GCRO Staff

Nadine Abrahams

Office administrator

+27 11 717 7280

Dr Richard Ballard

Chief Researcher

Richard Ballard trained in the field of geography at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Wales, Swansea.

One of his research themes is on the relationship between the ideals of spatial transformation and real world processes that produce urban space. Under this theme he has published on attempts by developers to secure permission to build major projects; the policy turn to mega projects within the public housing sector; the role of construction labour in producing walled suburbs and the production of space in Gauteng Province.

A second area of interest is the way in which residents of South Africa's cities form identities in relation to the places where they live and the people who share these spaces. Publications on this theme are on white responses to urban desegregation, gated communities, the place of plants and animals in cities, social cohesion and changing scales of identification.

A third area of interest is urban governance and politics, with publications on local government elections, participatory governance processes, social movements and everyday resistance.

Recent publications

Ballard, R., and Barnett, C. (eds) (2023). The Routledge Handbook of Social Change. Abingdon: Routledge.

Ballard, R., and Barnett, C. (2023). ‘Apprehensions of Social Change’. In Richard Ballard and Clive Barnett (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Social Change. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 1-16.

Ballard, R. (2023). ‘Everyday resistance: theorising ow the “weak” change the world’. In Richard Ballard and Clive Barnett (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Social Change. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 303-314.

Ballard, R., and Mapukata, C. (2022). South African Urban Imaginaries. GCRO Research Report 13. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Ballard, R., Butcher, S., Joseph, K., de Kadt, J., Hamann, C., Mapukata, S., Mkhize, T., Mosiane, N., Parker, A., and Spiropoulos, L. (2021). ‘Scale of Belonging: Gauteng 30 Years After the Repeal of the Group Areas Act’. Urban Forum. 32(2), pp. 131-139.

Ballard, R., Jones, G.A., and Ngwenya, M. (2021). ‘Trickle-out urbanism: Are Johannesburg’s gated communities good for their poor neighbours?’ Urban Forum. 32(2), pp. 165-182.

Ballard, R., Hamann. C., and Mkhize., T. (2021). ‘Johannesburg: Repetitions and Disruptions of Spatial Patterns’. In Lemon, A., Donaldson, R. and Visser, G. (eds) South African urban change three decades after apartheid: Homes Still Apart? Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 33-55.

Ballard, R., and Hamann, C. (2021). ‘Socio-Economic Segregation and Income Inequality in the City of Johannesburg’. In Maarten van Ham, Tiit Tammaru, Ruta Ubarevičienė and Heleen Janssen (eds) Urban Socio-Economic Segregation and Income Inequality. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 91-109.

Ballard, R., Hamann, C., and Mosiane, N. (2021) Spatial Trends in Gauteng. GCRO Occasional Paper 19.

Ballard, R., and Butcher, S. (2020). ‘Comparing the relational work of developers’. Editorial. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. 52(2), pp. 266-276.

Ballard, R., and Harrison, P. (2020). ‘Transnational Urbanism Interrupted: A Chinese developer’s attempts to secure approval to build the “New York of Africa” at Modderfontein, Johannesburg’. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. 52(2), pp. 383-402.

Ballard, R., (ed) (2019) Social Cohesion in Gauteng. GCRO Research Report # No 10. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Ballard, R. and Harrison, P. (2019). 'Transnational urbanism interrupted: A Chinese developer’s attempts to secure approval to build the ‘New York of Africa’ at Modderfontein, Johannesburg.' Environment and Planning A. 52(2).

Ballard, R., Dittgen, R., Harrison, P. and Todes, A. (2017). ‘Megaprojects and urban visions: Johannesburg’s Corridors of Freedom and Modderfontein’. Transformation. 95.

Ballard, R. and Rubin, M. (2017). ‘A “Marshall Plan” for human settlements: how megaprojects became South Africa’s housing policy’. Transformation. 95.

Ballard, R. (2017). ‘Prefix as policy: megaprojects as South Africa’s big idea for human settlements’. Transformation. 95.

Ballard, R. (2017). ‘Governance and development’. In Douglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey L. Kobayashi, Weidong Liu Richard Marston (eds.) The International Encyclopaedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ballard, R. (2016). 'Whiteness and the end of apartheid - Review of Falkof, Nicky (2015) Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa: Imagining the End of Whiteness. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan'. Journal of Southern African Studies. 42(5), 1021-1022.

Ballard, R., Nel, W., Hill, T. and Maharaj, B. (2016). 'South African Geography at 100'. South African Geographical Journal. 98(3), 403-404.

Ballard, R. (2016). Review of Daniel Conway and Pauline Leonard (2014). 'Migration, space and transnational identities: the British in South Africa', Ethnic and Racial Studies. 39(13), pp. 2427-2429.

Ballard, R. (2016). ‘Community and the balkanization of social membership’. Dialogues in Human Geography. 6(1), pp. 78–81

Ballard, R. (2015). ‘Geographies of development III: militancy, insurgency, encroachment, and development by the poor’. Progress in Human Geography. 39(2), pp. 214–224

Fiona Els

Epidemiologist

Fiona Els joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as an Epidemiologist in March 2023. She has a joint appointment with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and GCRO, working with both organisations to determine the burden of COVID-19 on urban communities.

Fiona holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MSc in Biochemistry, as well as a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Pretoria. She also holds a BSc Honours in Aquatic Science and a BSc in Biological and Environmental Science from the North West University.

Fiona’s past research included genetic manipulation of malaria parasites, identifying antibiotic resistance microbes in natural water, and epidemiological research on respiratory diseases. Her current research interests include water quality in a public health and urban setting, as well as communicable diseases in communities. Fiona hopes to work toward a world where we can respond timeously to disease outbreaks to prevent further division of communities. She is driven by policy-changing research, where she can make a real-world difference to public health, especially in marginalised communities in low to middle-income countries.

Most recent publications

Siegfried NL, de Voux A, Jonas K, Yun JA, Chetty T, Mabona M, Els F, Mdose H, Kuonza L, Hsiao M, Williamson C, Preiser W, Mathews C. (2022). SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Risk in the School Environment: a pilot case-ascertained prospective study to inform future school-based surveillance. South African Medical Journal, 113(5): 30–38.

Els F, Mkhencele T, McAnerney JA, Wolter N, Kleynhans J, Makhasi M, von Gottberg A, du Plessis M, Walaza S, Cohen C. (2022). Epidemiology of Respiratory Pathogens from the Influenza-like Illness, Pneumonia and Viral Watch Surveillance Programmes, South Africa, 2020-2021.

Els, F. (2021). Genetic manipulation of Plasmodium falciparum for conditional knockdown of potassium channels. University of Pretoria. Dissertation.

Graeme Götz

Director of Research Strategy

Graeme is Director of Research at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, where he works with a team of researchers to define and drive the research agenda of the GCRO.

Until June 2009, Graeme was a Specialist: Strategy & Policy in the Central Strategy Unit, Office of the Executive Mayor, at the City of Johannesburg. He developed a number of strategies including the 2006 Growth and Development Strategy and the 2007 Inner City Regeneration Charter.

