3 SA initiatives giving Cape Town a run for its money

Capetonians are well known for being immensely proud of our city, often bragging about the fact that Cape Town is leagues above the rest (in several respects, well, it just is). However, before we too hastily polish our halos, it’s time to examine 3 exciting new projects that have taken off elsewhere in the country that Cape Town should be learning from:

1. Waste ManagementDurban’s waste-to-energy project

Durban’s methane gas-to-electricity project has recently been announced as one of the 100 most innovative and inspiring urban infrastructure projects in the world in the KPMG Infrastructure 100: World Cities publication. The Bisasar Road site (Africa’s busiest landfill site) generates 6.5MW of electricity which it feeds into the local grid – enough to supply up to 40 000 low-cost homes. Landfill gas from a second site, Marianhill, generates enough for a further 6 000 homes.

A high proportion of South Africa’s landfill waste consists of biodegradable waste, releasing heaps of methane gas into the atmosphere. The Durban facilities extract this methane (21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) using it as a fuel to generate electricity. The two sites are separately registered in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism Scheme, and plans are in place to generate extra income by selling carbon credits to European and American firms. Watch a video here.

2. Safety & SecurityTalking CCTV cameras in Pietermaritzburg

This brainy initiative, first implemented in Wiltshire in the United Kingdom in 2003, allows a CCTV operator to speak to people at a CCTV-monitored site. This has been demonstrated to have a marked effect on criminal activity: instead of merely acting as a passive observer simply directing law enforcement on the ground, the operator can now inform a potential law-breaker that he or she is being watched, and in this way likely deter the individual from committing the crime in the first place.

3. Arts & CultureJohannesburg’s City of Gold urban art festival

Jozi recently hosted its third City of Gold urban art festival. The annual weeklong event aims to positively influence the public’s perception of graffiti art, and at the same time provides a platform for young South African artists to gain experience and insight from their international contemporaries.

Founder, Rasty, who was introduced to graffiti art in the late 1990’s, explains the purpose of the festival here.

About Sean Dayton

Sean Dayton is an attorney and associate at a top-tier South African law firm, having completed an LLB and a BSc in Property Studies at UCT. His greatest interests have always been the built environment and urban property development. He has worked as a street fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society, been on a 3-day camel safari into the deserts of Rajasthan, climbed Kilimanjaro, and been bitten by a dingo. He has also traveled to remarkable cities along the way, and plans on using the insight he has gained from these travels to help make Cape Town a more livable city.

There are 4 comments

  1. cometocapetown.com

    some cool ideas, but lots of cool stuff has started here too 🙂 interested to see a follow up post, with some of the more cutting edge international initiatives too…

  2. Shani Judes

    Lots of amazing things happening here in Cape Town, for example one of our townships just got a few new toilets where just like Durbans waste to energy, the methane from the toilet is going to be used for cooking gas. And with regards to following other cities its a bit hard when we have by-laws that are stopping creativity and various other things from happening. We couldnt have an urban art festival as the Anti Graffiti bylaw has put a stop to murals in Cape Town. Yes we see a few in Woodstock and some of our townships but thats pretty much it. So how can we come together to get through these stumbling blocks ?

  3. Dandan

    Cape Town street art is more than a match for Joburg I am sure. The anti-graffiti laws only prevent “unsolicited art” on private or public spaces and buildings. But walk around the city to discover the real street art throughout the buildings. Private land owners are increasingly opening up their walls, sidewalks, shopfronts and even some houses or apartment blocks to artists as a canvas. Their are also some regular street art events available to anyone at any time. Boom.

    On the power generation front, Cape Town launched the first three wind turbines a while back and will no expand on this with more coming. The methane from landfills is great tho so if not why not. Come on Cape Town 🙂

    The talking cameras seem a bit lame though. And moot. The expansion and rejuvenation of community watches in and around cape town are much more effective. Plus the City Improvement Districts initiatives have dramatically transformed crime ridden areas.

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