Photography by:
  • Charne Ayres & Nichola Bosman & Papama Tungeli

Ad hoc support to government

  • Ongoing

On an ad hoc basis GCRO provides strategic support to various Gauteng Provincial Government departments or to municipalities. Below is a listing of some of the work done over the years. Note that some of our larger government support projects are not included on this list, but are profiled on separate project pages. Also note that this is not the sum total of support provided: on a regular basis GCRO staff responds to requests from government officials with extracts from QoL data; advice on sources of data; comments on policies and plans; participation in workshops; contributions to power-point presentations; planning and facilitation of key events; etc. GCRO also frequently inputs into government planning processes with presentations drawn from its research (see our listing of presentations here).

Rapid research reports for City of Johannesburg. Inaugurating a new model of work, and a new kind of output, the GCRO responded to a request from the City of Johannesburg’s Group Strategy Division to develop two rapid research papers. The first paper developed a Health Vulnerability Index and considered the policy implications of some of the insights derived from a mapping of this issue. The second paper considered the challenges of food security in Johannesburg and possible points of policy focus for the City to respond to this challenge. Both papers, delivered in January 2021, contribute to the City’s revision of its long-term growth and development strategy.

Towards a Gauteng regional system of innovation. Through meetings between GPG and high-level representatives of the universities brokered by GCRO (see below), it was agreed that a core focus of mutual interest could be the development of a regional system of innovation. Coincidentally, at around the same time, GCRO was asked to become involved in various processes being led by different parts of GPG towards a regional system of innovation. For example, in October 2018 GCRO assisted The Innovation Hub in a workshop to develop an approach to mounting a Gauteng Innovation System Baseline Study. Subsequently, in the final quarter of 2018/19, GCRO convened and/or participated in a number of meetings on a possible Gauteng regional innovation ecosystem, bringing together various GPG departments and other innovation stakeholders. In related work, starting in early 2018, and continuing in 2019, GCRO assisted in discussions around the ongoing relationship between GPG and the city of Reggio Emilia and region of Emilia Romagna, in particular in relation to the development of regional systems of innovation in the respective regions.

Analysis of the situation in 'coloured' wards. Following widespread protests in coloured communities in Gauteng in mid to late 2018, GCRO was asked to synthesise any insights from relevant data sources such as QoL that might shed light on the situation in coloured communities. The insights were assembled into a presentation which was presented to the GPG EXCO Lekgotla in October 2018.

Further support to GPG on air pollution. Following a request for GPG representation, Gillian Maree and Samkelisiwe Khanyile attended the Ramphal Institute Conference on Megacities and Air Pollution from 25-26 September 2018 in London. A presentation of ongoing work was given by Gillian Maree as well as participation in two panel debates on the governance of pollution in Commonwealth Megacities.

Metropolis support to GPG. In November 2017, GCRO assisted the Gauteng Planning Division with convening a one day workshop focused on understanding the SDG’s and strategising GPG’s commitment to localising them, in part because of the Gauteng Premier’s election to the position of Vice President of Metropolis. Two GCRO staff, Christina Culwick and Gillian Maree, gave inputs at the workshop, and GCRO also facilitated the contributions of two external specialists, Prof Colleen Vogel and the national DEA’s Peter Lukey. At the request of the Gauteng Planning Division, GCRO contributed in a number of ways to the Metropolis Annual Meeting that took place in Gauteng from 26-29 August 2018. GCRO advised on the structure of the programme and possible session facilitators and speakers, and for the event itself GCRO put together a major exhibition on the issues of inclusive city-building in the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO staff were also involved in multiple sessions as either facilitators or presenters. Later in 2018, GCRO assisted in conceptualising a proposal for the Premier’s Co-Presidency Portfolio in Metropolis.

In mid 2018, the GCRO hosted the National Department of Environmental Affairs Standing Committee on Information Management Systems (IMS). A presentation on GCRO data was given by Gillian Maree. Further engagement and collaboration on issues of evidence based policy and landcover mapping was agreed to.

In the second quarter of 2018/19, Dr. Julia de Kadt provided the City of Ekurhuleni with support on survey design and sampling strategies for a customer satisfaction survey conducted by their water department.

Water security plan for Gauteng. In view of the critical water shortages experienced in Cape Town over 2017 and 2018, GCRO was asked to provide a number of presentations on Gauteng water security risks to key provincial events in the last quarter of 2017/18, including the February 2018 Executive Council Lekgotla and the Premier’s Coordinating Forum. Building from these presentations, GCRO was asked in early 2018/19 to provide dedicated support to GPD to develop a Water Security Plan for the city-region. Working with a specialist service provider, and in close partnership with GPD officials, the plan was developed over a period of two to three months – as requested – from June 2018. The plan was extensively workshopped in various forums and also presented at a series of academic events.

