Spatial trends in Gauteng
This Occasional Paper examines six spatial trends in Gauteng: urban sprawl, uneven densification, residential building growth, the reproduction of a property affordability gradient, socio-economic segregation and the reproduction of a mismatch between residential and economic areas. These spatial trends are the physical manifestation of a remarkable variety of actors responding to a wide variety of opportunities, incentives and disincentives; and they have important implications for spatial transformation. While it might be possible to name post-apartheid urban ideals, these six spatial trends underscore the disbursed nature of the energies producing urban space, and the need to understand and work with these energies in directing spatial transformation.
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Rescaling municipal governance amidst political competition in Gauteng: Sedibeng’s proposed re-demarcation
In 2011, the Gauteng Provincial Government proposed that Sedibeng, a Category C district municipality located in the province, should be restructured. Although the original proposal had anticipated that this would happen after the 2016 local elections, the issue remains unresolved due largely to fierce party-political opposition and vociferous protests against it on the ground.
This Occasional Paper examines the dynamics, particularities, peculiarities and challenges of re-demarcating the Gauteng City-Region. While informed by technical reasons, the arguments for and against the merger have tended to gravitate more towards party-political rationales for why the re-demarcation should or should not go ahead. Although these debates raise important merits and demerits for the proposal, they are difficult to disentangle from the interests of those whose fortunes would be changed by restructuring. In this environment, municipal demarcation risks being held hostage by party politics, with stakeholders such as political parties using any means at their disposal to have things go their way, including by scapegoating the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB).
The case of Sedibeng presents important lessons about attempts to make post-transition local government – and mechanisms for determining its configuration – work for Gauteng. It also highlights the need for strengthening and revising demarcation-related legislation. How can we make sure that the MDB functions effectively with respect to its primary goals?
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