Before joining the City he was a consultant for four years, specialising in local government and urban development. During this period he was the principal author of the 2004 State of South African Cities Report.

Between 1997 and 2001 he was a member of staff at the Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM), University of the Witwatersrand, serving as Manager of the Local Government Programme, lecturer on the Masters of Management: Public & Development Management, and designer and convener of the MM: Local Governance and Development. In 1995 and 1996 he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies.

Graeme’s academic work focuses on city development and urban renewal, urban economic development, local government, government strategy, intergovernmental relations and state theory.

Selected recent GCRO outputs

Mosiane, N., and Götz, G. (2022). Displaced urbanisation or displaced urbanism? Rethinking development in the peripheries of the GCR. GCRO Provocation #08, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, April 2022. DOI: 10.36634/SVRW2580

Götz, G., Hamann, C., Maree, G. (2022). Economic impacts of COVID-19. GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, April 2022.

Mkhize, T., Gotz, G., Naidoo, L., Seedat, R. (2021) Voting patterns in the 2021 local government elections. GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, December 2021. https://doi.org/10.36634/WVKF9598

Götz, G. (2021). Patterns of new work for those economically impacted during COVID-19. GCRO Vignette, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, December 2021.

Maree, G., Culwick Fatti, C., Götz, G., Hamann, C., Parker, A (2021). Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Gauteng City-Region: Findings from the GCRO's Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21). GCRO Data Brief, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, September 2021. https://doi.org/10.36634/2021.db.2

De Kadt, J., Gotz, G., Hamann, C., Maree, G., and Parker, A. (2020). ‘Mapping vulnerability to COVID-19 in Gauteng’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, March 2020. https://doi.org/10.36634/YJFL8903

Selected recent academic publications

Culwick, C., Götz, G., Butcher, S., Harber, Maree, G. and Mushongera, D. (2017). Doing more with less (data): Complexities of resource flow analysis in the Gauteng City-Region, Environmental Research Letters,12(12) 125006. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7c21

Culwick, C., Götz, G. Katumba, S., Trangoš, G. and Wray, C. (2015) ‘Mobility patterns in the Gauteng City-Region, South Africa’. Regional Studies Regional Science. 2(1), 308-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/21681376.2015.1034294

Götz, G. & Schäffler, A. (2015) ‘Conundrums in implementing a green economy in the Gauteng City-Region’, in journal special issue edited by Simon, D. & Leck H. ‘Bearing the brunt of environmental change: understanding adaptation and transformation challenges in urban Africa’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 13, April 2015, 79-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.02.005

Harrison, P. Götz, G. Todes, A. & Wray, C. (eds.) (2014) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.18772/22014107656

Harrison, P. Götz, G. Todes, A. & Wray, C.(2014) ‘Materialities, subjectivities and spatial transformation in Johannesburg’, in Harrison, P. et al (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press. https://doi.org/10.18772/22014107656.5

Götz, G. Wray, C. & Mubiwa, B.(2014) ‘The ‘thin oil of urbanisation’? Spatial change in Johannesburg and the Gauteng City-Region’, in Harrison, P. et al (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press. https://doi.org/10.18772/22014107656.6

Götz, G. & Todes, A. (2014) ‘Johannesburg’s urban space economy’, in Harrison, P. et al (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press. https://doi.org/10.18772/22014107656.10

Christian Hamann

Researcher

Christian completed his undergraduate studies in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Pretoria before embarking on a Honours degree in Geography (BSocSci Hons), also at the University of Pretoria. He then enrolled for a Master’s degree in Geography at the University of South Africa, which he completed at the beginning 2016. His research interests primarily relate to the Changing Social Fabric and Landscapes in Transition research themes but he enjoys engaging in a variety of projects related to analytics, cartographies and visualisations. His most recent work focussed on socio-spatial change, specifically racial-residential segregation and socio-economic inequality and future work is aimed at social mobility in Gauteng.

Most recent publications

Hamann, C. (2022). 'Book Review: Urban Inequality: Theory, Evidence, and Method in Johannesburg'. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 57 (8), 1690–1691.

Hamann, C. and Horn, A.C. (2022). 'Socio-economic inequality in the City of Tshwane, South Africa: A multivariable spatial analysis at the neighborhood level'. GeoJournal, 87, pp 2001–2018.

Parker, A. Hamann, C., and de Kadt, J. (2021). ‘Accessing Quality Education in Gauteng: Intersecting Scales of Geography, Educational Policy and Inequality’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp 141–163.

Ballard, R., Hamman, C., and Mkhize, T. (2021). ‘Johannesburg: Repetitions and Disruptions of Spatial Patterns’. In Lemon, A., Donaldson, R. and Visser, G. (eds.) South African urban change three decades after apartheid: Homes Still Apart? Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 35-55.

Ballard, R. & Hamann, C., 2021: Income inequality and socio-economic segregation in the City of Johannesburg, in van Ham, M., Tammaru, T., Ubareviciene, R. & Janssen, H. (eds) Urban Socio-Economic Segregation and Income Inequality. Springer. pp. 91-109.

Hamann, C. & Horn, A. C., 2015: Continuity or Discontinuity? Evaluating the Changing Socio-Spatial Structure of the City of Tshwane, South Africa, Urban Forum, 26 (1), 39–57.

Hamann, C. & Horn, A.C., 2014: Contextualising two decades of socio-spatial change in South African urban areas, in Cities in a Complex World: Problems, Challenges and Prospects, edited by Mierzejewska, L. & Parysek, J. J., Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Poznan, 53–62.

Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen

Senior Researcher

Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen is a Senior Researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO). He obtained his Master's in Management from the University of the Witwatersrand. He started his career at the Gauteng Provincial Government, where he managed the Vusani Amadolobha Grant Fund, South Africa’s first public-private partnership fund for urban renewal. His commitment to public sector transformation saw him join the National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI), a think tank established by the Congress of South African Trade Unions. At NALEDI, he managed the People’s Budget Campaign and was part of research teams that developed proposals on free basic services, basic income and national health insurance. He also led advisory work for unions in public service and state-owned enterprises, engaging with restructuring processes and developing alternatives and options.

From 2007 to 2022, Ebrahim-Khalil worked as an independent public policy analyst. As an analyst, his clients included NALEDI, Centre for Poverty, Employment and Growth at the Human Sciences Research Council, Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies, Development Policy Research Unit and the Economic Research Southern African, among other organisations. His work included developing proposals for small business development, scaling first-time job experiences and asset-building strategies.

He currently serves as the Chair of the board of the South African Labour Bulletin, and is one of the adjudicators of the Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition. He is a recipient of academic merit awards at university and has received the Premiers Service Excellence Award for his service in government. His work at NALEDI was recognised by his alma mata at the University of the Witwatersrand and was included in the inaugural Little Black Book published by the Financial Mail – a publication that featured the leading black professionals.

