Manzini City Residents & Stakeholders Influences a New Direction of The City Urban Planning!
Goal (11) of the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Goals states that cities are to be made inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Through the review and development of the new Town Planning Scheme, the municipality is in the journey of ensuring that SDG-11 is achieved by the target year 2030. Subsequent to the stakeholders and residents’ consultations that has been on-going for the Review and Development of a new Town Planning Scheme, stakeholders are informed that the process is at its final stage. The municipality is working with the engaged consultancy to incorporate the collected inputs from various stakeholders and thereafter, the Town Planning Scheme will be submitted to the Town Planning Board for approval as per the dictates of the Town Planning Act, 1961.
The draft Town Planning Scheme can be said to be responsive to the people’s demands and contemporary issues prevailing in the urban spaces. This is in line with one of the municipality Strategic objectives in the 2019-2024 Integrated Development Plan which states, ”to guide the City’s Development Towards Making Manzini a more livable city by 2024.” The 2016 New Urban agenda fully support the above- mentioned as it states that cities are for all, which refers to the equal use and enjoyment of cities and human settlements.
Without pre-empting, much of the draft Town Planning Scheme in preparation recommendations, here are the highlights of the recommendations contained in the document;
- Urban Agricultural Zone
The new scheme is introducing a new zone, the Urban Agricultural zone. It is targeting larger farms along the Eastern part of the urban area with a minimum plot size of 2ha, and it is developed to promote urban agriculture. Uses permitted shall include ploughing, depasturing, horticulture, poultry farming, dairy farming, breeding and keeping of livestock, apiaries, forestry, vegetable production, flower production, nurseries, orchards, etc.
- Expansion of Commercial Zones
The developments that have taken place within the urban area, such as the interchange, have prompted for the expansion of the city’s commercial zones. Some of the developments include increase of parking space in the city. In the 2013 scheme parking requirements were as follows, Shops were at 1 per 25m2 and Offices were at 1 per 40m2. However, the current scheme has put parking requirements at 1 per 20m2 for shops and 1 per 25m2 for offices. In addition, the new scheme has also introduced the Heavy Noxious Industry, with a minimum plot size of 2000 square meters, and uses permitted include factories, manufacturing yards, storage buildings, recycling depots and wrecking yards. Moreover, the new scheme has further permitted for buildings of maximum 20 storeys instead of the previous maximum 8 storeys.
- Urban Aesthetics
“The nature, scale, and form of the environment are the canvas upon which the plan is painted.” As Manzini City thrives closely for a first world city, the look and feel of the architectural design has become more prominent. Which is the main reason why the new scheme has included the introduction of building design standards that will guide development that is aesthetically pleasing and compatible with the surrounding areas to allow for creativity, and diversity and avoid monotony in design. Urban Aesthetics refers to the arrangement of the elements of a town in a beautiful and functional manner. This is more important as population growth, in the city has influenced directly the city’s architecture, determining a growth of residential constructions.
The Municipality will engage with residents to disseminate a summary of the Town Planning Scheme through pamphlets and booklets on the (12) wards of the city. Currently, various sections of the 2023 Town Planning Scheme can be accessed by contacting 7808233/79082333.
LAUNCH AND SIGNING OF MoU WITH MANZINI GWACATELA WOMEN COOPERATIVE COINCIDES WITH INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY THEME OF “EMBRACING EQUALITY”!
In an endeavour to fast track its women empowerment programme, the municipality launched and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a compost producing women cooperative called Gwacatela Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, on the 24th February 2023, at Council Civic Offices. The women cooperative is being supported by the municipality through its Local Economic Development (LED) programme to produce organic compost using food waste being collected from food establishments within the city. The municipality has placed the women cooperative under a business incubation process expected to last for a period of maximum 36-months whereupon it is expected to be fully operating independent and profitable to sustain itself. This initiative indicates the municipality commitment towards women empowerment, in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal 4-Gender Equality and Goal 8- Decent Work & Economic Growth. Worth noting is that the launch of this good initiative coincide with the beginning of the month of March known for the global commemoration of International Women’s Day on the 08th, which its theme is about “Embracing Equality”.
This is an endeavour by the municipality to shine the light on the key role played by women in business, workplace and society, which contributes immensely in the country’s development. Speaking at the official launch and MoU signing event, the Municipal Council of Manzini Chief Executive Officer, Lungile Dlamini, extended appreciation to national government and her development partners for spearheading such noble initiatives. She further congratulated the (7) member business women for working hard towards having their product hitting the market which is a difficult phase of a business and withstanding the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time of the launch, the cooperative had produced (50) bags of the organic compost which consists of both solid and liquid products available for sale at the municipality offices.
UNCERTAIN WEATHER CHANGES RESULT TO DAMAGE IN CITY’S INFRASTRUCTURE; MUNICIPALITY PLEADS FOR PATIENCE
The United Nations Environment Programme has played a major role in bringing a conscious awareness to cities about the negative impacts of global warming to city’s infrastructural development. One of the major negative impacts of global warming is the constant change and fluctuations in weather patterns. The Kingdom of Eswatini is not immune to the impacts of the recurring hydrometeorological hazard induced disasters such as Tropical cyclones. The recent cyclone Freddy is a perfect example as it resulted to heavy, torrential rains, which has left the city’s infrastructure in dismay. In light of the afore-mentioned, the Municipality recently signed an MoU with the National Disaster Management Agency who are perfectly oriented to offer effective frameworks and strategies to the city in preparedness of such unforeseen and uncertain weather changes. The city has numerous ongoing roadwork interventions in an effort to rehabilitate the damaged infrastructure.
The Municipality has also identified various townships with atrocious road conditions, namely; Ngwane Park Township, all townships gravel roads, Central Distributor, Thomasdale Township, and Madonsa township to name a few. As an intervention, Council has further drawn up an Emergency Recovery Plan, which will assist in designing an effective work schedule, which will aid in the rehabilitation process per site or township. Council would like to plead for cooperation, patience, and understanding as she attends to the mangled roads around the city of Manzini.