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Kagiso Khaole Appointed As New GM For Uber SSA

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Uber has appointed Kagiso Khaole as the new General Manager for Uber in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), taking over Frans Hiemstra’s role who has been appointed as the Regional General Manager for the Middle East and Africa at Uber.

Kagiso joined Uber in 2021, where he led mobility operations across SSA and has previously worked in several industries, including eCommerce, Software and Services, Consumer Electronics, Management Consulting, Insurance and Banking. This makes Kagiso well positioned to further grow the business in the region, which is operational in over 50 cities across South Africa, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Uganda.

Hiemstra adds, “Kagiso’s contribution to the rides business has been nothing short of excellent, and I am confident that our SSA region will continue to grow from strength to strength under his leadership.”

Africa is an exciting market for a global technology company as it recently facilitated 1 billion trips to the continent since entering the market less than ten years ago. Uber has created over 3 million economic opportunities across its rides and delivery businesses.

Khaole considers himself privileged to be part of a company that has such a tangible impact on the cities and communities it operates.

“We are certainly excited about the future, especially because next year, we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in SSA. We continue to remain committed to raising the bar on safety, as well as improving the experience of drivers, delivery people and riders using the Uber app – I am excited to be a part of this journey,” concludes Khaole.

Liquid Completes Acquisition And Delisting Of Israeli-Based Telrad

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African technology infrastructure and services provider Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid), a business of Cassava Technologies (Cassava), today announced the finalisation of its 100% acquisition and delisting of Telrad, an Israeli-based technology company (TASE: ILA).

Telrad has a significant presence in 13 countries across the Middle East, South America, United Sates, Eastern Europe, Asia and provides high-quality technology products and services for global businesses and governments.

The company offers innovative technology solutions, including networking, cloud infrastructure, information technology, geoinformatics and cybersecurity.

“Earlier this year, Liquid had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Telrad, and I am pleased that we have concluded this transaction,” Nic Rudnick, Deputy Chairman, Liquid, said.

“We look forward to the seamless integration of Telrad’s strong R&D programme and technology solutions in cyber security, data centres and wireless access technology with Liquid’s existing portfolio of solutions.

“Liquid and Telrad share similar ideologies of empowering customers through cost-effective connectivity and technology solutions. Together we will continue to digitally transform businesses globally”.

Liquid has a unique ecosystem of intelligent technologies which bring high-speed and reliable cross-border connectivity, colocation, cloud, cybersecurity and digital services to mobile carriers and blue-chip enterprises.

With a wholly-owned, open-access fibre network spanning 100,000 km, Liquid provides both local and regional connectivity. The terrestrial infrastructure is augmented by a vast network of subsea cables complementing Liquid’s international connectivity footprint.  Liquid’s cloud solutions include networking, cloud voice, cloud applications as well as cloud platforms, whilst its cyber security services include cyber defence, secure access and secure data.

“Telrad has an incredibly strong track record of success and a rich history of innovation. We are excited to join forces and to leverage Telrad’s expertise across the full technology value chain along with that of Liquid and the wider Cassava group,” Moti Elmaliach, Telrad’s CEO, said.

“This is an exciting step for Telrad,” said Elmaliach, “and an opportunity to innovate and grow exponentially in both the Israeli and international markets”.

Cassava was founded by African entrepreneur, Strive Masiyiwa. The group’s Executive Chairman, Masiyiwa also serves on several international boards including Unilever Plc, Netflix, the Global Advisory Board for Bank of America, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is also a longstanding board member of the United States Holocaust Museum’s Committee on Conscience.

Rain Retracts Telkom Merger Statement

Data-only network provider Rain has withdrawn its statement that it wants to merge with partially state-owned telecoms group Telkom.

Following engagement with the Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP), at the TRP’s instruction, rain hereby withdraws its press release of 11 August 2022, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“As rain, we are pleased with Telkom’s SENS announcement stating that if an offer or formal proposal is received from rain, the board of Telkom will consider it. rain intends to submit a formal non-binding proposal to Telkom in due course,” said Vivian Ngalo
Chief Communications Officer at Rain.

