Poverty and inequality in the Gauteng City-Region
Poverty and inequality are legacies of apartheid that are proving intractable to deal with, in spite of a high level of policy concern with the two challenges, and many attempts by the post-apartheid government to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. Why do poverty and inequality continue to be major developmental challenges in South Africa? To what extent have government efforts since 1994 contributed towards reducing poverty and inequality? With a view to knowing what provincial and local government could do to better address the issues, how do we understand the local spatial variation in those factors that constitute poverty and inequality? This major Research Report attempts to answer these questions with a focus on Gauteng, highlighting patterns, drivers and changes over time. The Report consists of three parts.
Part 1 gives an analysis of poverty and inequality from an income and expenditure perspective. The paper has two main objectives. First, it aims to provide an overview of changes in poverty and income inequality in Gauteng for the 15-year period between 1995 and 2010 as well as a critical analysis of the relationship between economic growth, poverty and inequality over this period. Second, it seeks to assess the impact of government provided social grants on income inequality and poverty in the province. The analysis utilises data on income and expenditure from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) Income and Expenditure Surveys for 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. In order to ensure comparability between the respective surveys, adjusted cross-entropy weights were applied.
Part 2 focuses on inequalities in the labour market over the period 1995-2012 using data from Stats SA's Labour Force Survey and the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Important variables considered include race, gender and education. Particular attention is given to how these characteristics result in segmentation and discrimination in the labour market, ultimately generating income inequalities.
Part 3 uses the GCRO's Quality of Life Survey (QoL) data for 2011 and 2013 to generate a Multidimensional Poverty Index for Gauteng (GMPI). The index was developed along the same lines as the South African Multidimensional Poverty Index (SAMPI) by Stats SA and follows the Alkire-Foster method of multidimensional poverty analysis. Since 2013 QoL data can be disaggregated down to ward level, the authors were able to map results by ward and thereby show spatial variations in multidimensional poverty across the province. Small area analyses such as this provide invaluable insights that should help provincial and local government to target areas with the most need
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Linked to project(s):Understanding poverty and inequality in the GCR (2018)
Taking Streets Seriously
In many parts of Gauteng, streets are congested with cars, trucks, minibus taxis, pedestrians, and informal traders. In other parts, streets are quiet, underutilised and frequently underserviced. The surface quality of the city-region’s streets varies widely – from the engineering marvel of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project to those (relatively few) remaining gravel or dirt roads. Besides these contrasts, there are many other degrees of quality by which Gauteng’s streets vary.
In some parts of Gauteng, streets have become privatised or heavily securitised. The phenomenon of ‘gated’ communities either manifests as enclosed streets within private estates or as closed-off existing public-road networks in older suburban areas. Some streets are patrolled by security guards, lined with high walls and electric fences, and surveyed by CCTV cameras.
In busy areas, informal traders sell their wares on the pavement or at traffic lights, adding to the congestion on narrow sidewalks. These activities are subject to varying levels of control and police harassment, where by-laws dictating the use of roads and pavements are haphazardly enforced, with trading goods or café tables randomly confiscated across the city. And, like many other features of the urban environment, the quality of Gauteng’s streets is highly uneven.
This Research Report, ‘Taking Streets Seriously’, interrogates how what is considered good urban design and liveability of streets may shift in different contexts. Through a series of case studies it attempts to understand the various logics at play in Gauteng’s streets – not only the logics of their designers, builders or managers, but also of those who inhabit, use, or otherwise interact with them.
The studies unearthed a complex interplay of actors on Gauteng streets, with street users, property owners and the state each operating according to their own, diverse agendas, contingent on the particular street in question. The result is streets that are chaotic, contested, and changing over time.
It is fair to say that, with only a few exceptions, Gauteng’s streets were and continue to be designed with hostility or a studied disregard towards anyone not behind a steering wheel. Yet despite the dominance of cars, pedestrian activities do proliferate. While indubitably car-centric, they are nonetheless sites of diverse and vibrant 'non-motorised' life. This vibrancy is no thanks to those who constructed and now control our streets. Non-car users have only made their mark by contesting the territory of the street using a variety of tactics.
With this Research Report, we hope to prompt a re-imagination of our streets, not least as streets rather than roads, but also as public spaces. Streets comprise by far the majority of public space in contemporary Gauteng, where other forms, such as plazas and parks, are woefully inadequate. Streets taken seriously – not by users, who have little choice, but by their designers, planners, and managers – have enormous potential to enable and encourage public life in Gauteng’s cities. Conversely, streets that are poorly made or neglected outright can constrain both the society and economy of a city.
Ultimately, we hope to correct an official urban discourse that overlooks the many uses to which streets are and could be put. In a time of enormous excitement and corresponding investment in our cities, we would like to see some of both these factors directed towards the (re)development of our streets.
