Ekurhuleni is unquestioningly one of South Africa’s key areas of interest when it comes to sustaining and developing the wealth of the country. Home to OR Thambo International Airport, it is home, not only to a key transport and logistics hub, but also to heavy industrial and residential areas. IMIESA profiles recent development and current and future upgrades.

Home to more than three million inhabitants, Ekurhuleni’s economic contribution to Gauteng and South Africa as a whole exceeds it demographics. The city is investing heavily in infrastructure maintenance and development and is making significant headway in revenue collection. This year alone, the city is spending more than R87 million in the installation, repair and replacement of water meters and has already spent more than R1 billion on electricity infrastructure upgrades. But the pulse of its economy is regulated by its transport infrastructure and its investment in its Aerotropolis.

Creating an Aerotropolis
Ekurhuleni aspires to become a fully fledged Aerotropolis. In an effort to achieve this it has appointed a consortium of five domestic and international companies to help develop a five-year Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Strategic Implementation Plan and ultimately a 30-year Master Plan. The team also has the mandate to establish the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Development Agency in 2015.

During his State of the City Address, Executive Mayor Cllr Mondli Gungubele announced that the consortium had already delivered the five-year Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Strategic Implementation Plan, which elevates critical projects that should be implemented within the next five years in order to give the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis the required traction.

Aurecon was appointed to lead the consortium to develop the Ekurhuleni OR Tambo Aerotropolis. Aurecon explains that the planning process for the Aerotropolis in Ekurhuleni will follow a process of information gathering, analysis, scenario planning, evaluation and selection.

The process
According to Aurecon, the team will need to define so-called economic clusters and distinguish between those clusters that are best served by the current systems, those likely to improve with the already planned regional developments, and those where new or substantial infrastructure is required to make them viable for further development. This will be done by analysing the trends in demographics and economics, and comparing those with land use and air and surface transportation infrastructure in the project area.

The team will need to make use of a number of high-level tools, such as spatial data analysis systems, sophisticated economic analysis tools and transport modelling and planning systems.

According to Aurecon, Ekurhuleni is confronted with certain realities that influence how economic development can best benefit its social objectives. Because of this, demographics, proposed land-use, forecasted demand transport facilities, economic growth and predicted CO2 emissions will be used as the criteria in a series of development scenarios, each evaluated to maximise potential benefits, as part of the planning process.

Aurecon Urbanisation Competency Leader Matt Coetzee says he is confident that the team can deliver the innovative yet implementable Aerotropolis project that Ekurhuleni deserves.

Fighting water losses
The City of Ekurhuleni is spending close to R88 million in the current financial year to install, repair and replace water meters. This forms part of efforts to fight water losses in Ekurhuleni which result from leaks, especially in indigent households, which cost the municipality millions in lost revenue.

The water metering project aims to meter all unmetered properties by June 2016. To date, 69 bulk meters have been installed in informal settlements to ensure that the municipality can account for the water supplied to each settlement, and monitor and mitigate leakages and wastage in areas where these occur.

By June 2016 the municipality aims to have installed more than 40 000 water meters in unmetered areas. Of these, 8 400 meters have already been installed in areas such as Chief Albert Luthuli, Mayfield, Winnie Mandela and KwaThema. In enhancing its programme to improve the accuracy and reliability of metering – which tends to deteriorate as meters get older – the municipality replaced just under 17 000 meters between July and December 2013. Ninety thousand more meters are to be replaced in the next two years.

The municipality has also carried out leak repairs to 2 900 indigent households and 21 schools in Tsakane, Langaville and Geluksdal. By 30 December 2015, it will have completed leak repairs to 43 000 indigent properties.

Bus Rapid Transit
The Ekurhuleni municipality is one of 13 cities and towns in South Africa to implement the bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
Road designs have been prepared for Phase 1 of the project which starts runs from Tembisa to Vosloorus via Kempton Park and the OR Tambo International Airport.