“Further details will be published as appropriate in compliance with the Takeover Regulations.

“The board of rain accepts responsibility for the information contained in this press release and, to the best of its knowledge and belief, such information is true and this press release does not omit anything likely to affect the importance of the information included in it.”

The data-only network provider’s retraction comes after a rebuke from the Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP) ordering the company to withdraw its statement.

The TRP said it noted the announcement with “grave concern”, and that it was unlawful. Rain has been instructed  to retract the announcement.

“The Takeover Regulation Panel has noted, with grave concern, a press announcement issued by Rain proprietary limited (‘Rain’) regarding a potential offer to merge with Telkom on 11 August 2022,” TRP said in a statement to shareholders on the JSE news service.

“We wish to inform the market that the announcement was issued by Rain without the prior approval of the TRP as required in terms of Regulation 117 of the Companies Regulations.”

Last week, Telkom informed investors that has not received an offer or proposal from Rain to merge.

“Telkom notes the media statement by rain titled ‘Rain proposes merger with Telkom. Telkom can confirm that no offer or proposal has been received.”

Last month, MTN and Telkom announced that they were in early negotiations about a deal that would see MTN buy Telkom in return for shares or a combination of cash and shares.

 

Auto Manufacturing Is Changing: How South Africa Can Adjust To Protect Workers And Jobs

Technological changes in industry have given rise to contending schools of thought about their impact on work and workers. Automation is rapidly deepening and widening, reaching new areas of work. What’s being produced is also changing. In the automotive manufacturing industry, for example, there is a global shift to vehicles that don’t produce emissions.

The ongoing industrial revolution is defined by new work methods, ways of organising production, and advances in technology.

At the one extreme is the view that this is the end of work. This argues that the technological changes will lead to mass unemployment through retrenchments. At the other end are optimists who argue that the changes will increase overall employment. Disrupted jobs will be replaced by others.

Evidence from my research on the automotive global production networks in South Africa calls for a cautious approach anchored in sector specific realities.

After South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, employers in the automotive assembly sector increased capital expenditure or investment in new production technology. They also reduced their direct employment by thousands of jobs. They benefited from trade and industrial policy incentives offered by the state.

Meanwhile, the number of jobs in automotive component manufacturing increased. This wasn’t driven by new production technology but by increased demand for domestically produced components. Some of it was for export.

A key finding is that technology need not result in job losses if domestic production is high enough.

Evolution of the sector

There are seven lead firms that make up the automotive assembly sector in South Africa. Another 430 firms make up the automotive component manufacturing sector.

The automotive manufacturing lead firms significantly increased their capital expenditure from R0.8 billion in 1995 to R9.2 billion in 2020. Much of this went into automation in the form of new production machinery and plant equipment, including an increased population of production robots.

This was accompanied by workplace restructuring. Companies introduced new work methods and ways of organising and co-ordinating production. These followed company production systems introduced globally.

In 1995, the automotive assembly sector directly employed 38,600 workers who produced 388,442 motor vehicles. Following the changes in production technology, work methods and ways of organising and co-ordinating production, the seven lead firms gradually reduced their direct workforce. This went down to 29,926 in 2020.

However, the reduced assembly sector workforce produced more motor vehicles per annum. In 2019, for example, about 30,000 workers produced 631,983 motor vehicles. Units per worker, referring to motor vehicles produced divided by the workforce, were 10.1 in 1995. This productivity indicator more than doubled. It reached approximately 21 units per worker in 2019.

The automotive component manufacturing sector increased its direct employment from 60,000 workers in 1995 to 80,000 in 2019 to support increased domestic motor vehicle production and export programmes.

This illustrates its employment creating potential, which needs to be harnessed in policy direction. It also shows that it will be beneficial to job creation to raise the levels of automotive vehicle assembly localisation substantially, and to deepen and diversify domestic component manufacturing value addition.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa put this forward in 2021. It followed the union’s rejection of a Green Paper on the advancement of new energy vehicles released by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

The Green Paper proposed changes to the way in which components manufactured abroad for new energy vehicles should be handled. It proposed that these components, once imported for assembly in South Africa, should be deemed to have been manufactured domestically. The proposal sought to make these imported components eligible for industrial policy incentives meant for domestically produced components.

