INTRODUCTION TO GAUTENG PROVINCE
Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa’s provinces, covering an area of 18 178 km² or approximately 1.4% of the total surface area of South Africa. It is bordered by the Free State, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. While being the smallest province, it is also the most populous, being home to over 12 million people. Gauteng lies on the highest part of the interior plateau on the rolling plains of South Africa’s Highveld.
Its capital is Johannesburg and it also contains the city of Pretoria, as well as the East Rand, West Rand and Vaal areas.
Gauteng continues to serve as the economic engine room of the country and the subcontinent, responsible for over 34.8% of the country’s GDP. Gauteng is the powerhouse of South Africa and the heart of its commercial business and industrial sectors. The most important sectors contributing to GDP are finance, real estate and business services; manufacturing; and general government services. Gauteng is also the financial services capital of Africa. More than 70 foreign banks have their head offices here, as do at least the same number of South African banks, stockbrokers and insurance giants.
The major gold and diamond mining houses all have their headquarters in Johannesburg, the biggest being Anglo American and De Beers. Gold mining constitutes 80% of Gauteng’s mineral production output.
Gauteng is divided into three metropolitan municipalities, the City of Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipalities, as well as two district municipalities, which are further subdivided into seven local municipalities.
GAUTENG MUNICIPAL AREAS
Radar dome at the OR Tambo International Airport
in Kempton Park – Author: DJ
City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality: The district covers an extensive area from Germiston in the west to Springs and Nigel in the east. The former administrations of the nine towns in the former East Rand were amalgamated into the metropolitan municipality, along with the Khayalami Metropolitan Council and the Eastern Gauteng Services Council. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the province, and the country.
The economy in the region is larger and more diverse than that of many small countries in Africa. It accounts for nearly a quarter of Gauteng’s economy, which in turn contributes over a third of the national Gross Domestic Product. Many of the factories for production of goods and commodities are located in Ekurhuleni, often referred to as ‘Africa’s Workshop’.
The network of roads, airports, rail lines, telephones, electricity grids and telecommunications found in Ekurhuleni rivals that of Europe and America. It can be regarded as the transportation hub of the country. It is home to OR Tambo International Airport; South Africa’s largest railway hub; a number of South Africa’s modern freeways and expressways; the Maputo Corridor Development; direct rail, road and air links connecting Ekurhuleni to Durban; the Blue IQ projects, with linkages to the City Deep Container terminal; the Gautrain rapid rail link to Johannesburg and Pretoria; and the OR Tambo International Airport Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
Cities/Towns: Alberton • Bedfordview • Benoni • Boksburg • Brakpan • Edenvale • Germiston • Katlehong • Kempton Park • Nigel • Olifantsfontein • Springs • Tembisa • Tokoza • Vosloorus
City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality: Johannesburg is the most advanced commercial city in Africa and the engine room of the South African and regional economy. It is a city with a unique, African character, world-class infrastructure in the fields of telecommunications, transportation, water and power, and with globally-competitive health care and educational facilities. However, the city is also one of contrasts – home to both wealthy and poor, residents and refugees, global corporations and emerging enterprises.
The demographics of Johannesburg indicate a large and ethnically diverse metropolitan area. As the largest city in South Africa, its population is defined by a long history of local and international migration. Johannesburg is home to more than 4,4 million people, accounting for about 36% of Gauteng’s population and 8% of the national population.
Over the last decade the city has been growing. A key contributor to this is that the city continues to attract people from other provinces, and internationally, who are looking for better economic opportunities and quality of life. The population pyramid indicates that the city’s population is predominantly young. This can be attributed to migration from other parts of the country as young people look for jobs. Johannesburg is considered the economic hub of South Africa and is often the first choice of destination by job seekers across the country.
Cities/Towns: Alexandra • Diepkloof • Diepsloot • Ennerdale • Johannesburg • Johannesburg South • Lawley • Lenasia • Lenasia South • Meadowlands East • Meadowlands West • Midrand • Orange Farm • Pimville • Randburg • Roodepoort • Sandton • Soweto
City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality: Pretoria is the capital of South Africa. It has merged with the Metsweding District, which was a consequence of the Gauteng Global City Region Strategy to reduce the number of municipalities in Gauteng to at least four by 2016. The new City of Tshwane is now the single-largest metropolitan municipality in the country, comprising seven regions, 105 wards and 210 councillors.
Pretoria has the second-largest number of embassies in the world after Washington DC. Many embassies thus call this city their home. The Union Buildings house the administrative hub of the country and have also been the setting for the presidential inaugurations of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the incumbent South African president, Jacob Zuma. These sandstone buildings offer beautiful views over the City.
