Mbeki has harsh words for town planners

Too often land for the poor is demarcated far from job opportunities in apartheid fashion, President Thabo Mbeki told South Africa Local Government Association (Salga) conference delegates yesterday.

Too often land for the poor is demarcated far from job opportunities in apartheid fashion, President Thabo Mbeki told South Africa Local Government Association (Salga) conference delegates yesterday.

"Except for a few cases there is still a settlement pattern for poor black people to be on the outskirts of town, far from em-ployment," he said.

"It is unacceptable for the allocation of land close to employment centres to be solely for the upper end of the income market."

This was a failure to use housing as a catalyst to integrate communities separated by apartheid, said Mbeki.

He further criticised the lack of sufficient sports grounds and parks being built in housing developments. "Many children grow up with no place to play."

Though Mbeki re-ceived a warm welcome from the 1500 or so delegates, he also criticised many for not responding to the needs of the community.

"Clearly those who decide to stand for election as councillors must be committed to serve their people," he said.

"It is wrong to meet them only when the president visits and it is unnecessary for the president to have to remind councillors that their primary responsibility is to serve their people."

Mbeki expressed concern about the high turnover of councillors, noting that 60percent of them elected last year were new. - Sapa

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