This went against the imperative of employment creation as a key element of social upgrading.

In rejecting the paper, the metalworkers union stressed the importance of securing a just transition in automotive manufacturing. The transition in the sector involves a shift from carbon dioxide emitting internal combustion engine vehicles to new energy vehicles. These include hybrid, electric, fuel cell electric and hydrogen vehicles.

The union’s action led to the department initiating a research-led inclusive consultative process on the transition to new energy vehicles.

A just, versus unjust, transition

It would be unjust for the transition in automotive manufacturing to occur without two ingredients. Firstly protecting existing employment. And secondly creating additional work to reduce unemployment. This is particularly true given that South Africa is ravaged by an unemployment crisis.

To achieve a just transition, it will be essential to localise and diversify domestic manufacturing value addition in new energy vehicle components. South Africa mustn’t go back to colonial-type assembly of imported components and mustn’t adopt strategies that can ruin employment creating opportunities in the components manufacturing sector.

The subject of workers’ power is essential to giving this process a direction from labour’s perspective. This is the focus the University of the Witwatersrand-based Southern Centre for Inequality Studies’ Future of Work(ers) Research Group policy dialogue on “Emerging forms of worker power in the digital economy”.The Conversation

Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, Visiting Researcher, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

African Digital Innovators Are Turning Plastic Waste Into Value – But There Are Gaps

Plastic pollution is a growing global menace. Between 2010 and 2020, the global production of plastics increased from 270 million tonnes to 367 million tonnes. Every year, more than 12 million tonnes of plastics end up in the world’s oceans, with severe consequences for marine life. When macro plastics degrade into micro-plastics, they easily contaminate the food chain and pose significant threats to human health via inhalation and ingestion.

By 2030, plastic waste is expected to double to 165 million tonnes in African countries. Most of this will be in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

A significant proportion of the plastic that ends up on African shores is produced in developed, industrialised countries. By 2010, it was estimated that close to 4.4 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste was in oceans and seas off the coast of Africa every year. A 2022 estimate has put this number at 17 million tonnes.

Growing numbers of NGOs and innovators across the continent are responding to the challenge. They are developing digital solutions to reduce plastic waste generation, and promoting reuse and recyling of plastic products. Increasingly, African tech hubs are incorporating environmental sustainability in their business models.

In our recent paper, we highlight ongoing efforts and innovations in what is called the plastic value chain. This comprises four phases, from the design of plastic products to manufacture, use, and end of life.

We found a number of initiatives that are transforming the plastic value chain into a smart, innovative and sustainable network. Most aim to improve plastic identification, collection, transport, sorting, processing and reuse. Some focus on the earlier phases: design and production of plastic products.

A whole value chain approach to the circular plastic economy is very important. While the majority of plastic waste management activities tend to focus on the use and end-of-life phases, more attention needs to be given to design and manufacture. This is where the problem of plastic waste begins.

Worldwide, attention is turning to designing simpler and standardised products that are easier to recyle and reuse.

Innovators cracking the code

A Nigerian software company, Wecyclers, operates a rewards-for-recycling platform. It offers incentives to individuals and households in low-income communities to make money and capture value from recyclable plastic waste.

Via the platform, waste collectors are connected to a fleet of locally assembled waste cargo vehicles. They use these to collect waste from subscribing households. These households are also rewarded according to the quantity of waste collected from them.

The collected waste is deposited in designated locations in the Lagos metropolis, to be collected in bulk by recyclers. This provides materials to manufacturers who turn it into new items like tissue paper, stuffing for bedding, plastic furniture, aluminium sheets and nylon bags.

The impact is significant on many levels. Firstly, by linking waste generating households with waste collectors in their neighbourhoods, the Wecycler model simplifies the logistics of collection and sorting at source, at practically no cost to households. Secondly, it enables households not only to mitigate the public health risks associated with plastic waste accumulation and mismanagement, but also to generate income. Finally, it elongates the end-of-life phase in the plastic value chain through recycling and potential reuse.

