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.
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.
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.
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