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KZN academic gets National Planning Commission callup

Home Government & Municipal KZN academic gets National Planning Commission callup

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed UKZN Town Planning lecturer Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu as a member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) for the next five years.

The commission is expected to initiate ideas and provide insight into a long term plan to advance growth and development in South Africa.

Magidimisha-Chipungu joins 28 other new members of the commission, including doctors, professors, and specialists in the technology, political, and financial sectors.  Minister in the Presidency Mr Mondli Gungubele was named as chairperson of the NPC for the next five years.

“I am humbled by the recognition. It has always been my dream to serve my country at the highest level, so I am really grateful to UKZN for providing me with a platform to be recognised for the task,” she said.

“What’s interesting is that my appointment was made in the aftermath of the successful hosting last month of the 56th and 57th International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) congresses in Doha, where I was a co-General Rapporteur and received the society’s Bronze Award on behalf of UKZN. I feel that recognition indicates I am capable and more than prepared to successfully serve at whatever level I am mandated to do so. I am honoured by the appointment on the NPC, where I will always put the interests of my country first.”

The new NPC will operate against the challenging backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic with economic and social recovery and reconstruction of the priorities on the path towards building momentum to achieve the National Development Plan’s 2030 goals.

Magidimisha-Chipungu is the youngest ever South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Inclusive Cities. The Chair, funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and South African City Networks, supports research into spatial, economic and social inclusion within South African cities.

According to the commission, she is an avid researcher, the author and co-author of a variety of chapters in books as well as peer-reviewed journal articles. This year, she published a book titled Urban Inclusivity in Southern Africa, which is part of her ongoing research into urban inclusivity, which falls under the ambit of her SARChI research mandate.

She is also the founder and Chief Editor of the Journal for Inclusive Cities and the Built Environment published out of UKZN, which received the 2020 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award last year.

Magidimisha-Chipungu has served on the City Planning Commission for the eThekwini Municipality, tasked with the strategic responsibility of advising the municipality’s Executive Committee and councillors.

She has also served on the advisory committee of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA-KZN) association with a focus on spatial equity in the province. She is a board member of SACPLAN – a national professional body that governs the teaching and practice of town planning in South Africa. As a professional town planner, she has been on the KwaZulu-Natal Tribunal, which was mandated to resolve town planning disputes in the province.

Magidimisha-Chipungu is internationally recognised. Emerging from a position of Chairperson of a local organising committee for Young Professional Planners, she completed a two-year appointment as a co-General Rapporteur for the 56th and 57th ISOCARP congresses.

The Planner, a magazine published by the Royal Institute of Town Planning in the United Kingdom, recognised her as a Woman of Influence in 2020, after which she was invited by the University of Politecnico di Milan DAStU in Florence, Italy, to participate in the research on spatial planning and a 24-hour city.

Magidimisha-Chipungu, who was recently appointed to the Board of Pan-African Scholars-Practitioners chaired by Professor Patrick Lumumba, added that she sees her appointment as not only a milestone for the university but also as an inspiration for the younger generation.

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