In Uganda, Yo Waste, a technology start-up, has developed a mobile, cloud-based solution that connects waste generators to the nearest waste haulers in their community. Yo Waste improves the efficiency of scheduling and waste collection. It also helps waste collection companies measure the productivity of their trucks, and gives recyclers easier access to the plastic waste.

In Zambia, Recyclebot is connecting waste sellers to waste buyers via a crowdsourcing platform that aggregates waste by type and location. In effect, the plastic waste producers dispose of their waste for free, and waste buyers overcome the cost of separation, transfer and storage.

While these are promising innovations, the main challenge is scaling. This is slow on the continent. Start-ups in the recycling industry face additional challenges like inadequate funding and an under-developed plastic market that offers limited opportunities for growth and income generation.

A significant proportion of the funds accessed by start-ups is provided as grants from international and local organisations. Pure business investments are rare, and policy interventions are way behind the curve.

What can be done

To accelerate the transition to a circular plastic economy, stakeholders from across a spectrum of organisations must work together. They include NGOs, cooperatives, think tanks and community groups. The current approach to tackle plastic waste on the continent remains scattered and inadequately co-ordinated. While efforts are being made to develop new ecosystems in many countries, key stakeholders are often missing.

In particular, African governments have a key role to play. They need to commit more to strategic investment in infrastructure, incentives and support for start-ups. African countries also need policy interventions to grow the market for circular plastic products at national and continent-wide levels.

In another study, we argued that innovators must tailor their strategies to create innovations that are functional and easy to use. This will make it easier for ordinary consumers and the general public to accept them. In turn it will help change habits of consumption and expand the market for circular plastic products.

Digital innovators, as early adopters, are critical for driving changes in the way the plastics economy works across the continent. Their innovations are also leading to knowledge exchange and cross-sectoral collaborations.

However, they also face significant institutional challenges and infrastructural limitations that are slowing down the pace of progress. By working together and pooling resources, stakeholders can achieve an impact that is much greater than the sum of their individual initiatives and contributions towards a circular plastic economy in Africa.The Conversation

Seun Kolade, Associate professor, De Montfort University and Muyiwa Oyinlola, Associate Professor

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

UWC Launches New Degree Aimed At Developing A Workforce For The Digital Era

The world of work is constantly changing. New career paths have necessitated a rethink of university courses. Therefore, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is thrilled to announce the introduction of an all-new BCom and IS (Bachelor of Commerce and Information Systems) degree.

It is a mix of two courses – BCom and Information Technology – a blend of the most important aspects of management, finance and computer programming. The Information Systems component is vital in UWC’s drive to develop a workforce for the digital era.

This course is the result of four years of meticulous planning and will start in January 2023.

Think about everything you know about Information Technology (IT). We often joke that the go-to response for any computer-related issue from the IT Department is always: “Have you tried switching your computer off and on again?”

But in all seriousness, it is worth remembering that the study programmes and subsequent IT, did not come online until the 90s when there was a massive global technology boom.

The Bachelor of Commerce degree has long been a popular choice at UWC for students with a love for numbers. And while the current day BCom at UWC was designed to provide students with a wide range of managerial skills with a targeted focus on areas like financial accounting, banking laws and corporate accounting, we have added another layer – Information Systems.

Dr Carolien van den Berg, senior lecturer for Information Systems at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, is excited about the rollout of this new course.

“For a BCom IS student, you’re not necessarily going to become a very technical programmer. There are a lot more alternative avenues open for you. With our degree you get more training in the technical side. And that is a skill that is very much in short supply at the moment, as we move more and more towards a digital economy,” she explained.

“You will get your BCom subjects, and you also get more technical subjects for the IS field, because in Information Systems, we study what happens when technologies, people, organisations and societies interact. In your first year, you have an introduction to programming as a subject. It helps students understand the technical side. So if you specialise in information systems, you need to understand the business aspect on the one end, but also the technical side. The skills that will be really sought after will be people who understand the technical side and how to integrate software into the company’s operations.”
 
