[Image: Gautrain]

The concept of a Gauteng City Region is key to much of the planning for the area’s economic future. Infrastructure development is underway along corridors, each of which has a specific focus.

The corridors and focus areas are:
  • Thami Mnyele: transport, BRT, M&T Development and Plumbago Industrial Park
  • OR Tambo Aerotropolis: creative sector, technology, research and development and logistics
  • Thelle Mogoerane: logistics, Carnival Junction, OR Tambo inland port, Prasa rolling stock manufacturing facility run by Gibela Rail Consortium which is due to deliver 600 trains valued at R51-billion.

The Tambo Springs inland port and logistics gateway has been established near Katlehong as an inter-modal facility which can transfer containers from rail or road to storage facilities and ultimately to the customer. Existing freight rail lines run through the site and link it to the seaports of Durban, Cape Town and Ngqura (Port Elizabeth). The aim with this new facility is to improve efficiency. It is run by the Tambo Springs Development Company. The intention is to add to the port:

  • a logistics park with transportation, processing, manufacture, warehousing and distribution
  • a business park with a retail element
  • a residential component
  • an agri-industrial section.

The OR Tambo International Airport Special Economic Zone (ORTIA SEZ) has diversified beyond the existing Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct in the shape of a R400-million agri-processing plant.

The concept of an aerotropolis is for the airport to become a hub of economic activity in the same way that cities anchor various economic sectors that grow up around the centre. Ekurhuleni’s economy is primarily driven by manufacturing, mining and agriculture. With a strategic location next to the OR Tambo International Airport and identified aerotropolis corridors, future investment in the following sectors is anticipated: manufacturing, aviation and aerospace, transportation and logistics.

Ekurhuleni is hoping not only to be the national centre for logistics and to boost its already impressive manufacturing capacity by building more infrastructure and freight hubs, but it intends the aerotropolis to play a role in helping to consolidate the integration of the nine town councils that went into making up the metropole.

Airports

OR Tambo International Airport caters for more than 20-million passengers every year and handled nearly 415 000 tons of cargo via 14 different cargo carriers in 2017.

Lanseria Airport is growing in importance with kulula, FlySafair and Mango flying in and out of the airport located to the north of Johannesburg. It is a convenient landing point for travellers bound for regional centres like Rustenburg in the North West. Lanseria moved nearly two-million passengers in 2017 and plans to double that figure by 2022.

Gauteng has several smaller airports that host mostly commercial aircraft:

  • Rand Airport in Germiston
  • Grand Central Airport in Midrand
  • Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria North
  • Waterkloof Air Force base, south of Pretoria.

The Commercial Aviation Manufacturing Association South Africa (CAMASA) states that 50 companies are active in the sector, employing more than 3 000 people in highly skilled jobs. Almost all the activity is around Johannesburg and Cape Town and the sector (which encompasses aero-structures and systems, manufacturing, design and engineering) is responsible for R3-billion in exports every year.

Rail

The Gautrain, a high-speed train linking the centre of Johannesburg, Sandton, ORTIA and Pretoria, has been massively successful in terms of its original brief. The Gauteng Management Agency 2017/2018 annual report noted that a peak of 1.4-million passengers per month was reached in May 2017 and that average punctuality of 98.60% had been achieved for all trips scheduled.

But the Gautrain is expensive and not designed to cater for mass public transportation. A feasibility study has been completed on the expansion of the Gautrain and its full integration into the public transport system. New areas that will be covered in the project, which will take place over two decades, will include Mamelodi in Tshwane, Boksburg in Ekurhuleni, Randburg-Laseria in Johannesburg, Mogale City and Syferfontein in the West Rand and Roodepoort/Jabulani.

The Gautrain has also re-activated property development in many areas around its stations and made sites near stations very attractive to developers and investors.

Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE) has a major presence in Gauteng and the metropolitan lines that ferry commuters are run by the Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA). The Wits Metrorail system serves Johannesburg and its surrounds. Park Station, in the north of the central business district, is the largest station in Africa and acts as the metropolitan hub.

Additional resource links:
More Gauteng sector insight in Gauteng Business 2019/20 edition (digital journal):