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The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Vision

The attractive environment for business created by the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project could result in an estimated 581 000 jobs.

At its core, the Aerotropolis is more than a development plan. It sets out a roadmap to better the lives of Gauteng residents and position our province as a hub of investment and industrialisation.

It will contribute towards the development of the SMME sector as a key driver of growth. It will also strengthen the capacity of the state to direct economic development and enhance the competitiveness of strategic economic sectors.

The Aerotropolis is therefore … a platform for a host of physical, social, governmental, and economic planning efforts intended to improve the lives of our residents and communicate a message of stability, sustainability, economic energy, and desirability to the world.”       

– David Makhura, Premier of Gauteng

Core Principles of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis

The five overarching principles form the foundation for the vision of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis:

  • Community – build strong neighbourhoods that allow people to realise their full potential
  • Collaborate – streamlined and effective governance that meets or surpasses global standards
  • Concentrate – dense transit-oriented developments that promote and complement existing communities
  • Connect – move goods, services and people efficiently and effectively
  • Compete – identify and strengthen the value chains where South Africa has significant competitive advantages in the global economy

An underlying principle of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis is to create a programme of permanent, sustainable jobs. Ekurhuleni has 460 000 job seekers, a significant number of whom are educated and employable.

Employment growth

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis aims to be a showcase for Gauteng and South Africa as a viable and compelling place in which to invest, live, build a business and thrive. It will achieve this by capitalising on the area’s strengths, including production and movement of goods, agribusinesses, food production, aerospace manufacturing, tourism and the most dynamic asset – its people.

The attractive environment for business created by the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project could result in an estimated 581 000 jobs.

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project will provide a potential increase in employment from 2015 to 2040 in the key focus areas, as indicated in the pie chart below. It serves to compare the potential impact of the various target industries on employment growth.

Key elements of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis

  • The Heart – O.R. Tambo International Airport
    The O.R. Tambo International Airport itself is constantly being upgraded to meet the growing demand for air transport. Significant investments are being planned to take advantage of increased freight movement demands. Likewise, the airport surroundings would be developed with efficient road networks, hotels, retail and office clusters to complement the exceptionally positive first impression of the airport.
  • 5 minute radius
    Just-in-time logistics companies, warehousing and cool chain storage, ground-side air logistics and single tenant distribution will be accommodated within a 5-minute radius.
  • 10 minute radius
    Major employers such as advanced and heavy manufacturing, single tenant light industrial enterprises, research and development campuses, bio-life, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare services will benefit from being within 10 minutes travelling time from the airport.
  • 20 minute radius
    Many existing businesses such as extended-stay hotels, amenity retailers and office campuses, would become more competitive with the benefit of new local services and facilities.
  • 20+ minute radius
    Unique to Ekurhuleni are large peripheral areas of agricultural land. Technological infrastructure would accelerate growth and manage crops more efficiently. Agribusiness that could work in this area includes cash crops, renewables and food. In order for this to work, crop land and production areas should be linked with high speed infrastructure connections to the airport and adjacent storage areas.
See more details about investment opportunities in the key focus areas of the development.

Should your company operate in any of the above mentioned industries and you wish to discuss potential investment opportunities in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, kindly contact the City of Ekurhuleni here.

Models for leveraging access to the outside world

Logistics will be a major economic driver in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis. Developing value-chain-driven business models, where value is added at each stage of logistics activity within the Aerotropolis zone, will be a top priority.

Synergy with Gauteng and other national projects

Far from being a solely inward looking scheme, the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project will explore ways to participate in provincial and national development and integration projects.

  • Aligning with the plans to expand the Gautrain network as part of the Gauteng Provincial Integrated Transport Master Plan
  • Anchoring the Gauteng end of the national high speed freight corridor to Durban, as well as the international freight corridor to Maputo
  • Integrating regional airports into Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis master planning
  • Creating Smart Corridors that link universities and their satellites throughout the Gauteng City Region with innovation hubs

Preparing the ground


1. 25-year Master Plan

One of the strengths of the Master Plan is that it is being developed with full awareness of the importance of integration with broader provincial and national development plans. This includes key plans such as the National Spatial Development Framework SIP2 (the strategic integrated project addressing the Gauteng – Free State – Ethekwini freight and logistics corridor), and SIP7 (studying the coordinated development of urban and integrated transport networks).

2. Transport
  • Reducing traffic congestion with 100 km of road improvements.
  • Upgrading of 30 intersections.
  • Implementing a coordinated province-wide integrated bus (Bus Rapid Transit) system.
  • Integrate seamless air cargo logistics to improve import and export movements.
3. Land development

The best positioned portions of land are being identified and earmarked for development. The aim is to capitalise on the opportunities created by proximity to a growing worldwide network of airlines and air cargo freighters, together with a robust national highway system.

4. Power, water and sanitation

Upgrading of power, water and sanitation infrastructure is underway in the target development areas, while innovative funding schemes are being developed to facilitate this.

5. ICT and logistics systems

The project aims to implement seamless air cargo logistics systems that will convey goods through customs and on to their destination without interruption or delay.

Driving the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Vision to reality

Governance and management approach

The road to reality for the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis has begun with the planning of well-focused decision-making structures for the identification and mitigation of potential obstacles to progress.

Aligned to the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Master Plan principles, which form the foundation of the vision of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis and the criteria for its success, is the requirement for a governance structure and institutional arrangement, explicitly described in the principle of ‘Collaborate’.

Collaborate: “Streamlined and effective governance that meets or surpasses global standards.” It is envisioned that a special purpose vehicle is created to fulfill the role of a nimble, dedicated entity with broad-based authority and responsibility for implementing the 25-year Aerotropolis Master Plan.

The objective of the entity will be to successfully manage the financial, regulatory and physical complexities inherent in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis development.

The essence of the Governance and Implementation Plan can be summarised as follows:
  • To commit to and execute the unified vision of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis
  • To lead, manage, coordinate and ensure operational efficiencies, and ultimately drive
    the effective implementation of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Master Plan
  • To collaborate with public and private entities to facilitate the development of strategic projects
  • To create an evolving funding model which will enable the execution of various funding
    strategies based on the requirement of the specific programme element
  • To restructure where appropriate with the aim of streamlining government and regulatory structures for ease of investment and development
The proposed development and management approach will evolve as the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis matures:
  • It is envisioned that a special purpose vehicle will be set up initially with the aim of addressing the immediate to medium-term objectives of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis.
  • As the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis evolves, so too will the special purpose vehicle develop, gaining new functions and responsibilities where appropriate.

It is envisaged that the special purpose vehicle will play a pivotal role through its ability and mandate to:
  • Receive surplus municipal land and developing it for sales or long-term leasing
  • Acquire privately held land at fair market value
  • Raise working capital through borrowing
  • Enter into Public Private Partnerships

A series of projects and programmes of strategic significance have been identified within existing municipal and provincial plans. They have been selected based on their macro level
importance to the overall vision of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis and their relevance to the Master Plan work streams.

Learn more about the key focus areas for investment in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis.

The above is an extract from the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Booklet.
Click here or on the image below to view or download the document in PDF.

Contact the City of Ekurhuleni


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