As a graduate, you are likely to be top of the hiring list for several key jobs, such as:
Business Analyst
Systems Analyst
Consultant
Analyst Programmer
Application Developer
Technology Architect
Database Administrator
UX/UI Designer
IT Auditor
Project Manager
Change Manager
Chief Information Officer
Chief Information/Technology Officer
If you matriculated after 2008, then this is the course for you.

Admission requirements:
(a) The National Senior Certificate for Bachelor’s Degree study with four designated subjects at a rating of four, plus a score of no less than 30 points calculated according to UWC’s approved points system, as well as the following specific subject requirements:

Level 4 (50-59%) in English (home or first additional language).
Level 3 (40-49%) in Another language (home or first additional language)
Level 4 (50-59%) in Mathematics

Admission requirements for applicants who matriculated before 2008:
(a) Candidates must have obtained a Matriculation Certificate or an exemption certificate thereof or an equivalent qualification with an aggregate of at least a D (50%) with the following subject requirements:
Higher Grade (40%, E symbol) Mathematics or
Standard Grade (60%, C symbol) Mathematics
OR
(b) A qualification or level of competence that the UWC Senate has deemed to be equivalent to the requirements stipulated in (a) above.

Dr Van den Berg added: “What we are saying in terms of the future of work is that the sky is the limit. There are so many new careers opening up right now for graduates with these kinds of skills.”

World’s Largest Crypto Exchange Binance Hires Finance Executive To Lead Operations In South Africa

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Binance, the world’s leading crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has announced the appointment of Hannes Wessels as the Country Head of South Africa to drive its business operations in the region. Hannes brings with him over 10 years of experience in the finance sector and is the previous Head of Global Banking for South Africa at HSBC.

Binance recently celebrated its fifth year anniversary and in this time, the company has become the foremost blockchain infrastructure provider and exchange on the market by connecting users across the globe in its mission to increase the freedom of money.  In the furtherance of this goal, Hannes will lead the development of business strategies and drive strategic initiatives for Binance in South Africa.

According to Finder, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain industry generally have less than a 10% adoption rate in South Africa. However, interest in the technology continues to grow and global industry leaders like Binance remain at the forefront of driving adoption as well as blockchain education in the region.

“I am excited to join Binance at a time when crypto adoption is still in its infancy in South Africa and look forward to playing a leading role in Binance’s growth strategy in South Africa,” said Hannes.

Prior to joining Binance, Hannes was responsible for leading HSBC’s corporate and investment banking business in the country. This included the payments and cash management business, which was awarded Euromoney’s leading payments business in South Africa in 2021.

He was a member of the bank’s executive committee in South Africa and also served as chairman of the bank’s Employment equity committee in South Africa. During this time, HSBC’s multinational business grew to a top three player in the country.

Hannes brings his former experience at traditional financial institutions to this growing industry and contribute to the cryptocurrency revolution that is changing the world.

Bellville To Be Transformed Into Cape Town’s Second CBD

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos, held an engagement this week with the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) where he announced the City government’s continued cooperation with the development facilitation agency for socio-economic development in the greater Tygerberg area.

This partnership brings renewed assurance for Capetonians in the catchment area that the regenerative initiatives run by the GTP will continue to grow into 2023.
Under the partnership, the City’s Bellville Future City Masterplan, which aims to transform the greater Tygerberg area into a second central business district, will push ahead.
Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth with Warren Hewitt, CEO: GTP
‘Supporting the development of economic nodes across the metro is absolutely vital to realise more opportunities for Capetonians. This means that we can also showcase the wealth and variety of potential investments to a global audience of businesses and corporations,’ said Alderman Vos.
The GTP plays a pivotal role in ensuring that alignment is reached between the visions of the City government and the education, private and public sectors of Bellville. Projects in the pipeline include a community cycling initiative, experimenting with biofuel as a solution to food waste, urban greening projects, the installation of public art, the expansion of the trolley recycling and zero waste schools project, and many more.
‘We are very pleased that we will continue our work with the City of Cape Town and look forward to working with Alderman Vos and his team,’ said CEO of the GTP, Warren Hewitt.

