Gauteng government plans to build three new cities

Posted On Wednesday, 10 December 2014 09:50 Published by
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Gauteng government has ambitious plans to build three new cities.

David Makhura

Premier David Makhura would not reveal their exact locations but he has given some indication that the West Rand and Sedibeng, in the Vaal, could possibly soon be home to South Africa's first post-apartheid cities.

Makhura said the two areas were "troubling" his administration, but he was loath to reveal where the new cities would stand for fear developers will swarm the sites, only to demand excessive buyout prices later.

Building the cities was a matter of certainty, with an announcement expected to be made in the 2015 State of the Province address, Makhura revealed. "By that time, we would have solved issues of land and who would be investing" he said. "With regard to building new human settlements and new cities, we have now completed a plan in conjunction with municipalities on where we are going to build new mega human settlements over the next five years.

This Gauteng Human Settlement Plan will direct investments in bulk infrastructure and will also shape our public transport and economic development plans." Makhura explained that the decision to create metros, and to do away with smaller municipalities, was meant to eliminate administrative and bureaucratic obstacles to investment.

For example, permission for a housing project would need to be sought individually from Mogale City, Randfontein, Merafong and Westonaria local municipalities in West Rand as well as Emfuleni, Midvaal and Lesedi local municipalities in Sedibeng, he said.

The decision to create a metro in Sedibeng has been described as a political decision against the DA, which governs Midvaal, but Makhura said that decision had not been taken to punish the DA as "the same logic was used in the West Rand where ANC govern".

Equally ambitious is the Gauteng government's plan to house residents of the would-be cities. Plans are afoot to move away from smaller locations to creating "mega human settlements" numbering 20000, 30000 and 50000 units per settlement.

As the economic hub of South Africa, Gauteng is the foremost beneficiary of inward migration, courtesy of citizens searching for employment opportunities placing strain on the province's housing plans. The 2011 Census survey found that Gauteng's population grew to 12.2million, up from 7 million in the 1996 survey. Only 56% were found to have been born in the province, compared with 92% in KwaZulu-Natal and 72% for Western Cape.

Other plans on Makhura's to-do list include closing the spatial gaps between Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni along the M1 and N1 as well as the R21 passing OR Tambo International Airport. This would be filled up by development building more settlements and businesses. But Makhura's vast plans will not be realised without a significant increase in the province's electricity generation capacity.

The premier said Gauteng planned to add more than 300MW of electricity to the grid. Municipal owned power entities such as City Power would be responsible for ensuring the province's energy security, he said. The announcement comes after Eskom began rolling blackouts that are set to continue countrywide.

Meanwhile, Gauteng departments "under budget pressure" would receive back any monies saved from not spending on noncore areas such as catering, flights for officials and entertainment, Makhura said. Further measures to cut unnecessary spending include public-private partnerships on infrastructure projects to cut delays and cost overruns.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 10:13

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