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Rural, urban renewal projects to be expanded

21st February 2003

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Government is planning to expand its Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme (ISRDP) and Urban Renewal Programme (URP), Provincial and Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi said on Thursday.

Briefing the media at Parliament, he said 45 percent of South Africa's population was crowded into the six largest metropolitan centres.

This was because people perceived these areas as presenting opportunities for them to make a livelihood, and thus moved there.

"We want to broaden these opportunities (to more areas)."
President Thabo Mbeki would soon announce further "nodes" to be included in the ISRDP and URP programmes, he said.

The government's determination to push back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment "finds expression" in a number of programmes, and the ISRDP and URP were prominent among these.

There were currently 13 ISRDP and eight URP nodes, estimated to be home to about 10 million people.

"These are areas where poverty is at its most endemic; there is poverty of income which derives from the unavailability of employment opportunities," Mufamadi said.

These areas either had no decent social or economic infrastructure, or where it existed, it was either in a state of decay and/or collapse.

"The urban nodes are pockets of poverty characterised by all manner of problems, including overcrowding and high incidents of crime."
These areas had, in the past, been allocated disproportionately low resources, and successful implementation of the programmes would alter previous allocation patterns.

"They have now been targeted for continuing state attention, which guarantees a better life for the people in these areas."
Most of the projects in the nodes were infrastructure related, followed by those focusing on economic development, social development, and capacity building.

The emphasis was on job creation, both permanent and temporary, and empowering people who were previously marginalised from the mainstream economy, Mufamadi said - Sapa.
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