Mercia Kleinsmith, Sub-council Chairperson (Bellville), Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth and Warren Hewitt, CEO: GTP.

‘Preserving relationships with organisations such as the GTP remains high on the City’s priority list. The agency and the City will work closely to create the innovation district, a zone specifically designed to draw public and private investment, attract entrepreneurs, start-ups, business incubators, and ultimately revitalise certain areas. Non-motorised transport alternatives – such as cycling – are also on the cards,’ said Alderman Vos.
‘Ultimately, a systemic challenge – like so many we face in Bellville – demands a systemic solution. That is the principle that guides all our interventions.
‘The GTP will work on creating initiatives that ensure better safety, security, management of public spaces, social development interventions and road infrastructure maintenance, as well as aim to alleviate wherever possible any concerns and challenges the public are facing,’ said Hewitt.
During 2022, the GTP will continue to link and consolidate their successful projects to multiply their impact. Their interventions in environmental and waste management such as the Zero Waste Schools Project and The Trolley and Recycling project show immense potential and have both received awards and international attention. City funding covers the development of the project and private funding covers the R50 000 installation expense at each school.

Warren Hewitt, CEO: GTP; Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth; Chris Matthee, Precinct Manager: Voortrekker Road Corridor CID; Frank Cumming, Director: Urban Catalytic Investment within the Economic Growth Directorate.

By keeping its fingers on the analytical pulse of Bellville, the GTP also plans to invest more optimally into research and innovation within the district and involve different stakeholders in finding innovative solutions in the area.
‘Our role is to understand the composition and personality of the Bellville area and the intricacies that are unique to it so that we may design tailored interventions with the City of Cape Town that will work,’ said Hewitt.
If the successes of the last term are anything to go by, this agreement will lead to positive change, said Hewitt. Past projects include the Sha’p Left Nursing Hub, located in Bellville’s busy Public Transport Interchange, which is helping to give affordable, accessible primary healthcare for any one of the 30 000 people passing through on their commute every day.
The Trolley and Recycling project matches businesses with operators who move through Bellville with custom-designed trolleys to collect recyclable waste and remove the waste to buy-back centres in exchange for a small income.
In conjunction with the funding received from the public sector, the GTP acts as a facilitator between their public sector partners and private sector network.
‘Tygerberg and the surrounding areas are vital to greater Cape Town’s economic growth. There are several construction projects under way such as that of a mixed-use precinct at Parow Centre and Stellenbosch University’s Biomedical Research Institute. The area also boasts more than 220 retail companies. Several key retail developments are also under way, such as the building of high-tech storage centres for a major shopping chain. I’m very happy to share that investment values in the area between 2015 and 2019 were more than R600 million per year. Between 2010 and 2021, approved building works in the area reached R7,3 billion. The partnership with GTP is essential to unlocking further opportunities in the area and I look forward to working closely with their team,’ said Alderman Vos.
The three years ahead are filled to the brim with potential. As an influential private organisation that is intimately knowledgeable about the area, the GTP is well equipped to create large-scale social and economic change.

South Africa Doesn’t Need New Cities: It Needs To Focus On Fixing What It’s Got

South Africa is a dominantly urban country, with almost 70% of the population living in cities and towns. But urban services and infrastructures are coming under increasing strain from the collapse of infrastructure in many smaller and medium sized towns and deteriorating levels in the large cities.

A common response to a gathering urban crisis is to imagine starting afresh with new cities. The impulse crosses the political spectrum.

In his 2019 state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa envisioned the construction of a new smart city. He has since announced new cities at Lanseria (north of Johannesburg), Mooikloof (east of Pretoria), and along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape.

In April 2022, former opposition leader Mmusi Maimane argued that South Africa should be building many new cities, doubling the number of metros from eight to 16.