Vulnerability mapping for GDARD. Over January-March 2018, GCRO assisted the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) Climate Change Unit to test methods and develop maps of climate vulnerability in Gauteng as part of the development of a provincial Climate Change Strategy. The contributions were published as a GCRO Map of the Month in March 2018. GDARD officials subsequently took the work forward with the development of a poster, displayed inter alia at the Metropolis Annual Meeting in August 2018. The City of Johannesburg also subsequently requested input into their processes of mapping climate vulnerability.

GPG exhibition at the 2018 World Urban Forum. The GCRO assisted the Gauteng Provincial Government with its exhibition stand at the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018. The GPG reproduced the stand developed by GCRO for the Seoul biennale exhibition, using the identical design and content.

MoU between the GPG and Gauteng universities. Following a meeting between the Premier and Vice Chancellors of universities in Gauteng, and the signing of an MoU between them on 24 May 2017, GCRO was asked to assist with brokering productive relationships between GPG and the universities. A series of meetings was held with key representatives of the universities throughout 2017 and 2018. The potential areas of mutual interest between the universities and government in the city-region are potentially endless (and of course GCRO is not in a position to broker all conceivable interactions), and so the preliminary meetings facilitated by GCRO sought to demarcate where to focus particular attention. Through these discussions it was decided that a core focus would be joint work around the development of a regional system of innovation for Gauteng.

In mid 2017, GCRO assisted an official from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with data requests to support planning processes underway by the national Infrastructure Coordination Commission.

Gauteng service delivery war-room. Via introductions from the Gauteng Planning Division, GCRO met a number of times with officials from and consultants working for the central information centre of the GPG service delivery war room, over April-June 2017. GCRO elaborated various options for data collection including how the Quality of Life Survey could be of benefit.

Gauteng Department of Education school feeder zones. In 2016/17 GCRO was asked to provide technical assistance on processes underway to define new ‘school feeder zones’. Over several years, on an occasional basis, GCRO participated in task meetings, and provided input by highlighting relevant research to departmental officials and commenting on policy documents. The request was part of the reason for GCRO developing its own research project on geographies of education.

Pollution buffers policy. On request from the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD), GCRO worked over October to December 2016 to prepare a substantial input into the department’s pollution buffers policy. The input used GIS and Quality of Life Survey data to analyse the impact of the existing buffers around pollution sources on the health and welfare of residents in the vicinity. Also during this time GCRO and GDARD signed a letter of commitment to collaborate, with a view to developing a subsequent memorandum of understanding around joint projects.

Aligning GPG outcome indicators to the new SDGs. In the 3rd quarter of 2015/16, the Gauteng Planning Division asked GCRO to assist with two projects identified at the October provincial Lekgotla, one on the institutionalisation/legislation of key GCR institutions, and the other on aligning GPG outcome indicators with the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first project was taken forward through the commissioning in of a specialist consultant, but GCRO assisted with the second over several months. In addition to this GCRO also supported the City of Johannesburg – which the October Lekgotla had tasked with developing ideas to address inequality in Gauteng – by providing information on poverty and inequality from a GCRO Research Report in development at the time (see here).

National Anti-Racism Action Plan. Through 2015/16 GCRO contributed to the national Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Steering Committee on the National Action Plan against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances. The work was undertaken as part of GCRO's own project on anti-racism, and fed into a Research Report published in July 2017.

In mid-2015, GCRO assisted the Gauteng Planning Division with an analysis of key ‘mega-trends’, needed for a GPD Lekgotla presentation on the GSDF and Gauteng Integrated infrastructure Master Plan.

Starting in 2014/15, and for several years, Christina Culwick served as a member of the Gauteng Transport Commission Panel of Experts.

Gauteng eTolls Review Panel - socio-economic impact assessment. On special request from the Premier of Gauteng, GCRO provided technical research support to a panel of experts responsible for assessing the socio-economic impact of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme and associated e-tolling. GCRO prepared the background socio-economic study (an input into the Panel's final report) and submitted this at the end of November 2014. GCRO also supported the Panel's work by contracting research experts for specific inputs (environmental modelling, financial options modelling, focus groups, and so on).