Ebrahim-Khalil has developed several applications while working independently and launched them on platforms such as Product Hunt and AppSumo. Ebrahim-Khalil hopes to build on his expertise and skills at the GCRO and create prototypes that support evidence-based interventions that empower citizens.

Most recent publications

Hassen, E-K. (2022). Reviewing Stakeholder Perceptions of Basic Income In South Africa. Economic Research Southern Africa.

Hassen, E-K. (2021). The impact and feasibility of a wage freeze proposal in the 2021/22 budget on development. South Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand.

Hassen, E-K. (2020). Return-to-workers: Trade union investment companies and ESOPS. In A. Cawe & K. Mabasa (Eds.), Beyond Tenderpreneurship: Rethinking Black Business and Economic Empowerment (pp. 278–309). Mapungubwe Institute of Strategic Reflection.

Hassen, E-K. (2020). Repositioning the work of the NSG in youth training and employment. National School of Government.

Hassen, E-K. (2019). The Skills We Have and the Skills We Need: An assessment of skills planning in national government’s economic policies. Labour Market Intelligence Programme, Development Policy Research Unit

Koen, M., Orr, L., Hassen, E-K., Maleba, M. and Tyiso, S. (2018). Worker Education - Needs Analysis, Review of Provision and Recommendations for Skills, Institutional Development and Sustainable Funding. National Labour and Economic Development Institute.

Hassen, E-K. (2017). Public Service Employment in South Africa: Explanations and Scenarios. Development Policy Research Unit (Employment Promotion Programme).

Hassen, E-K. (2017). Budget analysis for Public Service Salary Negotiations. National Labour and Economic Development Institute.

Dr Samkelisiwe Khanyile

Researcher

Samkelisiwe first joined the GCRO as an intern in 2016. She became a junior researcher in 2017 and a researcher in 2020.

She holds an MSc in GIS and Remote Sensing obtained in 2016 from the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2023, she obtained a PhD, also at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her Ph.D. research investigated the applications of a Geographic Information System (GIS) framework for the integrated conceptualisation, visualisation and analysis of the contemporary and historical characteristics of the urban post-mining landscape of Gauteng.

She has a broad interest in sustainability-related issues, data analytics, and visualisation. Her specific research interests include the applications of technologies such as GIS and Remote Sensing for informing sustainable and equitable urban development, participatory research methods, and citizen science. She has been involved in multiple national and internationally-funded projects related to the broader sustainability theme.

Most recent publications

Khanyile, S. and Marais, L. (Forthcoming). Mine closure policies and strategies in South Africa: a critical review. In Matebisi, S., L. Marais and V. Nel (Eds.) Local Responses to Mine Closure in South Africa. Routledge Studies of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development.https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003403326.

Botes, L., Khanyile, S. and Z. Mqotyana (Forthcoming). Mine closure and moving towards renewable energy in eMalahleni. In Matebisi, S., L. Marais and V. Nel (Eds.) Local Responses to Mine Closure in South Africa. Routledge Studies of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003403326.

Parker, A. and Khanyile, S. (2022) Creative writing: Urban renewal, the creative city and graffiti in Johannesburg, Social and Cultural Geography. (Online first)

Khanyile, S. and Culwick Fatti, C. (2022). ‘Interrogating park access and equity in Johannesburg, South Africa’. Environment and Urbanization, 34(1), 10-31.

Crous, C., Owen, J.R., Marais, L., Khanyile, S. and Kemp, D. (2020). Public disclosure of mine closures by listed South African mining companies. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 28, 1032– 1042.

Parker, A., Maree, G., Gotz, G. and Khanyile, S. (2020) How COVID-19 puts women at more risk than men in Gauteng, South Africa, The Conversation, 21 December 2020.

Nino, E. C., Lane, S., Okano. K., Rahman, I., Peng, B., Benn, H., Culwick, C., Maree. G., Khanyile, S., and Washbourne, C. (2020). Urban agriculture in the Gauteng City-Region’s green infrastructure network. GCRO Occasional Paper no. 15. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Culwick, C. and Khanyile, S. (Eds.) (2019). Towards applying a green infrastructure approach in the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO Research Report No. 11. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Khanyile, S. and Ballard, R. (2019). Spatial variation of political attitudes in the Gauteng-City Region, PositionIT, 19 May 2019.

Parker, A. and Khanyile, S. (2019). Graffiti is an eye-catching way to create lively spaces in cities, The Conversation, 08 April 2019.

Parker, A., Khanyile, S. and Joseph, K. (2019). Where do we draw the line: Graffiti in Maboneng, Johannesburg. Gauteng City-Region Observatory Occasional Paper no.14, Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory. March 2019.

Khanyile, S. N. (2016) Digital platform for mining activity data, Position IT, 14 July 2016.

Lebogang Lechuba

Marketing and Communications Manager

+27 11 717 7280

Lebogang Lechuba is a dynamic and experienced Marketing and Communications Manager who designs innovative communication campaigns, leads teams and drives projects across the urban planning space. Lebogang holds a Master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Pretoria, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Brand Innovation from Vega School of Branding. Additionally, she has obtained a Senior Management Development Programme Certificate from the University of Stellenbosch and a Brand Leadership for the Public Sector Certificate from the Africa Brand Leadership Academy.

Lebogang's career began over 16 years ago at a town planning consulting firm, where she provided professional land development advice to property developers and collaborated closely with stakeholders to ensure the approval of client development applications. She also spent over seven years at the National Treasury of South Africa, managing a portfolio of municipal infrastructure projects. Additionally, she provided technical assistance to urban and rural municipalities across South Africa to develop and communicate their spatial strategies through the precinct plan development process. In 2021, Lebogang led the communications campaign for the State of South African Cities report. She also partnered with the African Brand Leadership Academy to develop a communications toolkit for municipal practitioners in South African cities. This toolkit provides valuable guidance for communication teams, offering practical advice on city branding, measuring impact, media relations, and developing integrated marketing and communications strategies.

Lebogang is deeply committed to promoting gender mainstreaming in urban planning and making cities safer for women. Drawing on her training in mainstreaming urban safety and inclusion through urban upgrading at the University of Cape Town, she has reshaped her approach to communication campaigns with a gender-sensitive perspective. In 2019, she participated in the "Integrated, Long-Term Urban Development Planning and Learning" study tour in Germany as a member of the Integrated Urban Development Framework-Intermediary City Municipalities Learning Network. This experience has deepened her understanding of the complexities of in-migration and the critical role secondary cities play in supporting the growth of urban economies.

Phemelo Mahamuza

GIS Intern

Phemelo Mahamuza joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as a GIS Intern in early 2023. She obtained her Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Environmental Science at North West University and a BSc Honours in Environmental Science at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently registered for a Master of Science (MSc) in GIS and Remote Sensing at the University of the Witwatersrand, where her research focuses on the assessment of the capabilities of Unnamed Ariel Vehicle (AUV) and Sentinel-2 data in water quality of small dams.

At the GCRO, she is currently working on a number of projects, including the collaborative project between the GCRO and the National Institution of Communicable Diseases (NICD), which entails monitoring COVID-19 infections using human wastewater. Phemelo is also interested in engaging in projects that address socio-economic challenges and inequalities within Gauteng as well as exploring new machine learning techniques to find solutions that beset Africa.

