The MMC for Economic Development in the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Lawrence Khoza, met the owners and management of Wasaa Gasses and the CEO and staff of Lanseria City Airport on Monday, 22 February 2021.
Over the past few weeks, MMC Khoza has been on a quest to meet business owners to understand the challenges they face as a result of Covid-19 and slow economic growth and to establish how the City can partner with them as part of the city’s reconstruction and recovery of the economy.
These visits go a long way in addressing investor issues to ensure that the city retains existing investors and attracts new investors, while also providing the City with an opportunity to develop informed interventions that are aimed at assisting these businesses. The City is committed to creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
Energy is one of the key sectors that is seen as an ‘enabler’ to all the other industries. Manufacturing cannot take place without energy security, and the city has plans to ramp up the manufacturing sector in order to generate more jobs and to also attract more investment opportunities.
The main reason for the visit to Wasaa Gasses was to showcase the potential of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in addressing some of the energy issues the country is plagued with and to also highlight the opportunities that exist in the value chain.
The visit was also to ascertain the challenges faced by businesses operating in this sector. Wasaa Gasses is the first independent petrochemicals company that is 100% black women owned.
“Municipalities have a role to play when it comes to policy interventions. Each municipality should lead in LPG and in green energy interventions through our policy choices and directed investments. The City of Johannesburg can lead the renewables and green revolutions,” said MMC Khoza.
The Lanseria Airport is a key anchoring economic node in the proposed Lanseria Smart City and is also a strategic partner of the City of Johannesburg. The aviation industry has been adversely affected by the pandemic as it is normally the gateway to other destinations. Aviation is viewed as an enabler to tourism including business tourism and therefore engaging the airport was to gauge how the pandemic has impacted their business and their future expansion plans, it also provided an opportunity for management of the airport to highlight key challenges that the city can address to assist them to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“The City of Johannesburg looks forward to furthering engagements with the Lanseria Airport Management in imagining and building a Lanseria that is inclusive, developmental and economically vibrant,” MMC Khoza added.
Media Liaison Specialist- Office of the MMC Economic Development
Lanseria smart city plans
While Ramaphosa did not share further details in his state of the nation address, a lot of information has previously been shared about the project.
The process is a joint project between the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency and the Gauteng and North West provincial governments.
The cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Madibeng and private partners will also help to make the smart city a reality. Ramaphosa said the new smart-city will be home to between 350,000 and 500,000 people within the next decade.
“We have put together an innovative process that will fund the bulk sewerage, electricity, water, digital infrastructure, and roads,” the President said.
He added that it will not only be smart and 5G-ready but will also be a leading benchmark for green infrastructure.
The Gauteng government said last year that the ‘Lanseria Airport City Mega Project’ is designed to be a high-density mixed-use residential area.
The city’s infrastructure and economy are centred on the airport and are designed to promote “a new city form of cross-cultural living”.
The project would create 50,000 residential units and approximately 5 million square metres of commercial floor space.
Crosspoint, in cooperation with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, will implement the Lanseria Airport City Mega Project over a ten-year period.
According to previously-released information, the Lanseria Airport City will feature regional transportation nodes. The Gautrain will extend its route to include the Lanseria airport.
The city also aims to be an ICT, training, and research centre complete with tourism and leisure attractions, and become a manufacturing, logistics, and business hub.
The Lanseria Airport City will be a green city which will “interface with nature” and is designed for minimal environmental impact.
The city will feature rainwater harvesting and solar energy to ensure that it has a very small carbon footprint.
“Lanseria Airport City is a green city of growth and opportunity that will enable all to work, play, live and dream,” Crosspoint said.
It added that this is the largest and most exciting property development ever seen in South Africa.
South Africa’s new mega smart city – Here is what it will look like
Lanseria falls within Region A of the city of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. The Mega Project for Integrated Residential Development at Lanseria Airport City is designed to be a mixed-use residential development and business district. The existing Lanseria International Airport will anchor the success of the proposed Lanseria Airport City Mega Project. The project would create 50,000 residential units and approximately 5 million square metres of commercial floor space.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his 2021 state of the nation address that the Lanseria Smart City, the first new city to be built in a democratic South Africa, is now a reality in the making.
Plans for the Lanseria Smart City – first known as Cradle City – started in 2007 with the idea of creating South Africa’s first city built around an airport.
For many years the project was low-key, but it started to make headlines after it was mentioned in Ramaphosa’s 2020 state of the nation address and Premier David Makhura’s Gauteng state of the province address.
