OECD Territorial Reviews: The Gauteng City-Region, South Africa 2011

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: The Gauteng City-Region, South Africa 2011

With 22% of the national population (11.2 million inhabitants), the Gauteng city-region is the largest and richest region in South Africa, contributing to one-third of national GDP. The area encompasses a series of connected cities, including Johannesburg and the national capital of Tshwane (formerly Pretoria), that function as a single, integrated region. Gauteng has been South Africa’s growth engine: for every additional 1% growth in population in the province, 1.6% is added to its contribution to national growth, implying higher productivity than in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, the city-region’s growth potential is constrained by deep socio-economic challenges, including high unemployment (26.9%) and low productivity growth. Its rapid demographic and economic development has also reinforced the spatial segregation instituted under apartheid.

Against the backdrop of South Africa’s achievements since the fall of apartheid, this Review evaluates measures to position economic development policy and to confront economic inequality in Gauteng. The issues of adequate housing as a catalyst of economic development and a vehicle for socioeconomic integration, transport mobility and public service delivery are examined in detail. The Review also assesses the economic growth potential of the manufacturing and green sectors, as well as governance issues, focussing on the potential of intergovernmental collaboration in advancing a cross-cutting regional approach for Gauteng.  


Reforming city-region governance in Gauteng

This chapter analyses inter-governmental collaboration and its potential to advance a cross-cutting regional approach for the Gauteng city-region. Given the persistent challenges of aligning functions across spheres of government, the chapter argues that major policy arenas – public transport, environment and land use, and economic development – could be more effectively balanced through a “territorial” approach, in which various levels of the state work together to maximise economic competitiveness. After reviewing the main financing and planning tools of different levels of government, a section on inter-governmental co-ordination highlights gaps across and between different national and sub-national levels. The chapter recommends a three-pronged city-region governance strategy, consisting of: i) harnessing financial tools to expand infrastructure and economic opportunity across the city-region; ii) embedding the city-region concept into metropolitan transport and environmental policy; and iii) strengthening citizen engagement. A multi-scalar approach is applied for policy analysis, encompassing the national level (South African National Performance Management System), the provincial scale (the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Employment, Growth and Development Strategy, GEGDS), the municipal level (integrated development plans, IDPs), and the neighbourhood level (ward-based committees).


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