Governing the GCR series: Institutionalising the Gauteng City-Region
The Gauteng City-Region (GCR) is an uncertain concept, but diminishingly so; it is increasingly recognised in official and other discourse. Nonetheless, this growing acknowledgement of a city-region lying roughly from "somewhere north of Pretoria to the Vaal River (and sometimes beyond); and from east of Springs to west of Krugersdorp" (Mabin, 2013, p. 4) has not resulted in a settled consensus of what this means, or should mean, for the purposes of planning, public investment, or governance.
At its most basic, the concept of 'city-region' arises from the observation that the formal boundaries of a city seldom correspond to what we might otherwise conceive of as the 'city'. Municipal boundaries are useful for delineating the area of responsibility of this government or that (to a point) and as a result are useful for predicting the observable products of that responsibility: water pipes, garbage-collection routes, and so on. But they are much less useful for describing the very many non-government phenomena that also constitute a city, including flows of people, natural resources and raw materials, and goods and services; spatial patterns of development; and economic activity.
This Provocation is the first in a series on the topic of "governing the Gauteng City-Region". The piece introduces a number of considerations entailed in the governance of this city-region, and discusses the prospect of institutionalising that governance. Talk of institutionalisation originated recently within the Gauteng Provincial Government as a solution to various complexities of governance. This paper traces the development of the idea of institutionalising the city-region from its origin to its current state; it surveys the institutions that are currently, between them, responsible for GCR governance; and it explores the complexities of dividing powers and functions across a multi-layered, multi-dimensional field of governing institutions and their territories of operation.
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Linked to project(s):Governing the GCR
Brazil: Innovation and Development
This essay discusses recent developments in Brazil´s innovation policies. These policies are part of a long-term developmental process and the current search for a new national configuration of policies and instruments capable of steering Brazil in the midst of globalisation and economic systems that have knowledge as their backbone. Industrialisation became the main source of inspiration as a means of attaining social evolution in countries like Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico, Argentina and South Korea, to name a few; and in a sense this remains true today.
These roots have marked state institutions and underscore the modus operandi of government planners. Brazil´s prospects for overcoming poverty, inequality and the burden of late development can be described as a process of attaining a better balance between earlier achievements and the current process of institution-building aimed at providing Brazil with the policies and instruments to support innovation as a means of achieving social and economic development.
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The decanting of acid mine water in the Gauteng City-Region
The large void beneath the Witwatersrand created by gold mining over the last 120 years is filling with water, which is rising at about 15m per month. The void will fill and water will begin to leak out (decant) on surface in about three years from now. It is likely that multiple decant points will develop in municipal areas across the Witwatersrand from Roodepoort to Boksburg. experience on the West Rand has shown that the quality of the water is likely to be poor and toxic.
The prime risk area where decant points are likely to develop is in a zone about 500m wide straddling Main Reef Road and the M2 motorway, plus a secondary zone some two kilometres to the south. deep basements of buildings and other sub-surface infrastructure in the risk zones could experience flooding and the underground facility at Gold Reef City, a national treasure, will be lost.
The problem can be solved by establishing pump stations at shallow depth in the mining belt to keep the water at a safe depth below surface. a depth of 300m is recommended in order to protect the Gold Reef City facility. The technological capability to do this is readily available, and the necessary water treatment processes are well established. Although initially expensive, the pumping operation may ultimately generate a profit. Moreover, the cost of not pumping may ultimately vastly exceed the cost of timely intervention. establishing the necessary pumping and water treatment infrastructure will take considerable time, and therefore immediate action is required.
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