Phemelo's passion as a GIS and remote sensing young professional lies in research, addressing socio-economic challenges, and utilising her spatial and statistical knowledge to solve environmental problems. In the coming future, she sees herself making significant contributions to the field and promoting equality within the Gauteng city-region.

Gillian Maree

Senior Researcher

Gillian Maree is a Senior Researcher at the GCRO. She is an Urban Planner specialising in sustainability, environmental management and spatial planning; with a specific interest in water and biodiversity.

Gillian has worked in both the public and private sectors examining how urban and infrastructure development relates to sustainability, natural resource management, spatial planning and policy. Before joining the GCRO she worked at the South African Cities Network (SACN) as a Researcher within the Sustainable Cities programme and had a project focus on water, climate change, urban indicators and support to local government on environmental issues. From 2001 to 2007 she worked at the CSIR as a researcher in systematic biodiversity planning, water resources management, GIS and governance.

Her research interests focus on the intersection, and interdisciplinarity, between science, society and spatial planning within urban environments. Recent work has brought a strong focus cities, indicator development and data management what this means for more sustainable urban areas.

Most recent publications

Culwick, C., Götz, G., Butcher, S., Harber, Maree, G. and Mushongera, D. (2017). Doing more with less (data): Complexities of resource flow analysis in the Gauteng City-Region, Environmental Research Letters,12(12) 125006. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7c21

South African Cities Network (2016) 'Chapter 5: Sustainable Cities' in State of South African Cities Report 2016, SACN: Johannesburg

South African Cities Network (2016) 'Data Almanac' in State of South African Cities Report 2016, SACN: Johannesburg

Shamsunisaa Miles-Timotheus

Research Intern

Shamsunisaa Miles-Timotheus joined the GCRO on the 1st of February 2023 as a Research Intern to assist with the Quality of Life (QoL) 7 survey project. Shamsunisaa obtained her Master of Health Demography from the Department of Demography and Population Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2021. She also holds an Honours in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Sociology) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her Master's research was a retrospective analysis of risky sexual behaviour histories and it focused on the relationship between HIV knowledge and consistency of condom use among youth in South Africa. She has an interest in sexual health research and believes that there is still much to be understood and analysed within the South African context.

Most recent publications

Ndagurwa, P., Naidoo, L. & Miles-Timotheus, S. (2023). Households of Gauteng: Male- female patterns of headship. Map of the Month. Gauteng City-Region Observatory. March 2023.

Miles-Timotheus, S. (2020). HIV knowledge and change in sexual behaviour among youth in South Africa (2012): a retrospective analysis of risky sexual behaviour histories. [Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand]. Johannesburg.

Sthembiso Pollen Mkhize

Junior Researcher

Sthembiso Pollen Mkhize joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as a Research Intern for the 2020/21 Quality of Life survey in late 2019, and was promoted to a Junior Researcher position in late 2021. He leads the Queering Social Survey Research project, which advocates for the inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community within the practices of social surveys and government planning. In addition to this, he is a valuable member of the team responsible for overseeing the flagship Quality of Life survey, a biennial project that has been conducted by GCRO in Gauteng since 2009.

Before his tenure at the GCRO, Sthembiso obtained his Master's degree in Population Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2019. His Master's research involved conducting an exploratory assessment of health services in meeting the sexual health needs of LGBT youth in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. His research was recognised and acknowledged by the university, media/newspapers, and several health organisations that focus on health promotion and disease prevention for key populations.

As an up-and-coming researcher, Sthembiso's passion revolves around various critical areas related to social justice and health, including LGBTIQ+ inclusion, youth health, quality of life and well-being, and the reciprocal relationship between sexuality and space. His contributions to academia are reflected in a diverse range of published works that explore topics such as heteronormativity in healthcare settings, geographies of sexualities, sexual health, healthcare service utilisation, and experiences of violence and depression.

Most recent publications

Mkhize, S.P. (2023). The importance of LGBTIQ+ inclusion in future censuses. Mail&Guardian, October 2023.

Mkhize, S.P., & Mthembu, A. (2023). Unpacking pervasive heteronormativity in sub-Saharan Africa: opportunities to embrace multiplicity of sexualities. Progress in Human Geography, 47(3): 377-391.

Mkhize, S.P., & Maharaj, P. (2023). Heteronormativity in Health Settings: Realities of LGBT Youth’s Access to Healthcare in South Africa. In: Naidoo, K., Adeagbo, O., Li, X. (eds) Young People, Violence and Strategic Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Clinical Sociology: Research and Practice. Springer, Cham.

Hatcher, A., Mkhize, S.P., Parker, A, & De Kadt, J. (2022). Depressive symptoms and violence exposure in a population-based sample of adult women in South Africa. PLoS Global Public Health, 2(11): 1-11.

Modiba, M., & Mkhize, S.P. (2022). Changes in socio-economic characteristics of formal and informal workers in Gauteng, South Africa: evidence from the Quality of Life survey (2017-2021). Southern African Journal of Demography, 22(1): 126-173.

Hatcher, A., De Kadt, J., Mkhize, S. P., & Parker, A. (2021). Fixing data blind spots is the key to solving violence against women and children. Daily Maverick, October 2021.

Mkhize, S. P., De Kadt, J., & Parker, A. (2021). Gauteng health and wellbeing survey highlights the plight of women and black Africans. Daily Maverick, September 2021.

De Kadt, J., Hamann, C., Mkhize, S. P., & Parker, A. (2021). Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21): Overview Report. GCRO Data Brief, September 2021.

Mkhize, S.P., & Maharaj, P. (2021). Meeting the sexual health needs of LGBT youth: Perceptions and experiences of university students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Social Service Research, 47(1): 56-72.

Mkhize, S.P., & Maharaj, P. (2020). Structural violence on the margins of society: LGBT student access to health services. Agenda, 34(2): 104-114.

Thembani Mkhize

Researcher

Thembani completed his MSc in Town and Regional Planning (Urban Studies) at Wits University in 2014. His research report, titled 'Managing Urban (Neighbourhood) Change for whom? Investigating the Everyday Practices of Building Managers in eKhaya Neighbourhood CID Hillbrow South,' explored the relationship between external and internal space management in inner-city Johannesburg’s Residential City Improvement Districts (RCIDs). The research uses (the everyday governance practices of) property caretakers – in their capacity as ‘transmission belts’ between tenants and other stakeholders in the RCID (property owners, the City, CBOs, etc.) – to understand the particularities and peculiarities of this relationship. The study is particularly interested in the extent to which the eKhaya property managers - via their everyday governance practices - appropriate, bend, resist, accept and adhere to norms governing the RCID, and what this means for inner-city management. He is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society (GKIHS) and was also a recipient of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Summer School Award.

