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Gauteng Information

 



The name Gauteng is derived comes from a Sesotho word which means Place of Gold. The word Gauteng was the historical Sesotho name for Johannesburg after the discovery of gold in the region. Gauteng's southern border is the Vaal River, which separates it from the Free State. It also borders on North West to the west, Limpopo to the north, and Mpumalanga to the east. Gauteng is the only landlocked province of South Africa without a foreign border.


Although Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa it is one of the most populated provinces in South Africa and is considered the economic hub of South Africa. Gauteng contributes heavily in most business sectors and plays host to a large number of overseas companies requiring a commercial base in South Africa and a gateway to Africa.

Most of Gauteng is on the Highveld, a high-altitude grassland. Between Johannesburg and Pretoria there are low parallel ridges and undulating hills, some of which form part of the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Witwatersrand. The north of the province is more subtropical, due to its lower altitude and is mostly dry savanna habitat. Most of the rainfall in Gauteng occur as brief afternoon thunderstorms in the summer and winters are crisp and dry with frost occurring often in the southern areas. Snow is very rare, but has occurred on some occasions in the Johannesburg metropolitan area.

History of the Gauteng

The Gauteng is now widely thought to be the actual cradle of humankind and possibly one of the places where human kind first started walking upright. One of its most remarkable yields was the 2.5-million-year-old female skull discovered by Dr Broom in 1947, which he dubbed Mrs Ples. The "Little Foot" skull was also found here.

Before the colonial period, the province was home to many different cultures as far back as 1100 AD, and even before. The Khoi-San people have inhabited the southern African region consistently for hundreds of thousands of years, but their cave paintings (Klerksdorp area) date back to between 20 000 and 30 000 years.

There are many Iron Age sites in and around the province, including in the Melville Koppies, showing mining and smelting activities. So mining has been part of the history of the province as far back as a thousand years ago, suggesting highly evolved and sophisticated cultures, contrary to the idea of "primitive" Africans.

The Voortrekkers moving away from the British Empire in the Cape in the early nineteenth century and the discovery of gold a few decades after that, however changed the nature of the province totally. With the coming of whites came also dispossession of the land and poverty for blacks for the next hundred and sixty years, culminating in "apartheid".

The province was known as the Transvaal after the end of the Anglo-Boer War that ended in 1902. Before that was known as the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the South African Republic, or ZAR) and was an independent from the British Empire. The Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 by which the former Boer republics (the Orange Free State, the ZAR and Natal), defeated by the British Empire, were united under British rule. 
The country became independent from Britain in 1961 but remained in the British Commonwealth, although not for long. The National Party who won the elections of 1948 started implementing apartheid laws from the early 1950s into the 1960s.

Gauteng, formerly known as Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV), was carved out of the old Transvaal province in 1994. Tokyo Sexwale was elected as the first premier of the province that same year. Politically, it has been dominated by the ANC throughout its post-apartheid history.

Gauteng Geography

Gauteng's southern border is the Vaal River, which separates it from the Free State. It also borders on North West to the west, Limpopo to the north, and Mpumalanga to the east. Gauteng is the only landlocked province of South Africa without a foreign border. Most of Gauteng is on the Highveld, a high-altitude grassland. Between Johannesburg and Pretoria there are low parallel ridges and undulating hills, some part of the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Witwatersrand. The north of the province is more subtropical, due to its lower altitude and is mostly dry savanna habitat.

Gauteng is some 1 760 metres above sea level and lies on the highest part of the interior plateau on the rolling plains of South Africa's Highveld. The Vaal River forms a natural border between Gauteng and the Free State province in the south. 

Its grasslands are rich in indigenous plants and provide a home for 19 of the 39 birds endemic to the country. Occasional hills, ridges and mountain ranges break the landscape and provide rich sources of nature-based attractions. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Sedibeng and the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens - home to a pair of Black Eagles, one of the few breeding pairs of eagles to live in an urban environment anywhere in the world - in Roodepoort, West Rand are just two of Gauteng's natural gems. 

Gauteng Climate

 

The climate in Gauteng is mostly influenced by altitude. Even though the province is at a subtropical latitude, the climate is comparatively cooler, especially in Johannesburg, at 1,700 m above sea level (Pretoria is at 1,330m). Most precipitation occurs as brief afternoon thunderstorms, however relative humidity never becomes uncomfortable. Winters are crisp and dry with frost occurring often in the southern areas. Snow is very rare, but has occurred on some occasions in the Johannesburg metropolitan area.

Johannesburg averages: January maximum: 26°C (min: 15°C), June maximum: 16°C (min: 4°C), annual precipitation: 713 mm
Pretoria averages: January maximum: 29°C (min: 18°C), June maximum: 19°C (min: 5°C), annual precipitation: 674 mm

Gauteng Economy

 

Gauteng is considered the economic hub of South Africa and contributes heavily in the financial, manufacturing, transport, technology and telecommunications sectors, amongst others. It also plays host to a large number of overseas companies requiring a commercial base in and gateway to Africa. Although Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa's nine provinces - it covers only 1.4% of the country's total land area - it contributes 33.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Indeed Gauteng generates 10% of the GDP of the entire African continent.

Gauteng is the biggest contributor to South Africa's GDP, with Logistics & communication, financial services & mining as the biggest sectors. Gauteng is an integrated industrial complex with major areas of economic activity in five subregional areas, namely the Vaal Triangle, the East, West and Central Rand, and Pretoria. All sectors rely heavily on the Vaal Dam on the Vaal River, whence water is piped across the province.

