PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF JOHANNESBURG/ WALTER KNIRR
including power stations, roads and railways, water
and sanitation upgrades, and housing construction.
“[Johannesburg] has a responsibility to reinforce these
efforts and not merely rush into [decreasing] its 9 percent
economic growth target,” Mr. Masondo said during his
address. “We have a responsibility to align our programs in
a way that enhances the overall efforts of government to
address the country’s complex challenges.”
THE CUP RUNNETH OVER
The pending arrival of the World Cup—and the throngs of
accompanying tourists—has served as a catalyst for a
range of projects in Johannesburg. The list includes stadiums as well as basic urban infrastructure and transportation initiatives, all of which should offer a lasting
boon to local residents long after the last match is played.
One example is Gautrain, an 80-kilometer (50-
mile) rail line that will connect Johannesburg and the
city of Tshwane with the O.R. Tambo International
Airport, which itself is currently undergoing a
multibillion rand expansion in preparation for the
games. The ZAR20 billion Gautrain project—along
with a rapid bus transit system, Rea Vaya—is slated for
completion in time for the big event.
But the slew of ambitious World Cup projects has also
invited heavy scrutiny of the city’s ability to control project
budgets. During his State of the City address, Mr.
Masondo noted a key challenge facing the city’s World
Cup efforts that should sound familiar to project managers the world over: “The international financial climate
is leading to price escalations.”
Last year, the South African government was already
increasing its World Cup budget to ZAR12.8 billion, up
from ZAR9.8 billion, according to Business Day, a South
African newspaper. Project managers tied to the games
are trying to keep their eyes on the metaphorical ball, but
with mixed results. The renovations to Soccer City, the
flagship venue for the opening and closing ceremonies,
were 75 percent complete by February 2009. However,
Johannesburg’s long-existing infrastructure problems
could still be a factor. Concerns about electrical blackouts
have prompted project officials to consider purchasing
generators for the Soccer City site, for example. In
February, South Africa’s Minerals and Energy Minister
Buyelwa Sonjica estimated the backlog in infrastructure
investment stands at about ZAR27 billion.
Kesavan Naicker, manager of projects at O.R. Tambo
International Airport, has witnessed a change in the way
local infrastructure projects are handled.
>>THE MASTER PLAN
Combining both vision and practicality, Johannesburg’s
municipal leaders are launching a plan to transform the city.
Dubbed Joburg 2030, it’s full of ambitious proposals, plans
and projects—and also makes it abundantly clear just how
difficult it will be to get there.
The vision statement is blunt: “This is the only road to a
world-class city. ... There is no short road to this dream.
There are no quick fixes.”
The plan tackles four big problems leaders believe are
inhibiting Johannesburg’s growth:
RAMPANT CRIME: A Johannesburg Council survey of
CEOs at 385 companies revealed crime negatively influences 61 percent of any decision to invest in the city. To
reduce crime, the Joburg 2030 plan calls for increased law-enforcement resources as well as stronger ties between the
provincial and national agencies.
AN UNSKILLED WORKFORCE: As the city’s economic
focus has shifted away from mining and industrial production, the existing labor pool lacks the skills and education
necessary for a new era of high-level services, such as trade
and manufacturing. To build the workforce, the council has
proposed a City Skills Project that encourages educational
institutions “to work together to develop a culture of learning
URBAN SPRAWL: Johannesburg’s history is enmeshed
with the legacy of apartheid, and nothing symbolizes this
more than the city’s layout. Johannesburg’s municipal
boundaries were created with the intent of separating ethnic
groups—which left the city lacking an urban core. To make
matters worse, the current transportation system fails to
accommodate a population that travels long distances to
work. The city’s “wing span” has also stretched municipal
finances, as services such as electricity have to be sent out
to so many outlying areas.
The Joburg 2030 plan calls for “a new city boundary
and two main movement corridors,” a radical shift from its
current collection of disparate community centers. Also,
historically black townships will be redeveloped and residential housing will be closer to business opportunities
and essential services. The Joburg 2030 plan outlines
projects in several key areas, including telecom, transportation and utilities.
HIV/AIDS: Between 1997 and 2006, the number of AIDS-related deaths increased by a staggering 91 percent, according
to an October 2008 report by Statistics South Africa.
Although the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic will linger for
decades to come, the vision calls for education and medical
advances to curb the skyrocketing rates of disease.
According to the report, urban leaders recognize that if
Johannesburg is to become a true urban capital, the quality-of-life standards for its residents must improve as well.
>>ON THE MAP: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA