The 2017 Mid-year population estimates show that Gauteng remains the most populous province – 14 278 700 (25,3%). Gauteng contributes 33,9% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is also one of the biggest contributors to the economy of the continent.
Gauteng accounts for the bulk of all employees’ remuneration in the country, at a whopping 47,7%, and is responsible for 50,4% of all company turnover in South Africa. Financial as well as business services, logistics, manufacturing, property, telecommunications and trade are some of the province’s most important economic sectors.

It is the business heart of South Africa, but it is also the shopping mecca of Africa. Consequently 60% of tourists from the rest of the continent citing shopping as their reason for visiting the province.

The population of more than 13 million people has the highest per-capita income level in the country. The province blends cultures, colours and first- and third-world traditions in a spirited mix, flavoured by a number of foreign influences. Most overseas visitors enter South Africa via OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

The City of Johannesburg is the capital of the province. In 2015, it was rated as one of the best cities in Africa, economically, according to ratings agency, Fitch. Another ratings agency, Moody’s, also increased their ratings of Johannesburg in the same year. South of Johannesburg lies Soweto, the most populous urban residential area in the country, with a population of more than a million.

Gauteng Municipalities

Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa’s provinces, covering an area of 18 178 km² or approximately 1.4% of the total surface area of South Africa. It is bordered by the Free State, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. While being the smallest province, it is also the most populous, being home to 13 399 725 people – 24.1% of the national population. Gauteng lies on the highest part of the interior plateau on the rolling plains of South Africa’s Highveld.

Its capital is Johannesburg and it also contains the city of Pretoria, as well as the East Rand, West Rand and Vaal areas.

Gauteng continues to serve as the economic engine room of the country and the subcontinent, responsible for over 34.8% of the country’s GDP. Gauteng is the powerhouse of South Africa and the heart of its commercial business and industrial sectors. The most important sectors contributing to GDP are finance, real estate and business services; manufacturing; and general government services. Gauteng is also the financial services capital of Africa. More than 70 foreign banks have their head offices here, as do at least the same number of South African banks, stockbrokers and insurance giants.

The major gold and diamond mining houses all have their headquarters in Johannesburg, the biggest being Anglo American and De Beers. Gold mining constitutes 80% of Gauteng’s mineral production output.

Municipal areas

Gauteng is divided into three metropolitan municipalities, the City of Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipalities, as well as two district municipalities, which are further subdivided into six local municipalities.

City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan
City of Johannesburg Metropolitan
City of Tshwane Metropolitan
Sedibeng District
Emfuleni Local
Lesedi Local
Midvaal Local
West Rand District
Merafong City Local
Mogale City Local
Rand West City Local

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), an entity that falls under the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, signed a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme that is expected to boost small businesses and create jobs. The GEP’s new partnership would, through supplier links between small enterprises and bigger firms, assist in transforming the province’s and South Africa’s economy.

Some 50 km north of Johannesburg lies South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria. The magnificent Union Buildings, which overlook the city from Meintjieskop, represent the official seat of the South African Government. The Union Buildings also house the offices of the country’s President. The industrial area of Rosslyn and the townships of Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa are situated north of Pretoria. Cullinan, which is well known for its diamonds, and Mamelodi lie to the east. To the west lies Atteridgeville.

Other important Gauteng towns include Krugersdorp and Roodepoort on the West Rand; and Germiston, Springs, Boksburg, Benoni, Brakpan and Kempton Park on the East Rand. Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging in the south of the province are major industrial centres, while Heidelberg, Nigel and Bronkhorstspruit, to the east, are of agricultural importance.

The University of Pretoria is the largest residential university in South Africa, while the University of South Africa is believed to be the largest correspondence university in the world. Other universities include the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. The province also has several other tertiary education institutions such as universities of technology and further education and training colleges. Gauteng is also home to leading research institutions such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Agricultural Research Council, the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute and the Human Sciences Research Council. In December 2016, thousands of South Africans took part in the third annual Mandela Remembrance Walk to remember the Struggle veteran.

Gauteng Mining and manufacturing

Manufacturing includes basic iron and steel, fabricated and metal products, food, machinery, electrical machinery, appliances as well as electrical supplies, vehicle parts and accessories, and chemical products. All major gold and diamond mining houses have their headquarters in Johannesburg, the biggest being Anglo American and De Beers.

Although gold-mining and ancillary industries provide thousands of jobs, the importance of mining is declining compared to the manufacturing and financial sectors. Gauteng dominates the South African economy in every major sector except agriculture, mining and quarrying. Mining produces only 6% of Gauteng’s total income and 31% of export earnings.

Gauteng Technology

More than 60% of South Africa’s research and development takes place in Gauteng.
The CSIR is one of South Africa’s leading science as well as technology research, development and implementation centres. Located in Pretoria, the CSIR’s research and development areas include biosciences; the built environment; information and communication; materials science and manufacturing; natural resources and the environment; mineral resources; space technology; nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

The Innovation Hub in Pretoria is Africa’s first internationally accredited science park as well as a full member of the International Association of Science Parks. Its community has also become a regional centre of innovation and knowledge creation, linked to the fast-moving world of global inter-connectivity, and made up of small, medium and micro-enterprises and multinational companies, employing over 1 000 people.

Gauteng Industry and agriculture

A large area of Gauteng falls within the so-called “Maize Triangle”. The province is an integrated industrial complex with major areas of economic activity in three subregional areas, namely the Vaal Triangle; the East, West and Central Rand; and Pretoria. Johannesburg houses the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited, the largest securities exchange in Africa.

Gauteng Population

Capital: Johannesburg
Principal languages:
IsiZulu 23,0%
Afrikaans 10,1%
Sesotho 12,7%
English 11,3%
Population: 13 399 724
Percentage share of the total population: 24,1%
Area: 18 178 km2
Source: Stats SA’s Mid-year population estimates 2017 and Community Survey 2016