Where we are
Region G borders Soweto in the northwest; its northeastern suburb, Lenasia, borders Johannesburg South.
Region G lacks formal housing and social services infrastructure, it has the highest rate of unemployment in the city, and most of its residents live below the breadline. But its director, Mlamleli Belot, feels up to the challenge.
It is eastern, western and southern borders form greater Johannesburg's extreme southern boundary. About 40 kilometres south of the inner city, it is the most isolated, least integrated region of Johannesburg. Although fairly remote, it is diagonally traversed by the N1 and the Golden Highway (both running from north-east to south-west), with the N12 (R29) running along its northern border.
Residents of Lenasia have been able to overcome the disadvantage of their isolation from mainstream Johannesburg to some degree. Many had developed strong economic involvement with the city before being relocated here.
As a result, there are small pockets of prosperity in these areas with some larger middle-income neighbourhoods and long-established social networks. Similar neighbourhoods are found in Zakariyya Park and Ennerdale.
In general, though, much improvement is still needed. The bulk of the housing in these formal settlements still falls in the lower income bracket. And the large informal settlements, especially in the south, suffer from extreme poverty and unemployment, and their geographic isolation makes it costly to provide much-needed infrastructure.
The southern area of the region still contains agricultural land which opens up possibilities for future development. At present, however, open spaces are often used for illegal dumping as the current waste removal system is inadequate. In addition, land and water pollution must be dealt with to ensure a clean, healthy living environment in the future.
The area is characterised by many prominent natural features, including ridges, dams, tributaries and open spaces - large tracts of grassv eld are found on the outskirts of settlements and even within formal neighbourhoods. In an urban landscape characterised by sprawl, open space must be claimed for conservation and recreational purposes. The creation of safe, accessible parks is a priority.
There are also sites of historic and archaeological significance, such as Gatsrand and Klipriver, that need to be conserved together with the already established Olifantsfontein Nature Reserve.
A significant amount of underdeveloped and vacant agricultural land is publicly owned, providing an opportunity for more intensive agricultural development. The promotion of the agricultural sector and the management of development to ensure environmental sustainability are among the City council's stated goals.
The others are to support local economic development opportunities; to manage informal settlements; to protect existing residential investments; to promote and manage mixed-use developments, and to promote regional connectivity.
The total population of Region G is estimated at 270 000, with 170 000 of these people living in the Greater Orange Farm and Weilers Farm area.
The population is extremely young, with 40 per cent under 18. Income levels are very low: 50 per cent of the population has no income and about 62 per cent of the remainder earn less than R1 500 a month, indicating that the majority live below the breadline.
Unemployment is estimated at 70 per cent, far higher than the national average, with most people in the region being employed in elementary occupations or as craft and related trade workers.
For Greater Ennerdale and Lenasia, the issues are informal settlements; the absence of higher-income residential areas; and the lack of control of local economic activities.
For Greater Orange Farm and Weilers Farm (Kanana Park) the issues are: extreme levels of poverty and unemployment; the geographic isolation and marginalisation from the economic and social opportunities afforded by greater Johannesburg; low quality basic services - both infrastructural and social; invasion of planned residential areas, public and private land; and civil disobedience - this fragmented community has strong political and local groupings.