In 2015, Mkhize was one of ten young researchers researching and writing up on innovative local and international responses to urban pressures that could be replicated in the South African context, and which will be documented in an edited book yet to be published by the DPME and the University of the Witwatersrand. He used eKhaya, in its capacity as an innovative response to urban crime and grime. Between late 2015 and early 2016, he assisted the DPME research team with the searching, collation, organisation, appraisal and coding literature on human settlements, in a project titled Evidence Mapping exercise in preparation for a Systematic Review in Human Settlements

With a research report titled The Challenges posed by the Political (Re)Branding of Competitive South African Cities: The case of (City and Street Name Changes in) Pretoria/Tshwane, Mkhize in 2012 graduated at the top of his class in the BSc(Hons) Urban and Regional Planning programme. The research report explored the extent to which branding/marketing and politics, two fundamentally different disciplines/concepts, converge and make themselves spatially manifest in the renaming of post-apartheid South Africa’s streets and big cities.

Most recent publications:

Mkhize, T. (2018). 'Urban crime and grime: lessons from Hillbrow’s eKhaya Residential City Improvement District. In P. Harrison and M. Rubin (eds.), Urban Innovations: Researching and documenting innovative responses to urban pressures. Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME): Pretoria, pp. 66–93.

Dr Mamokete Modiba

Senior Researcher

Mamokete Modiba (née Matjomane) joined the GCRO as a researcher in 2017. She holds a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, obtained in 2021. Her PhD project is titled “The role and influence of street trader leaders in urban governance: The case of Gauteng metros with reflections from Ahmedabad, India”. It investigates the extent to which street trader leaders participate in the everyday management of street trade and reflects on the practices of the state in governing the activity. With a background in urban planning, Mamokete’s research interests span across a variety of areas including inclusive economies, urban governance and management, poverty, inequality, social change and spatial transformation. She is particularly interested in understanding the complexities that inform local approaches towards achieving inclusive economic development; the strategic and regulatory frameworks that inform such approaches; local experiences and responses towards inclusive economies as well as the current role assumed by the state. Mamokete has a particular orientation towards improving public policy and practices to make them inclusive for the poor and marginalised.

Most recent publications

Modiba, M and Mdluli, T.N. (2023) The Inclusion of International Migrants in the Informal Economy: From Policy to Practice. In Maharaj, P. (ed) Migrant Traders in South Africa. Palgrave MacMillan. Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-21151-5.

Modiba, M. and Mkhize, S.P. (2022) Changes in socio-economic characteristics of formal and informal workers in Gauteng, South Africa: Evidence from the 2017/18 and 2020/21 Quality of Life Surveys, Southern African Journal of Demography, 22(1): 126-173.

Matjomane, M. (2021). From the margins of the state to quasi-state bureaucrats: The shifting nature of street trader leaders’ agency in Tshwane, South Africa. in Pezzano, A., Pioppi, D., Sathiyah, V. and Frassinelli, PP. (eds.) The Question of Agency in African Studies, UniorPress, Napoli. https://doi.org/10.6093/978-88-6719-243-4

Matjomane, M. (2021). The role and influence of street trader leaders in urban governance: The case of Gauteng metros with reflections from Ahmedabad, India. PHD thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning.

Matjomane, M. (2021). Dynamics of entrepreneurship in the context of COVID-19. GCRO Vignette #42. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Ballard, R., Khanyile, S., Matjomane, M., Mkhize, T., & Naidoo, Y. (2021). Migration and moving home. In J. de Kadt, C. Hamann, S.P. Mkhize & A. Parker (Eds.), Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21): Overview Report (Section 9). Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Hamann, C., Götz, G., Matjomane, M., & Mushongera, D. (2021). Poverty, inequality and social mobility. In J. de Kadt, C. Hamann, S.P. Mkhize & A. Parker (Eds.), Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21): Overview Report (Section 4). Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Matjomane, M. and Benit-Gbaffou, C. (2019). Towards Integrating the Community in Governance of Urban Informality? Lessons from Yeoville, In Benit-Gbaffou, C.; Charlton, S.; Didier, S and Dormann, K. Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg. Pretoria: Wits University Press.

Matjomane, M. (2019). Running a spaza shop. In Benit-Gbaffou C., Charlton S., Didier S. and Dormann, K. Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg. Pretoria: Wits University Press.

Ruth Mohamed

Finance and Office Manager

+2711 717 7286

Ruth joined Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as the Finance and Office Manager in March 2018, and is responsible for the financial health of the organisation.

Before joining GCRO, Ruth was at the Centre of Excellence for Bio-Medical TB Research, University of Witwatersrand, and she was responsible for the financial well-being and administration of the lab. Prior to this, she was a Junior Accountant at Fujifilm SA, the world’s largest photographic and imaging company. Ruth was also with Pick n Pay Retail and Clothing Division in various retail and financial positions for 16 years prior to moving from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 2008

Dr Ngaka Mosiane

Senior Researcher

My research interests centre around, provocatively, ‘the transformative potential of cities’. I use numerous entry points into this area of research. The first one is livelihoods, through which I examine how ordinary people use the city’s resources to reshape their lives within the context of changes in historical practices of livelihood formation, landscape forms and social identities. The second entry point is the state’s spatial interventions – the ways in which such interventions (the Master Plan, for example) facilitate and/or hinder ordinary people’s livelihood activities. The third vantage point into exploring the transformative potential of cities is the ways in which social payments, (local) state spending, and basic municipal services contribute to ordinary people’s livelihood assets. Taken together, I deploy these themes to reflect on the extent to which ordinary people are able to harness the city’s resources to build livelihoods and to use such livelihood assets to pursue their aspirations.

My other area of research interest is the intellectual history of informal housing: its major dimensions, the changes in the way this topic has been treated over time, the current emphases and future directions of informal housing research, theory, and methodology.

GCRO publications

Mosiane, N., Peberdy, S., Dzerefos, C., Sithagu, A., and Murray, J. (forthcoming). Landscapes of peripheral and displaced urbanisms. Report of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, Johannesburg.

Ngaka Mosiane (forthcoming). 'The Ecology of an Egalitarian City'

Mosiane, N., and Götz, G. (2022). Displaced urbanisation or displaced urbanism? Rethinking development in the peripheries of the GCR. GCRO Provocation #08, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, April 2022. DOI: 10.36634/SVRW2580

Mosiane, N. and Murray, J. (2021). ‘Economic and commuting connections in the northern GCR’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, August 2021.

Mosiane, N. and Murray, J. (2021). ‘Distribution of population and economic activity in the Gauteng City-Region’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, August 2021.

Mosiane, N., Sibisi, R. & Katumba, S. (2018). ’Commutes through Mabopane Station’, Map of the Month, July 2018.

Academic publications

Mosiane, N. and Dzerefos, C.M. (Forthcoming). Rustenburg: Coping despite mine decline. In Matebisi, S., L. Marais and V. Nel (Eds.) Local Responses to Mine Closure in South Africa. Routledge Studies of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development.https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003403326.

