Photography by:
  • Amanda Breytenbach & Sarah Jansen van Vuuren & Amanda van der Walt

Gauteng Provincial Government 50 priority wards (2012)

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During the first six months of 2011, the GCRO embarked on a statistical and spatial analysis process to provide strategic decision support to the Gauteng Planning Commission. The aim of the project was to re-select 50 wards based not only on the 2011-local election ward boundaries, but also on indicators that would prioritise wards regardless of where they are, and which may not only relate to poverty in its basic sense. We refer to these wards as ‘Priority Wards’.

The project relied heavily on geographical information and the enabling technology of GIS to do the statistical modelling, and the outputs include a set of static maps, as well as a spreadsheet where users could define their own selected weightings to the available indicators. The 50 priority wards theme in the GCRO GIS website was also developed to allow users to interact with the indicators and dynamic maps.

The project investigated a methodological approach towards decision making regarding ward-based development. It is recognised that in terms of human settlement planning, ward-based development is not a spatially ideal unit of planning, since it does not take into account rural vs. urban entities, or the location of nodes and transport corridors. However, from a political perspective, it provides ward councillors and ward committees with the opportunity to understand their constituents better and better negotiate elements of development that is particularly relevant to their designated ward community.

A variety of data sets were used to identify the priority wards, including the most recent available population and income estimates, housing densities, distances to school and health facility locations, marginalised land such as dolomite, service delivery variables and others. The outputs proposed a method to prioritise areas where development in Gauteng may potentially be focussed, based on the set of selected indicators. The data, calculations and processes that were utilised to calculate and spatially map selected indicators that were developed during the methodology for identification is based on a requirement to identify Priority Wards, where ward boundaries form the lowest denominator of political influence in the municipal sphere. It provides information which can be used singularly or collectively to investigate potential intervention and development choices. Spatial maps are available from the Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

PLEASE NOTE: This project was heavily dependent on 2001 Census data for the majority of the indicators - the most up to date data available at the time but now out of date.



Wray, C. & Storie, M. (2012) ‘Developing a tool to select priority wards in Gauteng’. GISSA Ukubuzana 2012 Conference Proceedings, Kempton Park, 2-4 October 2012.


Following the work done for the 50 priority ward viewer, a new ward profile viewer was developed showing data for all wards in the province.

Last updated 20 October 2017.


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