Last Updated on Monday, 12 September 2011 12:29 Written by Root User Friday, 08 July 2011 07:33
During the State of the City Address as well as the Budget Speech by the Executive Mayor, Clr Mondli Gungubele, the aerotropolis concept for Ekurhuleni was announced.
In the State of the City Address, the mayor said, “If rail, road and sea travel constitute the tried and tested modes of transport of a bygone era, research shows that air travel is the future. The main virtue of air travel is convenience and accessibility; if you have the infrastructure, you are able to cut the time it takes to ferry goods and services across time zones, on schedule and on time.
“That way, the opportunity costs are reduced significantly. It is in this capacity and by virtue of our being home to what is arguably the busiest airport in Africa, OR Tambo International Airport, that Ekurhuleni is by and large a city poised for bigger things in the future, and the obvious envy of many cities on the continent and internationally.”
The OR Tambo International Airport services the entire African continent, and links to major cities throughout the world. Many of the world’s leading airlines fly directly into the OR Tambo International Airport. Some 14 million passengers pass through the airport’s terminals each year. On the domestic front, a number of smaller, mostly domestic airlines connect various South African and regional towns and cities via this airport.
“We are very much a part of the development vision and plans of the Gauteng Province. The Province’s Blue IQ projects situated within Ekurhuleni include the Wadeville-Alrode Industrial Corridor, which has linkages to the City Deep container terminal. The Gautrain rapid rail link facilitates convenient, safe and rapid movement of passengers into and out of our shores. More recently, in her State of the Province Address, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced formal declaration of an Industrial Development Zone at OR Tambo International Airport. As shall be explained in more detail later, this is a development we welcome with both hands, and one we aim to participate in fully,” said Clr Gungubele during his address.
“Our strategic approach to economic growth and development will be realigned to new realities, challenges and opportunities. At its centre, we will announce definite plans for the reorientation of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality into an aerotropolis, which can be defined in two interrelated ways: one, ‘a new urban form placing airports in the centre with cities growing around them, connecting workers, suppliers, executives, and goods to the global marketplace’. The other defines an aerotropolis in mainly infrastructure terms, thus ‘an aviation-linked urban infrastructure consisting of an airport core, light industrial space, hotel/retail/entertainment complexes, and ocean ports, fully integrated across global supply chain networks. In both cases, we are certain that our business community is bound to locate a role for itself in the Ekurhuleni of the future, which we are hard at work busy constructing.”
“For the next five years the City has planned to optimise the existence of the airport in its space together with other key development nodes, including the identified industrial development zones under the development of the Aerotropolis Strategy. This will entail investment on new economic infrastructure to support logistics, distributions and related green industries. This will be coupled by the optimisation of the broadband ICT infrastructure to realise the vision of the Digital City and to reposition the metro as a visionary smart city that is globally competitive.
“The conceptualisation process is underway and a significant amount of these projects will find expression in the Budget Speech of the City. The Aerotropolis strategy will be articulated in the GDS process which will be completed by the end of this year.
“We know for a fact that our vision of an Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis is one that is shared by our Gauteng Provincial Government as well as the Government of South Africa. We know too that once rolled out, it will be of benefit to the Southern African region as well as the whole continent as a whole,” says the first citizen of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.
*** You can read the full State of the City Address and Budget Speech here.