South Africa’s Smart City – Not such a smart idea?

At his recent State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa outlined plans for the new Lanseria smart city in Gauteng, which will be developed over the next 10 years. This is what we know so far :

The smart city would be connected to other hubs by a bullet train.

It aims to fix apartheid-era spatial policies – According to Gauteng Premier David Makhura :“The city is about building a society based on human solidarity, where no one is left out and no-one is left behind,”.

The megacity is will be able to house between 350 000 to 500 000 people and will have both residential and businesses. The commercial sector would focus on manufacturing, logistics and business.

In keeping up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the city is hoped to be at the forefront of new 5G technology. With its focus on technology and innovation, the smart city is expected to be the location for jobs of the future. According to the President : “It will not only be smart and 5G-ready but will be a leading benchmark for green infrastructure continental and internationally,”

The smart city will be centered around Lanseria airport and be a stop-off hub for travelers to neighboring towns. Ramapohsa’s vision is to have this city connected to others by bullet train.

It will be a “green city” with its development and existence having as little environmental impact as possible. n both their speeches, Ramaphosa and Makhura said the city will be a “green city” whose development and existence will have as little environmental impact as possible. Rainwater harvesting and solar panels will make the city less reliant on harmful energy sources. According to Makhura : The city will be promoting climate justice and taking action to protect the environment, for the sake of future generations.” 

Remember the President’s speech of SONA 2019?

“I dream of a South Africa where the first entirely new city built in the democratic era rises, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories. This is a dream we can all share and participate in building. We have not built a new city in 25 years of democracy.”

While the smart city concept is a noble and viable approach and may be the answer to propelling South Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many skeptics feel that it is just another “frivolous waste of money pipe-dream”.

One can’t help but hear the silent scream of the people living in a country bent and bowed by poverty, inequality, appalling health care, unemployment, rampant crime and poor living conditions.





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