Mosiane, N. (2022). 'Mobility, Access and the Value of the Mabopane Station Precinct'. Urban Forum. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12132-021-09454-4

Mosiane, N. (2021). 'Livelihoods, the Body and the Space of Phokeng, Rustenburg'. In: L. Marais, M. Campbell, S. Denoon-Stevens, and D. Van Rooyen (eds.). Mining and Community in the South African Platinum Belt: A Decade after Marikana. New York: Nova Science Publishers. pp. 38–64.

Mosiane, N. (2019) 'Review of AbouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse (2017) New Urban Worlds: inhabiting dissonant times', Transformation 99, pp 133-135

Mosiane, N.B. (2019). ‘Informal Housing’ in Orum, A. and Smiley, S. (ed.) The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Urban and Regional Studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781118568446.eurs0536

Mosiane, N.B. (2019). 'Credit, cash transfers, and distributive neoliberalism'. African Studies 78(1). pp 152-164 DOI: 10.1080/00020184.2018.1495388

Mosiane, N.B. (2012) Review of Sarah Mosoetsa (2011) Eating from One Pot: The dynamics of survival in poor South African households, African Affairs, doi: 10.1093/afraf/ads011.

Mosiane, N.B. (2011) Livelihoods and the transformative potential of cities: Challenges of inclusive development in Rustenburg, North West Province, South Africa, The Singaporean Journal of Tropical Geography, 32 (1): 38-52.

Mosiane, N.B. (2009) Landscapes of Flexibility or Landscapes of Marginality? Spaces of Livelihood Formation in a Changing South African City, GeoJournal, 74, 541–549.

Dr Brian Murahwa

Postdoctoral Researcher

Brian Murahwa obtained his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University). He also holds a Master's degree in Labour Policy and Globalisation from the Global Labour University network based at Wits University. He joined the GCRO in November 2022 as a Postdoctoral Researcher for the Off-Grid Cities project, where he is focusing on the governance and management of water and energy resources in Gauteng’s elite suburbs. As an interdisciplinary urbanist, his research interests lie at the intersection of theory and practice in the fields of urban planning and management, migration, Pentecostalism, precarious labour and climate justice.

Most recent publications

Reudin. D and Murahwa. B. (forthcoming). When Politicians Feel Pressure to Represent: Evidence from South Africa.

Landau, L.B., Misago, J.P., Majidi, N., Marden, A., Sarkar, A., Mathebula, J., Murahwa, B. and Freemantle., I. (2018). Free and Safe Movement in Southern Africa: Report to inform advocacy promoting safe and unencumbered movement of people across Southern Africa’s international borders. African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand: Johannesburg.

Castel-Branco, R., Konopelko, E. and Murahwa, B. (2016). Policy considerations for the design and implementation of a national minimum wage for South Africa. University of the Witwatersrand: Johannesburg.

Murahwa, B. (2016). Monitoring and enforcement: strategies to ensure an effective national minimum wage in South Africa. National Minimum Wage Research Initiative Working Paper Series, No. 5. University of the Witwatersrand: Johannesburg.

Dr Darlington Mushongera

Senior Researcher

Darlington is a Senior Researcher and theme leader for Poverty and Inequality at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO). He joined the GCRO in August 2011. With a background in economics and urban planning, Darlington’s research interests span across a number of areas including poverty and inequality, governance, policy planning, and methods of measuring development. Darlington is an expert in multidimensional poverty methods and has published widely in this area. His work on governance and policy planning involves Actor-Network Theory analyses and ethnographic explorations of service delivery planning and management in South African municipalities with a particular focus on water services in the City of Johannesburg. Darlington holds a BSc in Economics, an MSc in Rural and Urban Planning, an MPhil in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies and a PhD in Town and Regional Planning from the University of the Witwatersrand. His PhD thesis is titled 'Who governs Johannesburg Water? An Actor-Network reading of water services governance in the City of Johannesburg (2000-2018)'. Beyond his GCRO work, Darlington is the music director of a small church orchestra in Diepsloot township of Johannesburg and has a passion for changing the lives of the poor through music.

List of publications

Mushongera, D. (forthcoming) “Who is who in the Zoo?” Anatomy of water services governance in the City of Johannesburg. In Practices of the (local) state in urban governance – reflections from South African cities by Claire Bénit-Gbaffou (ed).

Mushongera, D., Zikhali, P., Ngwenya, P. (2022). Multidimensional poverty in post-apartheid South Africa: the case of Gauteng Province. Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems.

Mushongera, D., Ngobese, S., Tissington, K., Toffa, T., Pingo, N., & Mokgere, T. (2022). Inclusive Cities: Transversal Cooperation for Inclusion and Wellbeing. In SACN (2022). State of South African Cities Report 2021. Johannesburg: SACN.

Mushongera, D. (2022). Who governs Johannesburg Water? An Actor-Network reading of water services governance in the City of Johannesburg (2000-2018). PhD Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand.

Bohlmann, J., Chitiga-Mabugu, M., and Mushongera, D. (2021). 'Youth and unemployment: Our present problem and a missed opportunity. Africa Today. Vol. 68, No. 2 (Winter 2021), pp. 142–148.

Hamann, C., Götz, G., Matjomane, M., & Mushongera, D. (2021). Poverty, inequality and social mobility. In J. de Kadt, C. Hamann, S.P. Mkhize & A. Parker (Eds.), Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21): Overview Report(Section 4). Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Mushongera, D., Götz, G., Khanyile, S., Mkhize, T., & Mosiane, N. (2021). Government performance and satisfaction with government. In J. de Kadt, C. Hamann, S.P. Mkhize & A. Parker (Eds.), Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21): Overview Report(Section 12). Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Mushongera, D., P. Magejo, and M. Ntuli. (2020). An analysis of well-being in Gauteng province using the capability approach. GCRO Occasional Paper # NO. 17.

Katumba, S. Cheruiyot, K. and Mushongera, D. (2019). Spatial change in the concentration of multidimensional poverty in Gauteng, South Africa: Evidence from Quality of Life Survey data, Social Indicators Research. 145(1), August 2019. pp 95-115. DOI 10.1007/s11205-019-02116-w

Mushongera, D., & Khanyile, S. (2019). Participation in Integrated Development Planning. GCRO Map of the Month, November 2019. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Zikhali, P., Mushongera, D., & Katumba, S. (2018). Multidimensional poverty in the GCR (2015/16 data). GCRO Map of the Month, June 2018. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Mushongera, D., Tseng, D., Kwenda, P., Benhura, M., Zikhali, P., & Ngwenya, P. (2018). Poverty and inequality in the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO Research Report No. 9. Johannesburg: Gauteng

Abrahams, C., D. Everatt, A. Van Den Heever, D. Mushongera, C. Nwosu, P. Pilay, A. Scheba, I. Turok (2018). South Africa: National Urban Policies and City Profiles for Johannesburg and Cape Town. SHLC, the University of the Witwatersrand and Human Sciences Research Council.

Cheruiyot, K and Mushongera D. (2018). Testing Economic Growth Convergence and Its Policy Implications in the Gauteng City-Region, in K. Cheruiyot (2018) The Changing Space Economy of City-Regions, pp. 213-239.