The report comprises eight chapters and four reflections:
- Chapter 1. Streets as public spaces, by Jesse Harber and Alexandra Parker
- Reflection A. Streets as spaces for connection and memory, by Rehana Moosajee
- Chapter 2. The (in)Complete Streets of Emfuleni, by Kate Joseph
- Chapter 3. A research-based case study of Solomon Mahlangu Road, by Siegwalt U Küsel
- Reflection B. Princess Place, by Guy Trangoš
- Chapter 4. The conception and contestation of public space in Johannesburg suburbia, by Alexandra Parker
- Chapter 5. Context and utility cycling: The case of Springs in comparison to Johannesburg, by Njogu Morgan
- Reflection C. Why optimism is still an option: The battle for road space equity, by Gail Jennings and Guy Davies
- Chapter 6. Exploring high streets in suburban Johannesburg, by Tatum Kok
- Chapter 7. Contestations of street trading on De Villiers Street, by Mamokete Matjomane
- Reflection D. Open Streets Cape Town, by Rory Williams
- Chapter 8. Quiet encroachments on Braamfontein: A photo-essay, by Jesse Harber
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Linked to project(s):Taking streets seriously
Mining landscapes of the Gauteng City-Region
The extraction of gold along the Witwatersrand mining belt has fundamentally shaped the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) over more than a century. Mining in the region occurred across a vast area. The Witwatersrand basin is made up of three sub-basins – the West’, ‘Central’ and ‘East’ Rand – and stretches across a further seven distinct gold mining areas. These goldfields attracted prospectors, industrialists and work-seekers from across South Africa and around the world. They were responsible for the formation of Johannesburg and, over time, the development of large parts of the extended metropolis around it. For many years, gold mining produced immense wealth for mining companies, banks and residents – indeed the wealth extracted fired the entire South African economy. But there have been negatives. Gold mining also spawned a war, entrenched deep social divides, instilled exploitative labour practices, and devastated the natural environment. Though the industry is now in decline, the landscapes affected by mining are still identifiable by toxic scars that traverse the city-region.
This Research Report, GCRO’s seventh, considers how the legacies of mining have been imprinted on the towns and cities of the Gauteng City-Region. The report uses ‘mining landscapes’ as a conceptual device to structure an analysis of the diverse impacts of mining, and to highlight the need for a comprehensive and collaborative approach to manage its after-effects.
The report makes a unique contribution to existing literature on mining and mining waste in the city-region by presenting an integrated perspective on their urban, environmental, social and economic processes, characteristics and consequences, both historical and contemporary. While accounts are often told from the viewpoint of specific disciplines (such as history, geography or sociology), the analyses presented in this report – comprising of written pieces, archival excerpts and photo essays – are unbounded by distinctive disciplinary conforms. This allows for the diversity of the landscape to be explored in new ways.
The report makes a call for the GCR’s mining landscapes to be understood as a connected landscape of systems rather than a set of isolated and forgotten features of a bygone mining era. From the abandoned mine areas that scatter the surface of the GCR, to earth tremors caused by hollowed out cavities below the earth, silicosis, acid mine drainage, distressed mining towns and more recent histories of artisanal mining – the legacy of gold mining in Gauteng has a variety of expressions, all emerging from the same interconnected history. The concluding chapter looks to the future and considers the possibilities for innovative and collaborative approaches to unshackle the towns and cities of the Witwatersrand from their gold-mining inheritance. This includes the prospects for spatial transformation, repairing social divisions, cultivating natural assets, and remedying the destructive health and environmental effects of a century of mining activity.
The report comprises eight chapters:
- Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the mining landscapes of the Gauteng City-Region, and sets out the purpose and structure of the Research Report.
- Chapter 2 interrogates the historical mining-related processes that have contributed to the city-region’s divided urban form. It uses the conceptual devices of ‘Landscapes of pleasure’ and ‘Landscapes of production’ to examine urban divisions.
- Chapter 3 investigates the legacy of mining waste on the region’s natural environment. It analyses discrepancies between policy and practice in the management of the Witwatersrand mining basins, and considers opportunities for addressing the legacies of poor environmental mismanagement.
- Chapter 4 is a photo essay that illustrates some of the environmental impacts of mining on the West Rand areas of Gauteng, including acid mine drainage.
- Chapter 5 further investigates abandoned mining areas, in particular the lasting health implications experienced by communities situated close to abandoned mining areas. It considers the environmental justice concerns associated with the spatial co-location of settlements and mining waste, and considers health challenges faced by former mine workers.
- Chapters 6 and 7 examine new prospects for the city-region’s mining waste sites through two ethnographic photo essays, capturing the complexity and hardship of, first, illegal mining and, second, the scavenging for old metal waste on abandoned mine dumps.
- Chapter 8 examines prospects for the GCR’s mining landscapes through an analysis of government and corporate rehabilitation programmes, including design exercises that imagine new and innovative futures for mining waste.
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