Further details about the project were made public, which included that Crosspoint, in cooperation with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, will implement the Lanseria Airport City Mega Project over a ten-year period.
Crosspoint has also partnered with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to develop a 90-hectare mixed-use commercial precinct – the Lanseria Business District – as part of the project.
Last year a lot of progress was made on the Lanseria Smart City plans and a draft masterplan for the Greater Lanseria Growth Node was released in November 2020 for public comment.
The plan highlighted that the new smart city is a joint initiative of the Presidency, the Office of the Gauteng Premier, the City of Tshwane, the City of Johannesburg, and Mogale City.
The aim is to create the first post-apartheid city in South Africa based on best practice in urban sustainability and the principles underpinning the smart city.
“It is to be inclusive of the broadly defined South African socio-economic spectrum and must stimulate a vibrant, mixed urban economy,” the masterplan states.
The city would be built surrounding Lanseria International Airport, north of Johannesburg, in a project which would take around 25 years to complete.
Sitting in the centre of the development, the airport will be the main economic driver for the city’s growth.
Strong residential growth in the surrounding areas is expected which would be supported by improvements to existing roads in the area.
The map below shows how the new Lanseria Smart City will fit into the greater area surrounding the development.
From the outset, the plan was to build a smart city which was innovative, sustainable, and green. It was designed to “interface with nature” to ensure minimal environmental impact.
The Lanseria Smart City will feature rainwater harvesting and solar energy to limit its carbon footprint.
The city aims to move urban sustainability beyond existing paradigms of planning, engineering, and urbanization to increasingly appropriate levels of sustainability and innovation.
As technology in the sustainability field matures, it is the intention to move the project beyond ‘leading-edge’ approaches into what now may be regarded somewhat as ‘bleeding edge’.
There is a strong focus on limiting the need to commute using cars. Any commuting should, by default, be by non-motorised means like walking or cycling or, where necessary, by public transport.
In planning terms, this means the new city needs to be walkable. People must be able to walk to work, shopping malls, or schools, within between 5 minutes (400m) and 10 minutes (800m).
The current plan is to make the lateral extent of an activity zone within this new city roughly 1600m – a 10-minute walk in any direction from its epicentre.
If a service is not available within one activity zone, it should be possible to use safe, reliable, and affordable public transport to access this service further afield.
The focus is, however, not only the distance between services and buildings.
The building will be designed to optimise vertical integration, with retail at ground level, a few office levels above this, and residential apartments, penthouses and hotels above these in turn.
With up-to-date infrastructure for cell phones, Wi-Fi, information networks and high-speed broadband connectivity, the city will be built on “smart” technology and systems in a way that is helpful to all residents, companies, businesses, and visitors.
To further increase the appeal of the city, there are plans to expand the Lanseria International Airport.
The airport currently accommodates 3.5 million passengers per annum, with a vision to accommodate 18 to 20 million passengers in future.
To support this expansion, the airport will have to accommodate business jets and Boeing 737s, which requires a longer runway.
The Lanseria international Airport is exploring different options of expansion, which could include the extension of the existing runway from 3km to 4.5km or potentially adding an additional runway.
To accommodate the increased traffic to and from the Lanseria International Airport, existing roads will have to be upgraded and new roads will have to be built.
Additional interchanges, subways, bridges, and service lanes are planned to enhance the current road system around the airport.
A powerful shaft of space through the core of the new smart city will be introduced to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
This will also become the seam that connects biodiversity green linkage, which will extend beyond the urban core into the neighbouring developments.
A series of non-motorised primary and secondary routes will form a tartan grid between the road networks.
The Lanseria Business Gateway will be located on 130 hectares of prime real estate between Lanseria Airport and the upmarket Blair Atholl Golf Estate.
It will be a 24-hour smart city zone that will offer retail, conference, and business facilities. It will also host the Lanseria luxury hotel.
To make the Lanseria Smart City safe for residents and workers, the streets, sidewalks, marketplaces, and parks will be well policed and well-lit at night.
The public areas of the city are aimed at street-life and social interaction and the design of the buildings facing onto these areas will encourage this.
Where it is possible, there is also the idea of making opportunities for small-scale market gardening available in an organised way so that urban agriculture can be included as part of the Smart City’s economic activity.
The idea is that the Lanseria Smart City will have accommodation for many socio-economic and cultural groups living in and around a higher density, mixed-use city.
As part of this accommodation, the Northern side of the Lanseria Smart City will include a sustainable residential area with river-frontage for high-end residential units.