GCRO has been called upon by the Gauteng Planning Commission (GPC) to provide research support for an emerging long-term development strategy for the city-region, known as G2055. This will be a key focus of our work over the next year. GCRO will provide intellectual inputs into working groups convened by the GPC, feed in research findings on key trends and dynamics from various GCRO projects, and act as an initial sounding board for the strategic analysis as it develops.
Three years ago, in the run-up to the last national and provincial elections in April 2009, the Gauteng Provincial Government did preliminary thinking around a first-ever long-term development strategy for the province. Long-term strategies had previously been done by cities in the region, but never by the provincial government with a view towards a coherent future vision for the region as a whole.
Background research in the form of some 20 ‘trend papers’ – on everything from the future of the aerospace industry to climate change to the changing spatial structure of the city-region – was combined with expert inputs from consultative workshops, and a preliminary draft of a strategic framework was compiled. This strategy work become known as Gauteng 2055, or G2055 for short, with the planning horizon set as the 100 year anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
Last year the Premier of Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane, called for further consultation on the draft, and for the strategy to be aligned with thinking emerging from the National Planning Commission (NPC) on a national vision and long-range plan for South Africa. A Gauteng Advisory Council (GAC) of eminent persons representing a range of societal sectors and stakeholders was convened. Its role is to guide the strategy and consultation work needed in the process of finalizing G2055.
The GAC has been split into four working groups, focused on the economy, infrastructure, social transformation and governance. These convened for the first time in November, where GCRO staff members allocated to each group summarized key conclusions from both the NPC’s draft national vision released on 11 November, as well as the OECD Territorial Review of the GCR, now regarded as a key diagnostic input into G2055.
2012 has kicked off with a workshop between GPC and GCRO to look at draft work on a revised G2055 strategic framework. This will be presented to the GAC, various intergovernmental forums, and then the broader public, in February and March. GCRO’s contribution to this key, high-profile strategy process, that will very likely define the future of the city-region, will be further clarified in the coming months.