Its rich and colourful heritage is reflected in the City’s myriad of museums, monuments and historical buildings, and is punctuated by contemporary arts and crafts markets, bringing the City alive with a unique blend of new and old. The Science and Technology Museum offers a tactile experience of science at work. The South African mint has a minting press dating back to 1892 that is still in operation.
The City also offers township sleepovers with a five-star stay. Church Square and the State Theatre often host international and national performances. There are also two nature reserves where visitors can view wildlife such as buffalo, antelope, cheetah, jackal, giraffe and sable.
Cities/Towns: Akasia • Bronkhorstspruit • Centurion • Cullinan • Ekangala • Ga-Rankuwa • Hammanskraal • Kudube • Mabopane • Pretoria • Rayton • Refilwe • Roodeplaat • Soshanguve • Temba • Winterveldt
Sedibeng District Municipality: The district is situated on the southern tip of Gauteng province and strategically located on the border of three other provinces, namely Free State, North West and Mpumalanga.
The municipality is the only area of the Gauteng province that is situated on the banks of the Vaal River and Vaal Dam in the southernmost part of the province, covering the area formerly known as the Vaal Triangle. It includes the towns of Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark, Meyerton and Heidelberg, as well as the historic townships of Evaton, Sebokeng, Boipatong, Bophelong, Sharpeville and Ratanda, which have a rich political history and heritage. The municipality is a stone’s throw from Johannesburg along the scenic Vaal, Klip, and Suikerbos Rivers.
The well-developed national road network that cuts across the district to all the provinces ensures that the region remains the industrial centre of the Gauteng province. The municipality is 40 km away from Johannesburg and 80 km away from Pretoria, without the high traffic volumes.
Sedibeng is the fourth-largest contributor to the Gauteng economy. The predominant economic sector in the district is the manufacturing of fabricated metal and chemicals. In the metal sector, the Arcelor-Mittal Steel plant, the Cape Gate Davsteel Wire and Steel plant, and the Ferromanganese plant of Samancor are the three main large baseline plants in the district, whilst DCD Dorbyl Heavy Engineering is the biggest manufacturer of engineered products in Southern Africa.
The municipality offers the best opportunity for growth and development as a result of availability of land for both residential and commercial development in a picturesque and tranquil setting. The Vaal University of Technology and the North-West University’s Vaal Campus offer a wide range of graduates that provide the bulwark of employees for business and industries that seek to set up operations in Sedibeng.
It has a variety of attractions offering a vast cultural heritage and historical experience including, among others, the political breakthroughs that led to the country’s political turnabout. The Sedibeng region boasts several Heritage Sites related to the South African War of 1899-1902 and the two World Wars that followed. The Sharpeville Memorial Precinct stands as a reminder of the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960, when 69 people lost their lives while protesting the pass laws of the then apartheid South Africa.
Cities/Towns: De Deur/Walkerville • Devon • Eikenhof • Evaton • Heidelberg • Meyerton • Nigel • Sebokeng • Vaal Marina • Vaal Oewer • Vanderbijlpark • Vereeniging • Vischkuil
West Rand District Municipality: The Cradle of Humankind falls under the jurisdiction of Mogale City and Merafong City, and forms part of the World Heritage Site.
The West Rand extends from Randfontein (the seat of the district) in the west to Roodepoort in the east, and includes the town of Krugersdorp. It is bordered by Bojanala Platinum to the north-west, City of Tshwane to the north-east, City of Johannesburg to the east, Sedibeng to the south-east and Dr Kenneth Kaunda to the south-west. The municipality is situated relatively close to the hub of economic activity in Gauteng, and is transversed by major national roads, namely the N12 and N14.
Its main contribution lies primarily within the mining sector; however, areas such as Krugersdorp fulfil a residential function for many people working in Johannesburg. The West Rand remains the poorest region contributing to Gauteng’s GDP.
The leadership of West Rand District Municipality has a new vision that entails dissolving the four local municipalities in the district into a single municipality by 2016. Vision 2016 includes a holistic approach to environmental concerns. There are opportunities for developing economies to benefit from climate change mitigation strategies and the West Rand will be making a strong case for private investors to assist in the growth of green and sustainable industries.
Cities/Towns: Carletonville • Fochville • Krugersdorp • Magaliesburg • Muldersdrift • Randfontein • Wedela • Westonaria
Source: Information extracted from http://www.localgovernment.co.za