Municipality: City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality


Famous for its jacaranda-lined streets, the City of Tshwane is a complex and dynamic area. The city's urban pattern has been shaped by past apartheid policies, as well as by market forces and prominent natural features. It is a dual city in which formal, well developed core co-exists with an extensive, low-income, poorly developed and dependent periphery. 

Prominent ridges running east-west through the Tshwane area have created valleys in which development was channelled in the same direction, due to limited north-south accessibility. The city's status as administrative capital has led to relative affluence, and there are many historical buildings, monuments and large tracts of government and parastatal owned land occupied by the defence force. Generally, this land is under-utilised, while its location means it has large potential for infill and economic development. 

While the city developed around a strong central core, natural constraints led to the establishment of secondary nodes to the north (Akasia, Rosslyn), east (Menlyn) and south (Centurion) of the CBD. Other nodes have developed along major arterials, giving rise to the existing polycentric structure. Inter-connectedness is limited due to the absence of a fully fledged ring-road system. North-south access exists in the central and eastern areas, but the proposed Western Bypass has still to be built.

The more affluent population is concentrated in the southern and south-eastern sectors of the city. The bulk of the previously disadvantaged population is concentrated in the north-western sector of the metropolitan area and in Atteridgeville and Mamelodi. The highest concentration of poor households is to be found in the Winterveldt, Hammanskraal and Temba, followed closely by Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Mabopane. 

It seems that economic development will prevail in the south and east of the city, where decentralised, high-technology, information industries and warehousing are expanding rapidly. The injection of capital and infrastructure in these areas is vital for the economic stability and growth of the city. However, the inner city, with government, retail and entertainment functions, and the location of much employment, is important, and drastic intervention is needed to reverse the recent deterioration.  

Critical infrastructure

Tshwane is strategically located at a very important intersection in Africa. The N1, which traverses the city, links the continent with the main economic hub of Gauteng, while the road linking Maputo in the east with Walvi Bay in the west cuts through the north of the city. The Platinum Highway provides ready access to both the North West Province and Mpumalanga. 

The city is well served by roads, railways and airports. Public transport, (mini-bus taxis are the most dominant, followed by buses and then trains)  constitutes only 28% of transport, while 33% of residents rely on private transportation. The rail network is extensive and well located. It is under-utilised however, due to perceptions of inefficiencies, unreliability and a lack of safety. 

Private Transport continues to increase. It provides most flexibility, but also leads to enormous congestion on the roads, particularly at peak times. While Tshwane has a well-developed internal road network, traffic circulation is interrupted by the incomplete ring-road system, which still lacks a western bypass.At the local level, the city has to address growing demand for road space and inter-nodal movement.

Greater focus needs to be given to improving public transport. A Bus Transit Rapid system is proposed and the city's ring-rail system needs to be upgraded. It is expected that the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link will contribute to development by regenerating the inner cities, strengthening existing nodes and infrastructure and creating new growth areas.

There are several airports around the city. Wonderboom Airport, north of the city, has economic potential, provided it can regain its international status.


The City of Tshwane's economy is influenced by both internal and external forces. The city's economy has been growing at a rate higher than the national average. The city enjoyed a growth rate of its gross value added (GVA) of 7.8% in 2006, up from 6.7 the previous year.

It has easy access to transport routes and is valued as an economic and scientific centre of intelligence. In respect of other factors of production, Tshwane has a comparative advantage regarding its labour force, infrastructure, educational and research institutions, and its proximity to national administrative departments and financial and other community and commercial services.

As a result of its outstanding research and development facilities (CSIR, NECSA, SABS, ARC) and universities, and one of the most developed infrastructures on the continent, Tshwane is a natural technological region, leading to the establishment of the Innovation Hub. The availability of a large group of highly skilled workers enables Tshwane to compete in the high-tech goods and service markets. 

Spatially and sectorally, the economy is diverse. The city is characterised by service and hi-tech industries, and research and educational institutions. The tertiary sector (services, including government) contributes 80% to the GVA, while the secondary sector (manufacturing) makes up 19% and 1% comes from the primary sector. The dominant sub-sectors are automotive manufacturing, government, services and retail. The automotive and aerospace sectors, construction and electronic equipment sectors are driving the economy, and are also doing well globally, which positions Tshwane advantageously to benefit from globalisation. Large construction projects will ensure that the construction industry will continue to grow and provide jobs. 


Socio-economic conditions in the north are dire. Low-income residential areas are removed from economic opportunities and social amenities. Low-income government assisted development occurs in the north, west and east. The northern areas are a critical point of entry for newcomers and there are many informal and unserviced settlements. Upgrading and improving the peripheral settlements remains a major challenge for the city.

Poverty and unemployment are highest in the north-west, and it is important that job opportunties be created north of the Magaliesberg, as the existing transport infrastructure means that the movement of workerks south across the Magaliesberg is difficult. 

Freight operations in the north are also hampered by a lack of infrastructure, increasing he cost of doing business and making investment less lucrative. The creation of a logistics precinct as well as a freight airport could alleviate poverty and unemployment in the area. The construction of the G9 road has become a priority. 

There are many unskilled workers who are largely unemployable. Tshwane's economy  is experiencing jobless growth, partly due to to the tendency to produce more capital intensively, but also because of structural adjustment. Population growth (grew by about 20% from 2001 to 2006) is still outstripping the ability of the economy to create jobs and unemployment continues to grow, especially amongs the unskilled section of the labour force.