Since his state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been working hard to demonstrate a determination to place SA on a more sustainable growth path. He has been at pains to make the case that this is not growth for the sake of growth, but a qualitatively different growth that can yield better opportunities for most South Africans. However, his February address had a glaring omission: he made little or no mention of how important the transformation and development of cities will be to this vision of a brighter, more inclusive future. A few days later, erstwhile finance minister Malusi Gigaba articulated in his budget speech that "cities are the heart of the national economy and hold the potential to drive our economic renewal". But urban observers would note there was little substance behind this sentence. It was only in 2017 that the cabinet agreed to an Integrated Urban Development Framework, more than two decades after the first attempts to secure cabinet endorseme...

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