Pretoria: The Gauteng government has announced three interventions to change the space and structure of the economy of the province in order to address unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Speaking during the State of the Province Address on Monday, Premier David Makhura said these interventions are spatial reconfiguration, township economy revitalisation and massive infrastructure investments that the provincial government will jointly undertake with municipalities and private sector partners.

As part of the plan, Premier Makhura announced the reconfiguration the Gauteng City Region’s space and economy along five development corridors that have distinct industries and different comparative advantages.

These are the:

Central Development Corridor, which is anchored around the City of Joburg as the hub of finance, services, ICT and pharmaceutical industries;

Eastern Development Corridor, which is anchored around the economy of the Ekurhuleni Metro as the hub of manufacturing, logistics and transport industries;

Northern Development Corridor, which is anchored around Tshwane as the country’s administrative capital city and the hub of the automotive sector, research, development, innovation and the knowledge-based economy;

Western Corridor, which encompasses the economy of the current West Rand district and the creation of new industries, new economic nodes and new cities and

Southern Corridor, which encompasses the economy of the Sedibeng district and the creation of new industries, new economic nodes and new cities.

With regards to the Central Development Corridor, Premier Makhura said over the next five years, the provincial government will mobilise more than R10 billion in public and private investments in the regeneration of the Joburg CBD as the seat of the provincial government.

In strengthening the position of the Central Corridor as the financial hub of the country and the continent, the Premier said they will work with national government and the City to ensure that it becomes the home of the BRICS regional development bank.

Gauteng is also working with national government and the City of Joburg on a definite plan to revitalise the townships of Kliptown and Alexandra.

“The two townships are in a terrible and sorry state of disrepair,” said Premier Makhura.

Transforming the landscape

In order to change human settlement patterns over the next five years, 140 000 housing units will be built in Lion Park, Diepsloot East, Fleurhof, Cosmo City, Malibongwe Ridge and Goud Rand.

In addition, working with the private sector and the City of Johannesburg, there are plans to transform the spatial landscape of the Central Corridor, which includes Masingita City, Reitfontein, Waterfall City, Modderfontein City and Steyn City.

Masingita City, an integrated commercial and industrial hub, is a R3-billion private investment that will create 15 500 jobs during the construction stage and approximately 10 000 jobs during its full operation.

It will also contribute to the township economy revitalisation by supporting township enterprises and SMMEs in Soweto, Lenasia and Bekkersdal/Randfontein.

The first phase of construction will commence in March this year, according to Premier Makhura.

Rietfontein is a complete mixed-use node with more than 8 000 proposed residential units, including commercial property, distribution and warehousing, retail and education facilities.

This investment is estimated at R20 billion and has the potential to create 17 000 jobs during the construction phase and beyond.

Waterfall City will be the largest city to be built in post-apartheid South Africa. The estimated investment during construction is R71 billion, with an estimated 100 000 jobs to be created by the project.

The Modderfontein development will inject R84 billion into the economy of the Gauteng City Region and is expected to create 150 000 jobs over the next 20 years.

Turning to the Eastern Development Corridor, Premier Makhura announced that they will be undertaking 29 industrial initiatives under the banner of the Aerotropolis to revitalise manufacturing, aviation, transport and logistics industries linked to OR Tambo International Airport.

“This will dramatically transform the current industrial structure of the economy of Ekurhuleni,” Premier Makhura told the legislature.

The footprint of the Aerotropolis will also cover Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg and Wonderboom Airport in Tshwane.

Among the projects in the corridor will be the Tambo Springs Inland Port

Development with an estimated R7.5-billion investment over five years.

This project will create a total of 110 000 jobs over 15 years.

To further change the spatial geography of this corridor, the provincial government will roll out the Bus Rapid Transit System in Ekurhuleni, whose first phase will be operational by March next year.

In order to change the human settlements paradigm, more than 100 000 housing units will be delivered over the next five years in areas such as Chief Albert Luthuli, John Dube Extension 2, Tsakane Extension 22, Germiston South, Leeuwpoort, Rietfontein and Clayville Extension 45.

Turning to the Northern Corridor, the administrative capital of the country, Premier Makhura said working with the City of Tshwane, they will develop the West Capital development project, which will include the development of a student village, sport incubatory centre, retail and commercial components, inner city housing and health facilities.

This will be in addition to the development of the African Gateway in the heart of Centurion in partnership with the private sector, which will comprise the biggest Convention Centre, a massive hotel, residential, commercial and additional office space.

Broadening business prospects

The City of Tshwane will invest R525 million to establish a Business Process Outsourcing Park in Hammanskraal.

“The park will offer on-site training, technical support and incubators for SMMEs. The project is expected to create over 1 000 jobs during construction and over 1 000 indirect jobs,” said Premier Makhura.

Working with the private sector, the City of Tshwane will also continue to rolling out free wi-fi within the City. To date R150 million has been invested in this initiative.

From a human settlements perspective, Premier Makhura said more than 160 000 houses will be built in Hammanskraal, Winterveldt, Sterkwater, Lady Selbourne, Soutpan Phase 1 to 7, Lotus Garden, Fortwest, Capital Park, Vermeulen, Olievenhoutbosch, Nelmaphuis, Zithobeni, Kirkney and Danville.

The economy of the Western Corridor will focus on the green and blue economy initiatives, tourism, agro-processing and logistics, said Premier Makhura

“Lanseria Airport and Maropeng World Heritage Site will be the main anchors of the new city and new economy of the West Rand,” he said.

In order to position the Western Corridor as the hub of agri-business and agro-processing industry, work is underway to leverage this corridor’s high value horticultural potential.

As part of the transformation of the agricultural sector, to ensure food-security and in order to stimulate economic activity in the Corridor, government has invested in the Randfontien milling facility.

In addition, the provincial government is partnering with the private sector to upscale the aquaculture potential of this corridor, in particular, in the breeding of prawns. This initiative will create a total of 6 512 jobs in the West Rand over three years.

With regard to human settlements, more than 160 000 housing units will be built in Syferfontein, Chief Mogale, Kagiso Extension 13, Leratong, Westonaria Borwa, Thusang, Waagterskop, Kokosi Extension 6 and 7, Droogeheuwel, Mohlakeng Extension 11, Khutsong South Extension 1, 2 and 3 and Vaarkenslaagte.

The Premier outlined work to be done in the Southern Corridor, which represents the Sedibeng district and the Vaal triangle.

“Our goal is to shift the economy of this corridor away from its overreliance on the steel industry and diversify to include tourism and entertainment, agro-processing, logistics,” said Makhura.

Among the projects will be the development of the new Vaal River City (hydropolis), which aims to unlock the potential of the waterfront developments in the Emfuleni and Midvaal areas.

Already the private sector is planning to invest more than R4 billion into this development, which will stimulate much needed economic activity in this corridor.

The development is estimated to be worth between R7 and R11 billion, and will create up to 7500 jobs in the construction phase alone.

Over the next five years, more than 120 000 houses in Sedibeng will be built in Boiketlong; Golden Highway; Evaton; Vereeniging, Savanah City, Ratanda and R59 Corridor.

“Also in this Corridor, we will continue to support the Gauteng Highlands development, a mixed-use development comprising industrial and residential space. This is a R40-billion investment aimed at creating 25 000 direct and indirect jobs,” said Premier Makhura.