Support for the Preparation of 2006 State of South African Cities Report



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
South Africa
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
a) Scope and focus of the report i) The structure of the report could have allowed for broader analysis with private sector and community voices. Future SoCRs should make more space for these voices. ii) The report would have been improved by extending the infrastructure analysis to broader city services not just municipal infrastructure. iii) The data analysis should also be extended beyond the member cities in future. b) Presentation of report i) The final editing and rationalization of the wide range of writing inputs was a key success factor in the project. ii) The quality of the publication was acknowledged and the navigation tools are useful. c) Reliability and accuracy of analysis and conclusions i) Almanac must continue to be the framework for State of the Cities Reporting as this can now show trends over time. ii) There is a need to extend the time for defining indicators and populating the data in future. iii) There is also a need to align this reporting process with other monitoring systems. For example, the date of the next report should be linked to a major data release such as the community survey of Stats SA. The National Treasury’s process to streamline financial data requests should also be noted, and the new Government-wide monitoring system. iv) As minimal gains in data quality can be expected in the years ahead, a broader research agenda – including public domain qualitative research – should be developed. While this will help to verify data, it will also establish research partnerships to the benefit of the SACN. v) Data must support a message. vi) The next SoCR should be measured against selected performance targets for 2011. The SACN should start now to identify what the commitments are for 2011, perhaps in the form of an urban scorecard. This will track ‘moving goalposts’ in medium term plans. vii) More visual maps such as satellite imagery should be sourced to improve the communication of information in the SoCR. d) Writing and production process i) A research agenda with longer timeframes must be developed. ii) SoCR should be viewed as a franchise, and more partners should be drawn into the reporting system. iii) Scenario planning is a very useful tool. In planning the next SoCR the SACN should convene a session that will set a vision and then the research team can work backwards from that point. iv) A report that aims to change views and behaviour should present data on priority strategic issues and also extrapolate on trends to get people to think about the longer term. For example, intergenerational time frames for service demand can inform major projects such as public transport projects. v) The writing and editing process was very disparate (with core writers and other inputs requiring co-ordination). It may have been better to combine expertise more coherently. The report would also have benefited from more consultation between writers, allowing them to develop more powerful conclusions. The South African Cities Network commissioned a review of the 2004 and 2006 State of the South African Cities Network reports that were both supported by CA. The outputs of the review were a State of Cities Toolkit as well as a note on lessons learnt from SOCR processes. Both of these documents are uploaded under ‘other documents’ on the database. It is also filed under wbdocs:


The cities in Gauteng region of South Africa produce more than 30% of the nation’s gross domestic product. However, during 1996-2000, these same cities experienced more than 200% increase in the number of households earning zero income. This dichotomous pattern poses one of the major challenges that leaders in large and small cities are faced with, as urbanisation changes the socio-economic landscape of South Africa. Since its inception, South Africa Cities Network (SACN) has been working on these urban development issues in cities. During its operation in first three years SACN developed knowledge products and added value through its input to processes which address governance challenges as well as opportunities for cities. These knowledge products included the first State of the Cities Report (2004), guidelines for urban development zone, and inputs for urban development policy among others. SACN seeks support from Cities Alliance for the production of the second State of the Cities Report (2006) and for research and dissemination of issues related to the report mainly in the area of city management, financial sustainability, governance, economic growth and competitiveness.
Produce the second State of South African Cities Report, to be published in 2006; and Support the continuing creation and dissemination of knowledge products related to the use of city development strategies and key themes in urban management, so as to enhance the ability of SACN members to efficiently use their resources to build sustainable cities.
1) Publication of Second State of South African Cities Report a. Research papers on key issues in urban development and governance b. South African Cities Conference c. Establishment of editorial committee and appointment of Chief Editor d. A series of editorial workshops to refine the report in 2006 2) Dissemination of the State of the South African Cities Report to national, provincial and civil society stakeholders
Expected Impacts and Results
Targeted Planning City specific and targeted planning by national sector department was achieved. Practical guides and tools for enhanced city governance and competitiveness were produced. Building Consensus The State of the Cities Report was instrumental in building consensus for the role of the cities in the national development agenda. Wide Dissemination of the Report The State of South African Cities Report was disseminated widely. Around 2,789 copies of the report distributed (1,410 in hard copy, and 1 379 downloaded from the website). At least 1,200 people were exposed to presentation of the findings and conclusions of the report. A Significant exposure was achieved in the print media with a further 10 pages of articles in specialist publications such as Delivery, Finance Week, and Financial Mail. A series of features on each member city was published by Succeed magazine. All in all, the estimated value of the airtime and print space given to the State of the Cities Report is over R5 million. Setting up a dialogue and discussions with future research and monitoring partners The State of South African Cities Report was effective in setting up a discussion with future research and monitoring partners. In particular, Stats SA has agreed to work closely with the SACN through a new urban indicators reference group. This group will include the Presidency and align itself with the new Government-wide Monitoring System that is being put in place. The publication of the first edition of the State of Energy in SA Cities (by Sustainable Energy Africa) also reflects the structure of the SoCR and will be included in the suite of State of City reports. Progress has been made in assembling a project team (consisting of the SACN, the Institute of Municipal Financial Officers and the DBSA) to lead the production of a State of City Finances in October 2007. The plan is to convene a City Summit on municipal finances to coincide with the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting that will be held in Cape Town in November 2007.