Langrug wins prestigious SAPI award at “Planning Africa 2012”

By Sizwe Mxobo (on behalf of CORC)

The South African Planning Institute’s (SAPI) “Planning Africa 2012” conference was held in Durban’s International Conference Centre (ICC) between 17 and 19 September. The SAPI’s flagship conference aims to recognise excellence in planning in South Africa, and more broadly, on the African continent. Since the inception in 2002, the conference has become the largest planning conference in Africa, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders. The conference will provide a forum for an expected 600 to 700 delegates and presenters from the across the African continent and beyond, to reflect on key issues in the African context. On Wednesday night, as the finale of the the conference, the award ceremony was hosted.

According to the SAPI website,

The National Planning Awards of SAPI was established in 2008 to reflect on and recognise the valuable contributions that individuals and organisations make, to inspire their continued involvement and those of others and to promote the key role of the planning profession in public life. It recognizes valuable contributions and extraordinary performance in all aspects of the planning profession and a strong awareness of the planning profession among related professions, all sectors and the general public.

The National Planning Awards has become more prestigious and the interest has significantly grown among members and the public. Winners of the National Planning Awards will receive a specially designed award of recognition and will be recognized at the awards ceremony which will take place during the SAPI National Planning Awards and Gala Dinner on Tuesday, 18 September 2012. The winners and shortlisted finalists and their work will be profiled and featured to promote lesson sharing and information on good and interesting practice.

Siyanda Madaka (Langrug leader), Johru Robyn (planner in the Informal Settlement Management department, Stellenbosch Municipality) and Sizwe Mxobo (community planner at CORC) attended the award ceremony were Langrug was nominated in the “Community / Outreach” category.

The “Community / Outreach” nomination category is described as follows, “For a community, neighbourhood or group of citizens that has embarked on an exemplary participatory self development and/or outstanding community development project or programme that has improved the quality of community life and/or overcome difficult community issues and/or local circumstances”

In the nomination, the impact of the Langrug project was described as follows:

The upgrading of Langrug has drawn local, national and international attention. It serves as a “learning centre” for communities and municipal officials in defining and narrating a new planning and design paradigm for inclusive and pro-poor settlement upgrading. On a visit to the settlement, Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille remarked on the possibilities of this new paradigm in upgrading informal settlements, guided by the principles of co-production, inclusion and in-situ development. The Langrug case study was presented by Trevor Masiy (langrug leader), David Carolissen (deputy director: informal settlements department) and Zoe-Kota Fredericks (deputy minister of National Department of Human Settlements) at the World Urban Forum 6 in September 2012 in Naples, Italy.

The new partnership that was forged between the South African SDI Alliance (ISN, FEDUP, CORC, uTshani Fund, and iKhayalami) and the Stellenbosch Municipality with the upgrading of Langrug is paving the way for other informal settlements throughout Stellenbosch to see the service delivery and upgrading they require. The ISN is networking communities across Stellenbosch municipality to develop a long term upgrading strategy that will render the poor as central partners in development.

The upgrading of Langrug has demonstrated the multiplier effect of putting people first. The innovations triggered through partnerships with local government, academic institutions, and other stakeholders have rendered a locally responsive development plan that will ensure the future upgrading of Langrug.