20-year Review for the Gauteng Provincial Government. The Gauteng Planning Commission asked GCRO to contribute a section to its review of progress in the 20 years since democracy and the 2009-14 term of office. In September and October 2013 GCRO staff worked together on a synthesis of socio-economic trends over the last two decades. The 20 000 word section covered 14 topics, including demographic changes and spatial development, poverty and inequality, health, ecoomy and employment, human settlements, governance, and social cohesion.

Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF). Over a number of years national government has sought to develop an Urban Development Framework for the country. The release of the 2012 National Development Plan gave new impetus to and space for the initiative. A Panel of Experts, reporting to the Department of Cooperative Government and an Interministerial Committee, was convened to guide the process. GCRO's Research Director, Graeme Gotz, was asked to serve on the Panel, which met and oversaw work towards the IUDF throughout 2013 and the first half of 2014.

Gauteng 2009-2014 Mid-Term Review. GCRO was asked by the Gauteng Planning Commission (GPC) to assist with a Mid-Term Review of the 2009-2014 Gauteng Provincial Government term of office. Starting in September 2011 and ending February 2012, GCRO helped GPC find and contract a principal author for the Mid-Term Review and wrote an Overview of the GCR section to introduce the Review. GCRO also assisted with commissioning external evaluators of key initiatives that GPG wanted to assess as part of the Review.

City of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS). As an input into the City of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) process, Graeme Gotz wrote a brief note on how the City should strategically think about and approach the building of a GCR in late 2011.

September 2011 Gauteng Advisory Council. GCRO arranged for Prof Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies and Director of the LSE: Cities Programme, to do a presentation of his work – Living in the Endless City – to a meeting of the Advisory Council of the Gauteng Planning Commission, on 20 September 2011.

Sustainable Human Development Strategy for Gauteng. In May 2011 GCRO assisted the Department of Housing and Local Government in clarifying expectations of a service provider responsible for producing a Sustainable Human Development Strategy for Gauteng.

Support to the Department of Roads and Transport. Early in 2011, GCRO was approached by the MEC for Roads & Transport with a view to assisting in the development of a 25-year integrated transport strategy for Gauteng. GCRO expanded the transport questions in the 2011 Quality of Life survey, to provide a richer, more detailed, geo-coded dataset for analysis. GCRO also commissioned additional analysis of the 2011 QoL survey data from Prof Christo Venter at UP, one of Gauteng’s leading transport academics. GCRO also became involved in trying to ensure that three imminent city-level transport surveys (in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane) all use the same sample frame and the same questions, thus ensuring comparability.

Sports facilities audit. In February 2011, GCRO met with the HoD and senior staff of the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation to discuss an audit (including a spatial geo-coding) of all sport and recreation facilities in Gauteng. A brief review of an audit conducted in 2002 of GPG sports facilities revealed that the existing data was outdated, duplicated, of varying quality and required a significant amount of work to update to a current map all the facilities. Gaps in coverage were also identified in the north eastern and south western areas of the province. The results of the review, together with a proposal for using a new source of GIS data to ascertain the location of sports facilities (which data was purchased by GCRO for the project), were presented to the provincial sports HoD and MEC in July and August 2011. GCRO recommended that the department issue a tender to obtain an updated comprehensive geocoded database of sports facilities. GCRO also proposed draft tender specifications for use by the department to commission in survey expertise.

Inputs into potential low carbon economic development projects. In early 2011 Maryna Storie provided BlueIQ with comments and inputs into assessments for potential low carbon projects.

FIFA World Cup Close-out Report. GCRO sourced a consultant to undertake a ‘Close-out report on the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup’ for the GPG Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation. GCRO commissioned the consultant on the Department’s behalf. The project ran from late 2010 to early March 2011 when a final draft report was delivered.

DED ICT development strategy. In 2011, GCRO agreed to act as a conduit for contracting the LINK centre at the Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM) by the Department of Economic Development. LINK prepared an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Development Strategy for the Department.

Moringa Oleifera. In late 2010 and early 2011, GCRO assisted The Innovation Hub with maps to support the selection of potential sites for a food security project (Moringa Oleifera) in the northern areas of Tshwane.

'Researcher mobility'. In November 2010, GCRO provided information to the Department of Economic Development on various higher education questions for a project on ‘researcher mobility’.

Gauteng Growth Employment and Development Strategy (GEGDS). In April 2010, GCRO assisted the Department of Economic Development and the Advisor to the MEC to finalise the Gauteng Employment Growth and Development Strategy (GEGDS). This involved giving strategic advice on possible content and edits on drafts of the document.

Last updated 12 November 2021.


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