Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT -

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.”


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