Offering c ycle t racks, pedestrian pathways, a Metropolitan bus system, civic centre, medical and educational facilities, the development will cater to a variety of individuals and broader communities in the Vaal Triangle. The development will also house a government precinct with municipal of f i c e s , l a w c ou r t , gover nment departments and other centralised ser vices as well as a fresh produce market precinct and waterfront precinct.
The locale is one where few people have had access to the river and one that the development intends to change. “Our vision is to provide a River City with a waterfront t hat has public amenities that can grow into a major tourism destination,” says Kukama. “Most other waterways in South Africa are privatised but this precinct model means the general public will have greater accessibility,” he adds.
The Vaal River City Development is one of the projects in the Southern Corridor that encompasses the economy of the Sedibeng district and it is among t he f i ve Development Corridors announced by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
The Sedibeng area, into which the Vaal River City Development falls, is home to natural resources like the Vaal River, Vaal Dam and Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. It consists of three municipalities, Lesedi, Midvaal and Emfuleni with its administrative seat in Vereeniging. As vast as it is – it covers t he entire southern area of Gauteng, an area of 4 630km² – the area only accounts for around 9% of the population of Gauteng.
Not s ur prisingly, l ow r esident numbers is a factor that the developers intend changing, aiming for a minimum of 60% of the people residing in the development coming from the Sedibeng area. Increasing the resident community, which will be made easier by upgraded transportation and infrastructure, will also increase the vibrancy of the area, Kukama says.
With t wo universities in the area – the Vaal University of Technology and the North-West University’s Vaal Triangle campus – a shortage of student accommodation has been identified and the development also seeks to address this. Ten percent to 20% of planned residential accommodation will be for students, where current needs are already around 1 500, Kukama tells Finweek.
Capturing the historical legacy of the Vaal vicinity, the symbolic cit y will have a t heme t hat symbolises the history of area and will feature monumental sculptures or examples of the rich heritage abundant in the region. The river cit y complex architecture is i ntended to be uncluttered and contemporary and will incorporate green buildings designed and constructed to reduce impact on the environment.
Kukama says that the multibillionrand mega development – estimated to be a 10-year project – will break ground later in the year, with basic services infrastructure – a large chuck of which is sewerage – costing R500m.
Vaal River City has been a vision for many years, says Kukama, and they are now realising that dream. “Vaal River City will transform this neglected piece of land and will be the highlight of the Southern Corridor. This development will be a catalyst for further investment and economic development in the area and residents will directly benefit. The country’s landscape is changing with developments such as the Vaal River City, and this will leave an economic, institutional and environmental legacy for future generations.”
MOST OTHER WATERWAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA ARE PRIVATISED, BUT THIS PRECINCT MODEL MEANS THE GENERAL PUBLIC WILL HAVE GREATER