New cities are a catchy idea. But that doesn’t make them a good one.

What would it take to create a sustainable new city without bankrupting the national fiscus? Are they a viable prospect or white elephants in the making?

There is, fortunately, a history of new city thought and practice that we can draw lessons from.

New cities may be appealing since newer, smarter, more sustainable infrastructure can be put in place. But in South Africa, this expenditure competes with the need to improve the deteriorating infrastructure of existing cities, which do in fact have the capacity to accommodate projected urban growth for decades to come.

While carefully planned new city development may play a role in South Africa’s urban future, it would be a critical error to divert attention and resources from the country’s primary urban challenges.

New cities

Most large cities globally have evolved over long periods of time, responding to growth in the local economy. But there are cities that have been consciously designed from scratch for many different reasons – including political egos, land speculation, colonial expansion, post-colonial developmentalism, and attempts to relieve existing cities of over-population and congestion.

In modern times, there was a surge of new city (or, rather, new town) development in Europe after the second world war. This was done to decentralise development from heavily bombed large cities and to create better living environments for working class families as part of a larger welfarist programme.

The British new town programme was the most extensive and well known, but new towns were also built in France, Italy, Sweden and elsewhere.

Western countries turned away from new town development but, from around the 1990s, new city development gained momentum in other parts of the world, including East Asia and the Middle East.

In China, for example, new cities were built to accommodate some of the additional 590 million people in cities from the 1980s. Saudi Arabia has an astonishing plan to build a 100-mile-long megacity called Neom which would be only 200 metres wide.

In Africa, Egypt has a long history of new city development.

Elsewhere there were three recent waves of new city development. Just prior to the 2008/09 financial bust, an ambitious first wave was launched (for example, Konza Tech which is 64km south of Nairobi, Eco Atlantic on land reclaimed from the sea outside Lagos, Cité du Fleuve on an island in the Congo River outside Kinshasa, and Kigamboni across a large estuary north of Dar es Salaam).

Most faltered. The late South African academic Vanessa Watson called them “urban fantasies”.

The second wave was initiated by the Moscow-based property developer Rendeavour, which targeted the rising black African middle class (for example, Tatu City outside Nairobi, King City near Takoradi port in Ghana, and Appolonia City near Accra). The developments were more modest in size and have had some market-based success.

The third, most recent wave is diverse, ranging from Lanseria Smart City in South Africa to Akon City in Senegal, an attempt by an African American rapper to recreate the fictional Wakanda. Most recently, in May 2022, Elon Musk made an extraordinary announcement. He intends to build a US$20 billion new city, called Neo Gardens, outside Gaborone in Botswana.

This international story offers many lessons, but so does an earlier South African history which includes the establishment of nearly 80 new towns under apartheid for ideological reasons. These included Welkom, Vanderbijlpark, Sasolburg and Secunda, which were created to support new single-industry economies.

These did well for a time. But they did not diversify substantially and their industries have suffered in recent years from international competition.

These patterns mirror those evident internationally, where the picture is more often economic vulnerability and instability over the long term.

Conditions for success

There are some places where new town economies have thrived – such as Shenzhen in China, Abuja in Nigeria, and Milton Keynes in the UK. These are quite specific cases: Shenzhen was one China’s first initiatives to open up to the private sector in the 1980s and is close to Hong Kong; Abuja is a national capital; Milton Keynes houses a major university and a cluster of dynamic industries.

New places do sometimes develop around new or emerging economic activities, although often the attraction of existing economic cores remains strong.

New towns have had a better track record in places of rapid economic and population growth such as in east Asian countries, where large-scale resources have been available for infrastructure development and growth is rapid enough to divert some economic activity into new cities.

So the prospects for new cities depend significantly on the context in which they are developed.

New cities are costly as new infrastructure must be developed from scratch. And they have high risks in terms of outcome. At the same time, they do not replace existing cities, which continue to grow.