Mushongera, D., Culwick, C. (2017). Boundary organisations and the New Urban Agenda: the importance of policy research for evidence-based planning. International Development Planning Review 39(4), 368–371.

Culwick, C., Götz, G., Butcher, S., Harber, Maree, G. and Mushongera, D. (2017). Doing more with less (data): Complexities of resource flow analysis in the Gauteng City-Region, Environmental Research Letters,12(12) 125006. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7c21.

Mushongera, D., P. Zikhali, and P. Ngwenya (2017). A multidimensional poverty index for Gauteng Province, South Africa: Evidence from Quality of Life Survey Data. Social Indicators Research Vol 13:277-303.

Mushongera, D. (2017). Beyond GDP in assessing development in South Africa: The Gauteng City-Region Socio-Economic Barometer. Development Southern Africa Vo. 34, No. 3, 330-346.

Mushongera, D., C. Abrahams and Z. Ebrahim (2017). A Caring City – what matters every day to ordinary people in the city. A new way of assessing the performance of cities across the world. Research Report. City of Johannesburg.

Mushongera, D., Z. Ebrahim, C. Abrahams (2016). Caring Cities Barometer. Web-based interactive visual. City of Johannesburg.

Mushongera, D., P. Zikhali, and P. Ngwenya (2015). A multidimensional poverty index for Gauteng (GMPI). GCRO Map of the Month, February 2015.

G. Götz (ed.), C. Abrahams, K. Bobbins, K. Cheruiyot, C. Chikozho, C. Culwick, D. Everatt, S. Katumba, D. Mushongera, S. Peberdy, G. Trangoš, & C. Wray (2015). Quality of Life Survey 2013. City Benchmarking Report. November 2015. Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Mushongera, D. (2015). The GCRO Barometer 2014. GCRO Occasional Paper No. 9. Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Wray, C., D. Everatt, D. Mushongera, S. Katumba (2015). Best and worst-performing public schools in relation to poverty. GCRO Map of the Month, April 2015.

Mushongera, D. (2015). The GCRO Barometer 2014. Web-based interactive visual. http://barometer.legacy.gcro.unomena.net/. Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Mushongera D. (2013). Poverty dynamics and livelihood challenges among small-scale fishing communities on Lake Kariba - Zimbabwe. Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies, MPhil Thesis. University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.

Mushongera, D. (2013) Steel at Any Cost: A community perspective on the impacts of ArcelorMittal’s operations in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. BenchMarks Foundation.

Mushongera, D. (2013). Prices and earnings in the Gauteng City-Region. Johannesburg in comparison to major world cities. GCRO Data Brief publication

Mushongera, D (2013). International wage differentials for primary school teachers. GCRO Vignettes #14. April 2013.

Mushongera, D (2012). Gauteng 2012 budget highlights GCRO Vignettes #7. April 2013.

Mushongera, D. (2012). Key findings from Statistics South Africa’s 2011 National Census for Gauteng. GCRO Data Brief publication.

Mushongera, D. (2011). Summary of Gauteng results from the 2010 General Household Survey. GCRO Data Brief publication.

Dr Laven Naidoo

Senior Researcher

Dr Laven Naidoo joined the GCRO in November 2021 after a 13 year researcher career at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). He completed his PhD in Geoinformatics at the University of Pretoria in 2018 and specialized in the use of Earth Observation technologies for monitoring savannah, forest and wetland vegetation. He has a specific interest in the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for mapping and modelling woody structure in South African Savannahs. He has expanded his areas of interest in savannah tree species mapping using hyperspectral and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) airborne sensors, and the assessment of soil moisture and grass biomass in Afromontane wetlands using SAR technologies. Additionally he has expertise in precision agriculture applications for maize structural attribute estimation using satellite and drone-based approaches. He has published his work in high impact Remote Sensing journals. Over the last 10 years, he has been involved in various national and international projects in the field of vegetation structure modelling and mapping at the local to national scale.

Within the GCRO, he will expand his research into the development of advanced AI/machine learning techniques, geospatial data science approaches and novel remote sensing applications within the urban environment and Sustainable Development Goals space. He is also looking to intersect potential research outputs with more policy related requirements. He is also currently a Y-rated scientist by the South African National Research Foundation.

Most recent publications

Wessels, K., Li, X., Bouvet, A., Mathieu, R., Main, R., Naidoo, L., Erasmus, B., Asner, G.P. (2023). Quantifying the sensitivity of L-Band SAR to a decade of vegetation structure changes in savannas, Remote Sensing of Environment, 284, 113369

Li, X., Wessels, K., Armston, J., Hancock, S., Mathieu, R., Main, R., Naidoo, L., Erasmus, B., Scholes, R. (2023). First validation of GEDI canopy heights in African savannas. Remote Sensing of Environment, 285, 113402

Qabaqaba, M., Naidoo, L., Tsele, P., Ramoelo, R., Cho, M.A. (2023). Integrating random forest and synthetic aperture radar improves the estimation and monitoring of woody cover in indigenous forests of South Africa, Applied Geomatics, 15, 209–225

Van Deventer, H., Linstrom, A., Naidoo, L., Job, N., Sieben, E.J.J., Cho, M.A. (2022). Comparison between Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 sensors in mapping wetland vegetation communities of the Grassland Biome of South Africa, for monitoring under climate change. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, 28, 100875

Van Deventer, H., Linstrom, A., Naidoo, L., Cho, M.A. (2022). Deriving the maximum extent and hydroperiod of open water from Sentinel-2 imagery for global sustainability and biodiversity reporting for wetlands. Water SA, 48 (1), 75-89

Yashena Naidoo

Junior Researcher

Yashena Naidoo joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory in 2018 as an intern and became a junior researcher in 2020. Before joining the GCRO, Yashena was part of Rand Water’s GIS graduate programme.

She completed her undergraduate degree in 2015 and Honours in Geoinformatics (with distinction) at the University of Pretoria. She
has also completed her Masters in Geoinformatics with distinction. Her project related to the evaluation of novel street-addressing approaches in South African settlements.

Yashena’s research interests broadly relate to data analytics, particularly the use of spatial analysis to understand the varying spatial patterns and socio-economic factors within urban environments. She has a keen interest in open science principles for visualisations and data management to ensure that data can be accessible and usable to broader audiences

Dr Pedzisai Ndagurwa

Senior Researcher

Pedzisai Ndagurwa is a demographer with a Ph.D. from the University of the Witwatersrand obtained in 2020. He also holds a Master’s degree in Population Studies and Bachelor of Social Sciences (Industrial Psychology & Management) from the University of KwaZulu Natal obtained in 2014 and 2010 respectively. Pedzisai joined the GCRO in August 2022 as a Senior Researcher for the Quality of Life Survey. He has worked in public health research, particularly managing population-based surveillance at two Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites namely Agincourt in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, and Soweto and Thembelihle in Johannesburg, both in South Africa. Pedzisai’s research interests lie in family and household demography, fertility, population and health, mortality, and education. Since joining the GCRO, Pedzisai expanded his research focus to understanding the quality of life of particularly the Gauteng province’s population. Across his research themes, Pedzisai is particularly interested in knowledge production that highlights the conditions of women and children, and the source factors of the adverse outcomes in human lives.