Gungubele has reported that the municipality has made tremendous progress, including in the rollout of infrastructure for the BRT. Road construction has commenced along the Rev RTJ Namane Road in Tembisa, as well as Pretoria Road in Kempton Park, where feeder or complementary routes, pedestrian walkways as well as cyclist paths are being implementing.

Construction of the feeder routes in Vosloorus began in April, whilst construction of the trunk route starting at the Tembisa Civic Centre towards Kempton Park will start in May.  Integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN) construction work in Ekurhuleni will be in full swing by June 2014, where most of the road sections will be under construction.

According to Gungubele, over and above the IRPTN infrastructure, Ekurhuleni is engaged in processes to ensure that all public transport operators in Ekurhuleni are brought on board. The municipality has already begun implementing provisions of the memorandum of understanding signed with the representative structure of all in Ekurhuleni, including the taxi industry and bus operators.

Linking public transport
To further integrate transport, the municipality recently introduced three new routes: one from Katlehong to Rhodesfield, another from Vosloorus to Rhodesfield, and a third one from Reiger Park to Rhodesfiled. The effect of these has been to link the municipal public transport provision to the Gautrain, thereby creating a seamless link between road, rail and air transport within the broader context of our Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis. Several other new routes are in the pipeline.

A budget of R80 million has been set aside for the next two years to purchase green buses that will service other parts of Ekurhuleni where there is little or no current public transport service.

Implementation of Integrated Transport Plan (IRPTN)
Ekurhuleni is in a polycentric city, constituting of nine disconnected towns, so the provision of public transport facilities is of paramount importance and the department, even though it has a limited budget, is committed to providing public transport facilities.

Ekurhuleni Metro is one of the 12 metros in the country to implement the IRPTN as of February this year.  Phase 1 of the IRPTN in Ekurhuleni starts from Tembisa to Vosloorus via Kempton Park and the OR Tambo International Airport.

Over the past two years, two public transport facilities were constructed, Leralla in Tembisa and Daveyton Station Rank in Daveyton.
As such, three designs for new public transport facilities were completed, with the Ramaphosa PT facility is currently under construction and is due for completion in April/May 2014. Two further facilities are underway:  the new Vosloorus next to the new hospital and Palmridge.

In the next two years, focus will fall on the construction of a new regional intermodal facility in Germiston , to replace the current facility, with two other facilities will also be constructed that is Phuthaditshaba and Bluegumview facilities.

Roads and stormwater
Sixty-three and half kilometres of new roads and 23 km new stormwater systems were completed between January 2011 and December 2013, adding an additional 168 km of new roads to the metropole. In addition to these, the city has constructed a further  6.7 km of new pedestrian walkways, and graded 87.3 km of roads in informal settlements.

By June 2013,  81.6 km of roads and 92.1 km of stormwater infrastructure have undergone complete maintenance.

Key projects

Upgrading of the stormwater management system and flood control on Atlas Spruit
The purpose of this project was to improve stormwater management and relieve severe flooding along the Atlas Spruit between Brentwood Park Road and Mercury Road, Atlasville, Ekurhuleni. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2013. The project already attracts positive responses and reactions from the local community.

Rehabilitation of Swartspruit
The project was initiated to address the storm water problems in the Swartspruit, particularly the serious erosion and embankment collapse of the banks of the Swartspruit. The length of the Swartspruit, between Electron Road and C.R Swart Road, has been taken as the study area. This also included commercial and industrial areas. There was increasing industrial development in the catchment area, including the Gautrain development.

The increased risk of flood damage and the further deterioration of safe driving conditions during heavy storms are however directly related to the on-going conversion of natural habitat to built-up suburbs in the upper regions of the catchment area.

Completed stormwater projects
•    Dreyer Street, Pomona X3, Kempton Park, Ward 24
•    Meadowdale, Storm water Project, Ward 17

Completed Storm Water Protection Projects
•    Isandovale Stormwater
•    Bedfordview Stormwater