In our view, South Africa needs to engage with the realities of existing towns and cities and make them work better for their residents and the country.The Conversation

Philip Harrison, Professor School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand and Alison Todes, Professor, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Audi SA’s Ultra-Fast Electric Vehicle Chargers Are Live

Audi South Africa, in partnership with GridCars, has finalised the installation of 33 electric vehicles (EV) charging stations across the country. These represent a total of 70 charge point connectors and expand on the existing network in the country.

The chargers range in their charging capacity from 22kW (AC) to 80kW (DC) and 150kW (DC) ultra-fast charging and are immediately available to all South African electric vehicle drivers, regardless of model or brand ownership.

“Audi is committed to ensuring that customers of any electric vehicle can comfortably travel the country, with the reassurance that the EV charging infrastructure is in place to support their progressive choice of mobility,” says Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi South Africa.

“With the public Audi EV chargers now formally in operation and available, our project in ensuring that here are active state-of-the-art EV chargers at key destination and lifestyle venues across South Africa, is tracking well and we are excited to officially encourage all early adopters of electric mobility to utilize these charge points.

“This is a huge encouragement towards the adoption of EV’s in South Africa as it’s a positive indication towards a growing public EV charging network in our country.”

The live 150kW (DC) public chargers initiated by Audi are the first for the South African market and will enable +/- 340 KM driving range in approximately 30 minutes. These chargers have been strategically positioned along national roads to support long-distance travel:

  1. N1 – Colesburg, Caltex, Northern Cape
  2. N2 – Mosselbay, Langeberg Mall, Western Cape
  3. N3 – Tugela North, Engen, Kwa-Zulu Natal
  4. N4 – Riverside Mall, Mbombela, Mpumalanga

The live 80kW (DC) fast charging stations, enabling +/- 185 KM in 30 minutes can be located at:

  1. N1 – Ventersburg, Caltex, Free State
  2. N1 – Richmond, Caltex, Northern Cape
  3. N2 – The Crags, Engen, Plettenburg Bay, Western Cape
  4. N3 – Tugela South, Engen, Kwa-Zulu Natal
  5. N4 – Alzu Petroport, Mpumalanga (Audi has upgraded the existing unit from DC 60kW to DC 80kW. GridCars has also installed a new EV charging unit at Kranskop Engen, Limpopo).

The live 22 kW dual (AC) charging stations, enabling +/- 100 KM in about one hour can be located at lifestyle and destination venues in the following provinces:

Western Cape

  1. Hazendal Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
  2. Franschhoek Motor Museum, Franschhoek
  3. Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch
  4. Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
  5. Thesen Island, Knysna
  6. Graham Beck Wine Estate, Robertson
  7. The Marine Hotel, Hermanus
  8. The Cellars Hohenort Hotel, Constantia
  9. D’Hub B&B, Cape L’Agulhas

Gauteng

  1. Parkview Shopping Centre, Pretoria
  2. Johannesburg Country Club, Auckland Park
  3. Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Country Club
  4. Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate, Kempton Park
  5. Johannesburg Country Club, Woodmead
  6. Bryanston Country Club, Johannesburg
  7. Kyalami Corner, Johannesburg
  8. Virgin Active Bryanston, Johannesburg

Mpumalanga

  1. 84 on Main, Dullstroom
  2. Hazyview Junction Shopping Centre

Kwa-Zulu Natal    

  1. Cornubia Mall, Mt. Edgecombe
  2. Selborne Hotel & Golf Club, Pennington
  3. Cedar Garden B&B, Underberg

Free State     

  1. Protea Hotel by Marriot, Clarens

North West

  1. Village Mall, Haartebeespoort Dam

These publicly accessible charging stations are new and incremental to the current EV public charging network in South Africa and can easily be located on the GridCars live online map.

“As the Audi e-tron model range takes to the road, we continue to enable and partner with those who can empower the transition to an electric future with ease and understanding,” Sauer says.

“Our mission is to continually increase EV charging points across the country in order to drive South Africa’s Green e-mobility revolution forward. The only way to achieve this mission is through consistent and meaningful partnerships that enable the transformation of the automotive industry, helping customers embrace the electric future of mobility,” Winstone Jordaan, Managing Director at GridCars explains.