- Graeme Götz
Since 2011 GCRO has provided research support to the Gauteng Planning Commission (GPC) for an emerging long-term development strategy for the city-region, known as G2055.
In 2008/09, in the run-up to the 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.
In 2011 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 in late 2011. Its role is to guide the strategy and consultation work needed in the process of finalizing G2055.
The GAC was split into four working groups, focused on the economy, infrastructure, social transformation and governance. These convened for the first time in November 2011, where GCRO staff members allocated to each group summarized key conclusions from both the NPC’s then draft national vision, as well as the OECD Territorial Review of the GCR (regarded as a key diagnostic input into G2055).
2012 kicked off with a workshop between GPC and GCRO to look at draft work on a revised G2055 strategic framework. In the second half of 2012 GCRO participated actively in the strategic pathways. GCRO staff wrote drafts of the 'green economy', 'inclusive society' and 'international positioning' pathways documents, and advised closely on the drafting of the 'infrastructure transitions & urban sustainability' one. As contributions to the process GCRO organised and facilitated a workshop on demographic and spatial modelling; facilitated part of a workshop on with PARI / Princeton academics on a future public service; presented at a workshop on the urban space economy; and supported work in various other task team meetings. GCRO also participated in a session on city regional governance options with Greg Clark, and the integrating workshop in early December 2012.
In early 2013 GCRO helped to develop a presentation synthesizing emerging G2055 thinking, that was subsequently presented to the GAC, HoD Lekgotla and EXCO Lekgotla. GCRO also agreed to dedicate own funding to contract the lead consultant for additional time on the project, and to contract Prof. Edgar Pieterse to write the ‘GCR’s possible futures’ section of the final document.
Through 2013 GCRO continued to assist where required, mostly by participating in sessions to plan the G2055 process, giving presentations to workshops on key issues (such as on 'resource flows and infrastructure transitions' and 'smart cities'), and contributing ideas for the draft strategy - eventually commissioned out and finalised by external consultants - in strategic discussions.
Address by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on the occasion of the launch of the Gauteng 2055 discussion document, and the Gauteng 2055 public participation campaign.
Gauteng Provincial Government, Gauteng Planning Commission (2012) Gauteng 2055: A discussion document on the long-term development plan for the Gauteng City-Region. GPG.