Most recent publications

Ndagurwa, P. and Odimegwu, C. (2022) ‘On the empirical study of fertility transition: A case for application of age-adjusted measures in multivariable analysis’, International Journal of Population Studies, 7(2), pp. 60–70.

Kisaakye, P., Ndagurwa, P. and Mushomi, J. (2021) ‘An assessment of availability of handwashing facilities in households from four East African countries’, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 11(1), pp. 75–90.

Ndagurwa, P. and Chemhaka, G.B. (2020a) ‘Education elasticities of young women fertility in sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe’, Development Southern Africa, 37(6), pp. 921–936.

Ndagurwa, P. and Chemhaka, G.B. (2020b) ‘Family changes and childbearing in sub-Saharan Africa’, in C.O. Odimegwu (ed.) Family demography and post-2015 development agenda in Africa. Springer, pp. 223–242.

Ndagurwa, P. and Odimegwu, C. (2019a) ‘Decomposition of Zimbabwe’s stalled fertility change: A two-sex approach to estimating education and employment effects’, Journal of Population Research, 36, pp. 35–63.

Ndagurwa, P. and Odimegwu, C. (2019b) ‘Small area estimation of fertility: Comparing the 4-parameters own-children method and the Poisson regression-based person-period approach’, Spatial Demography, 7, pp. 149–165.

Ndagurwa, P. and Odimegwu, C. (2019c) ‘The elasticity of marital fertility in three sub-Saharan African countries: a decomposition analysis’, Genus, 75, pp. 1–33.

Odimegwu, C. et al. (2018) ‘Cohabitation in sub-Saharan Africa: A regional analysis’, Southern African Journal of Demography, 18(1), pp. 111–170.

Ndagurwa, P. and Nzimande, N. (2016) ‘The impact of family structure on schooling outcomes for children in South Africa.’, in N.E. Khalema, M. Makiwane, and M. Nduna (eds) Children in South African Families: Lives and Times. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 58–115.

Naledi Ngwenya

Administrative Officer

+27 11 717 7280

Naledi Ngwenya joined the GCRO as an Administrative Officer in 2022. Naledi's duties include overseeing day-to-day operations, coordinating planning efforts, and providing support to GCRO staff and key partners. Before joining the GCRO, she worked as an Administrative Assistant Intern at River Park Clinic, where her responsibilities included assisting the general public and completing various office-related duties. Naledi is driven by her ambition to enhance organisational efficiency, fulfil the objectives of the organisation, and foster a culture of innovation in the workplace.

Rashid Seedat

Executive Director

+27 11 717 7287

Rashid Seedat is the Executive Director of the GCRO. Rashid joined GCRO in June 2021 from the Gauteng Office of the Premier (OoP), where he worked since 2011 as the Head of the Gauteng Planning Division. Here he was responsible for strategic, spatial and infrastructure planning, as well as performance monitoring and evaluation for the Gauteng Provincial Government. From 2016, he also headed the Delivery Support Unit in the OoP, designed to set priority targets and accelerate delivery across provincial departments. In this capacity as a senior provincial official, Rashid has had a longstanding relationship with the GCRO as a previous Board member.

Rashid has a long history of involvement in urban struggles, and work on urban development and local government, starting as an activist in the 1980s, then as employee of Planact, and subsequently as councillor and official in the emerging system of post-apartheid local government in Johannesburg. Before joining the Gauteng Provincial Government, Rashid headed the Central Strategy Unit in the Executive Mayor’s Office at the City of Johannesburg, a position he held for over a decade.

In his various positions in provincial and local government, Rashid has overseen a wide range of research projects and surveys to underpin the design of new policies, long term development strategies, and service improvement programmes. He also has a wealth of experience working on the international stage. In recent years this has included support to the Premier of Gauteng in his role as Co-President of Metropolis, with a portfolio focused on social cohesion; localising the SDGs and the new urban agenda; and building a network of African city-regions through the Forum of African Metropolises.

Rashid has a long standing intellectual interest in the history of minority communities' struggles against apartheid; in the social and spatial dimensions of minority communities' displacement by the Group Areas Act, and the dynamics of their gradual return to the suburbs in the democratic era; as well as the position of sub-national government in systems of intergovernmental relations. He made contributions to the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), and also engaged in the development of Chapter 8 of the National Development Plan (NDP) on the national space economy.

Rashid is a trustee of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and was a member of the Council for the University of the Witwatersrand until the point at which he joined GCRO. He has a Master of Science (MSc) in Development Planning, and a Master of Management (MM) in Public and Development Management, both from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is Deputy Chairperson of the Steering Committee of UN-Habitat’s Global Urban Observatory Network (GUO-Net); a Special Advisory Committee member of uKESA (Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa); and a member of the Metropolitan Solutions Experts Group set up jointly by UN-Habitat and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

Melinda Swift

Senior Manager: Partnerships and Operations

+27 11 717 7280

Melinda Swift is the GCRO's Operations and Partnerships Manager. She has a background of twenty years in the civil service, most recently as the Specialist Advisor for Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy, in the national Department of Environmental Affairs. She has a background in implementing integrated projects in multi-stakeholder environments and has previously worked for the Gauteng Provincial Government in community-based natural resource management projects, the environmental sector Expanded Public Works Programmes, and in the listing and development of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Her focus is on developing organisational effectiveness and supportive networks, and purposeful project management.

Dr Wendy Tsoriyo

Postdoctoral Researcher

Wendy Tsoriyo joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as a Postdoctoral Researcher for the period January 2023 to December 2024. In 2021, she obtained her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Venda in South Africa. Her PhD research focused on spatial (in) justices in street spaces of small rural towns of Vhembe District, South Africa. Before joining the GCRO, she was lecturing Rural and Urban Planning in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Great Zimbabwe University.

Her research interests include understanding the gendered dimension of the Water, Energy and Food Nexus in the Gauteng city-region. Wendy seeks to utilise the GCRO's Quality of Life survey to understand the gendered perspectives of service delivery and participatory planning. Wendy is driven by the passion to see the upward mobility of marginalised communities and the vision for just cities realised.

Most recent publications

Gambe, T.R., Tsoriyo, W.W. & Moffat, F. (2023). Rethinking the efficacy of spatial development plans in Zimbabwe: A case of Masvingo Province. Cogent Social Sciences, 9: 1 - 18.

Tsoriyo, W.W. & Ingwani, E. (2022). Exploring the dynamics of street trading as street spatial (in) justice in Musina town. Journal of Inclusive Cities and Built Environment, 2(1), 57-60.

Tsoriyo, W. W., Ingwani, E., Chakwizira, J. & Bikam, P. (2022). Towards Responsive Human Smart Cities: Interrogating Street Users' Perspectives on Spatial Justice on Street Spaces in Small Rural Towns in South Africa. In Sustainable and Smart Spatial Planning in Africa (pp. 183-196). CRC Press.

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