Ekurhuleni approves multi-billion Rand 30-year aerotropolis plan

THE City of Ekurhuleni has approved the 30-year Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Master Plan, paving the way for the socio-economic impact projected at R8,1-billion a year.

The Aerotropolis projects, using labour-intensive scenarios, promises massive job creation and is set to change the landscape of joblessness in the city and Gauteng.

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina says the Aerotropolis is envisaged to be a game-changing intervention that would facilitate spatial, economic and social transformation in order to reposition the regional economy as an ideal destination for trade, investment and tourism.

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“The City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Provincial Government and the Airports Company South Africa have embarked on the development of Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis. This programme is a deliberate growth trajectory that aims to reposition and enhance the value proposition of the Gauteng City Region, with particular emphasis on the Ekurhuleni regional economy as the footprint of the first Aerotropolis on the African continent,” he said.

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis leverages the presence of OR Tambo International Airport, which handles 19 million passengers every year and has the capacity for 60 million passengers.

OR Tambo International Airport also handles 83 per cent of all air cargo movements, thus playing a critical economic role for South Africa, Gauteng and Ekurhuleni.

The master plan, the mayor said, had been developed to identify projects in sectors such as retail, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, logistics and distribution, research and development, health and life sciences.

Masina indicated that critical road infrastructure networks were being prioritised to unlock the footprint of the Aerotropolis to enable mobility, integration and densification.

“OR Tambo International Airport is in a good position to accelerate its logistic and air cargo activities regionally. The airport is already a gateway for the transit of high-value time-sensitive products, such as electronic equipment, as well as textiles and footwear for nearby countries,” the mayor said.

At the centre of the master plan is the redesign of the city’s layout, infrastructure and economy to be centred around a major airport.

Masina said the funding of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project required a multi-layered approach that was capable of leveraging the financial capabilities of the private and public sector.

The funding plan requires strategic partnerships between all stakeholders, including government, development finance institutions, property owners, developers and investors, research and development agencies, institutes of higher learning, external funders and underwriters through a systematic and coordinated integrated development planning process in order to deliver the strategic objectives of the Aerotropolis.

Kempton Express

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