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Leadership in Public Transport for Spatial Transformation













Public transport has emerged as a major focus of urban transformation and metropolitan governance in recent years.

Important drivers have been:

  • The Public Transport Strategy of the National Department of Transport which helped create a new vision and impetus for urban public transport reform with a focus on establishing integrated public transport networks as the foundation for future urban development;
  • The National Land Transport Act (NLTA) which has changed the institutional landscape in a far-reaching manner with its emphasis on assigning responsibility for the whole urban public transport function to the municipalities;
  • The major public transport investments made in recent years including the Gautrain, the Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems Grant (PTISG) focused on integrated rapid public transport networks and in particular BRT implementation and the funding now allocated for commuter rail upgrades.


These changes have generally been welcomed by the metropolitan municipalities and other stakeholders but it is acknowledged that the reform has thrown up major challenges, including strategic, institutional and funding challenges.

National Treasury’s City Support Programme (CSP) is developing a programme to support urban mobility reform. The CSP offers assistance in providing resources to promote an integrated approach to future metropolitan spatial development involving core city, human settlement, mobility and climate change implementation support. The CSP seeks to strengthen existing planning processes, align various national grants and other funding sources, and provide targeted implementation support to strengthen outcomes across the built environment – including in public transport.

The National Treasury hence partnered with UCT, DoT, CoGTA, SALGA, and SACN in a bid to strengthen metropolitan leadership and management teams as one pillar of support.












The programme

This 5 day course took place from 4-8 November 2013, in Cape Town.

The course aimed to highlight the potential of transport as a transformative tool in cities – transforming both the way cities think about land use and citizen mobility. It sought to enable metropolitan political and administrative leaders to get to grips with current challenges, learn techniques and tools, and be inspired to lead and implement change in urban mobility and land use management so as to connect, integrate and transform our cities into more inclusive, productive and sustainable cities.

City teams came to the course with their urban mobility priorities, plans and indicators and had the opportunity to review their plans to make them more realistic and more effective. The course also helped city leadership to think through overcoming the obstacles to implementation and creating the team environment across the functional and political-admin divides required to achieve substantial success.

An important purpose of the programme was to enable participants to get to grips with the various challenges and develop robust common leadership approaches for addressing them. In particular, the course focused on how leaders can use their personal agency to drive the mobility agenda in a context of a lack of legislative and institutional clarity. The programme also assisted leaders to manage expectations created as a result of the first phase of BRT roll-out. Specifically, the programme aimed to enable municipalities to improve the quality of their planning, grant submissions and implementation practices.


Target audience

The course targeted City leadership teams (a maximum of 8 people per team, political and administrative),  the Mayor or Deputy Mayor, the Transport Portfolio Chair, the City Manager, the Chief Financial Officer and the Executives responsible for Planning and Transport. National Government team – including senior leaders from the Department of Transport, National Treasury, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, and the National Planning Commission – were also targeted.


Upcoming courses

This course is not currently scheduled for delivery in 2016.