban Strategic Planning Committee of the UCLG, Cllr

    Shabalala reflected on the past five years that eThekwini Municipality has worked with the

    UCLG. She said that eThekwini has come to appreciate the valuable platform that the UCLG

    has offered in connecting cities and facilitate learning. It is clear that city to city learning is a

    powerful model and eThekwini will continue to engage in such practice.

    Sara Hoeflich, Deputy Chair of the UCLG, said that the Intermediary Cities Learning

    Exchange is an excellent example of how UCLG is working with local municipalities around

    the world. When speaking about the Intermediary Cities concept, Ms Hoeflich suggested

    that we must consider ‘the role’ the city is playing, primarily. She said that we must also

    consider the city’s leadership and the characteristics of the leadership. The strategy for

    Intermediary Cities is to build on historical local leadership and maintain relationships with

    surrounding cities.

    Mr Seana Nkandla from the SALGA provided Message of Support from the association and

    also an overview on intermediary cities in SA. He suggested that South Africa has committed

    to differentiation in the way that we manage municipalities. SALGA has acknowledged that

    South Africa has a wide variety of municipalities. The organisation is in the middle of

    developing an integrated urban development framework. Within this context, SALGA is

    seeking to establish the role of secondary cities. Mr Nkandla recommended that it would

  • be beneficial not to use basic statistics for intermediary cities but look at them as unique


    Cllr Welcome Mdabe, Mayor of ILembe and Chairperson of SALGA KZN, expressed his

    gratitude to the organisers of the event. He suggested that the crux of this engagement

    would be to determine how to balance growth and development, taking into account the

    movement of people.

    Honourable MPL. Ms. N. Dube MEC - COGTA said that it is very important that we use this

    particular platform for learning and sharing experiences amongst practitioners. She

    explained that our cities are engines for economic growth. MEC Dube also expressed that

    we need to determine how intermediary cities can assist us in achieving our millennium

    development goals and sharing our experiences towards one national goal.

    Session Two: Building an Understanding of Intermediary Cities: from International to

    Southern Africa

    Ms. Adele Hosken, from the Cities Alliance, presented on the organisation’s study on

    Secondary Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. She gave insight on Cities Alliance’s history of

    strengthening and promoting the role of Local Government and sustainable urbanisation;

    emphasising that UCLG has been an instrumental member in driving this agenda. Ms Hosken

    explained that Cities Alliance recognises the importance of Secondary Cities and that the

    mechanisms to respond to the problems Secondary Cities face are not always appropriate.

    The study is expected to develop the concept further.

    Professor Torne, from CIMES, highlighted his involvement in research projects and studies

    on secondary cities around the world. His main argument was that academics have

    struggled to concretely define intermediary cities. However, he suggested that one can

  • determine a city’s ranking by looking at population, dimension, characteristics, culture,

    services, diversity, creativity, geographical spectrum, resources and physical transformation.

    The world’s rural population represents 49% of the world’s total population. If governments

    neglect investment in intermediary cities, it would prevent further development of these

    spaces. He argued that Africa has a number of intermediary cities with great development

    potential. It would therefore be important to identify Intermediary Cities because we can

    begin to undertaken strategic planning in anticipation of rapid urbanisation. Cities

    essentially need to understand their characteristics, their shape and their profiles in order to

    better plan for development. Prof Torne suggested that the CIMES study, at an international

    level, recognises the huge potential of the intermediary cities throughout the world.

    Mr Mbanga, from the South African Cities Network (SACN), spoke about the Secondary

    Cities study being conducted by organisation. He explained that the SACN undertook the

    study in order to determine the difference between ‘metropolitan municipalities and non-

    metropolitan municipalities’. Mr Mbanga suggested that the concept of ‘differentiation’ has

    gained a lot of traction in South Africa’s policy environment. He explained that SACN is

    interested in differentiation for a number of reasons. Firstly because, we need to determine

    how to make our society more inclusive; secondly, to find ways of ensuring that ‘towns’ or

    ‘small cities’ are continuously developing and las

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