Gauteng is home to many of the country's most important educational institutions and scientific institutes. There are about 10 000 firms involved in the province's manufacturing sector, employing over half a million people. The major industries are appliances and electrical supplies, basic iron and steel, chemical products, electrical machinery, fabricated and metal products, food, machinery, motor vehicle parts and accessories.

The economy of Gauteng is moving away from traditional heavy industry markets and low value-added production to sophisticated high value-added production, particularly in information technology, telecommunications and other high-tech industries. The 'high-tech' corridor at Midrand (halfway between Pretoria and Johannesburg) is the most rapidly developing area in the country. The JSE Securities exchange (the largest in Africa) has its home in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Seen as the new financial centre of South Africa, Sandton has become Gauteng's premier business centre. Over especially the last 15 years, much of the financial focus of Johannesburg has shifted from the Central Business District to Sandton. A considerable amount of the johannesburg's A-grade office space is now to be found in Sandton. The JSE Securities Exchange, Johannesburg's stock exchange, relocated its offices to Sandton from the Central Business District in the late 1990s.

Gauteng Education

 

Gauteng is a centre of learning in South Africa, and it has many universities and other schools of higher learning. Gauteng Department of Education has embarked on a project to provide fully functional ICT laboratories to all public schools in Gauteng. The name of this project is Gauteng OnLine.

Tshwane University of Technology
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) is a higher education institution in South Africa that came into being through a merger of three technikons — Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria. As the number of students registering annually grows rapidly, records show that Tshwane University of Technology caters for approximately 60 000 students and it has become the largest residential higher education institution in South Africa. It comprises up to six well-equipped satellite campuses positioned well to meet the higher education needs of different communities in South Africa. These campuses include Pretoria West (Pretoria Campus), Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Witbank, Nelspruit and Polokwane. Two faculties, namely the Faculties of Natural Sciences and Arts, have dedicated campuses in the Pretoria city centre.

University of Johannesburg 
The University of Johannesburg (Johannesburg, South Africa) came into existence on 1 January 2005 as the result of a merger between the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR) and the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU). Prior to the merger, the Daveyton and Soweto campuses of the former Vista University had been incorporated into RAU. The new institution is the largest contact university in South Africa, with nine faculties spread over five different campuses.

University of Pretoria 
The University of Pretoria is a public university in Pretoria, the administrative and de facto capital of South Africa. Since 1997 the university has produced more research outputs every year than any other institution of higher learning in the country, as measured by the Department of Education's accreditation benchmark. Approximately a quarter of all matriculating students, graduating with university exemption nationally, apply for entry at the university and roughly 30% of all matriculating students, graduating with six or more distinctions, enrol at the university. The university in its more than a century of academic service has delivered more than 200 000 alumni. Through its enduring servitude it has become the largest contributor to graduates in South Africa. During the 2007 academic year, approximately 11 500 students graduated with a degree and diploma, and about 18 000 persons attended the university's comprehensive offering of short courses through its continuing education programme. With a total of about 38,934 contact students being enrolled in 2008, this makes it one of the country's largest residential (contact) universities. Webometrics ranked the university 2nd overall in Africa for 2009.

University of South Africa (UNISA)
The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a distance education university, with headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa. With approximately 200,000 enrolled students, it qualifies as one of the world's mega universities.

Vaal University of Technology 
Vaal University of Technology is a tertiary institution in South Africa. It attracts students from all over the country. It is one of the largest residential Universities of Technology, with about 15,000 students. The campus and facilities are conducive to learning, research, recreation and sport, art and culture, and community service. It has lecture halls, laboratories, a number of auditoriums and office space situated on 46 000 square metres. Four Satellite campuses extend the services of the University, at Secunda, Kemptonpark, Klerksdorp and Upington. Besides the four faculties, various departments serve its students, catering for their needs. The nearby secure complex, Riverbend Gardens, offer safe accommodation to students from VUT and Northwest University.

University of the Witwatersrand
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg is a leading South African university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. It is more commonly known as Wits University. The university has its roots in the mining industry, as does Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. In 1959, the Extension of University Education Act forced restricted registrations of black students for most of the apartheid era; despite this, several notable black leaders graduated from the university. It became desegregated once again prior to the abolition of apartheid in 1990. Several of apartheid's most provocative critics, of either European or African descent, were one-time students and graduates of the university.

Monash University
Monash University's South Africa campus was opened in 2001. It was first foreign university established in South Africa. It is located on a 100 hectare site in Ruimsig in north-west Johannesburg, in the province of Gauteng. It has been described by one high-ranking Australian official as Australia's most significant partnership with Africa in any sphere. The student mix at Monash South Africa is diverse. In addition to domestic (South African) students, the campus is also home to many students from other African states who are funded by government bursaries. For example, a large number of students from Botswana attend the university. Furthermore, the number of students on exchange from Monash's Australian and Malaysian campuses makes it one of the most ethnically diverse universities in Africa. Many students live in the on-campus accommodation. The campus is wholly-owned by Monash University. The current Pro Vice-Chancellor of the South Africa campus is Professor Tyrone Pretorius, a psychologist who has previously held research and administrative positions at the University of the Western Cape and Yale University.

 


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