Working Paper
Is There Such a Thing as a Post-Apartheid City?

In an introductory section, this paper considers briefly the achievements and problems of urban governance in post-apartheid South Africa through an assessment of three categories: administrative reform, developmental issues and conflicts over service delivery issues. It then goes on to assess continuity and change in South African cities. Continuity is the norm in understanding urban history with change understood as a series of accretions and as a layering of features, unless major economic shifts or revolutionary political shifts are in place. Using the example of Durban, a series of changes is highlighted, which fit into what the deracialized growth path allows and encourages. The paper argues that thus far, the ANC government has shown little capacity or desire to discipline capital along the lines suggested, for instance, by the reconstruction and development programme’s section on public transport. Larger changes are thus limited by the predilections and established discourses of the business world and the absence of more dynamic and structured public intervention.