Governing the GCR series: Strengthening governance in the GCR through a spatial data infrastructure - the case of address data
Geospatial data, such as administrative boundaries, property information, addresses, streets and utility networks, provide the backbone for city governance. Availability, accessibility and usability of such data and related services are typically facilitated through a spatial data infrastructure (SDI), which requires careful stakeholder coordination and an information-driven approach that can unlock the value of geospatial data. This Provocation reviews the current state of affairs regarding address data in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) and explores prospects for coordinating a GCR address dataset in an SDI context.
The focus is on addresses because of their important role in service delivery, the socio-economic well-being of residents and the recognition of civic and human rights. For example, good quality addresses are vital in the current COVID-19 crisis, as government strives to map COVID-19 cases in order to identify emerging local clusters of infections and spatially target responses. Currently, address data in the GCR are maintained in silos at different provincial departments and municipalities, without any coordination and without adherence to international standards and good practices for addressing and information management. This results in duplication, inconsistencies and even fraud, which not only costs the municipalities, national and provincial governments billions but also damages their reputations.
To rectify this, this Provocation identifies various entities for taking the responsibility to methodically coordinate GCR address data into a single reference dataset. Since many entities have a legal accountability related to address data, a decision and strong political leadership are required to lead multiple interventions and initiatives in parallel with the aim of reaping benefits for governance and society in the long run. As Gauteng is one of few provinces with municipal address datasets, the GCR could serve as an example for coordinating the maintenance of geospatial datasets among its municipalities, as few (if any) such datasets exist in South African municipalities, provinces and national departments.