Sedibeng GDS2

Why a District Growth and Development Strategy?

City development strategies matter. Without a plan of action we cannot make our city work. And without a vision of what we want, we cannot plan. City strategies contain the ideas that will guide how we spend resources in the future, as we build a better place to live in. City strategies also provide a picture of the city we want for our children and asks where we are, where do we want to be and what do we have to do to get there. City strategies are also a promise to the people who live in cities, a compact and a commitment to making things better.

If we want to succeed in our vision of 2030, we must avoid stopping, starting or deviating regularly from the plan. A long-term vision of 20 years is essential to allow the implementation and gestation periods to come to fruition. Anything shorter will cause one to abandon ship before the results have become visible. We need to reap the results of a cumulative effect of actions building on the same vision and strategy. We need to tough it out. A common feature of various city success stories in various areas of growth or development is, that they all form part of a coherent and systematic broader long-term strategy. Whether it's the success of promoting solar energy in Bangalore, Metrobus bus transit rapid systems in Mexico City and Johannesburg, or waterfront areas zoning in New York City, cities that have long-term strategies that they have adhered to, are now able to cite tangible cases of success.

It is in the interests of the Sedibeng Region to have a long-term plan for growth and development that aligns with and translates national and provincial objectives into practical interventions. It makes sense to do this, as ultimately growth and development take place in specific regions and cities across the country. The National and Gauteng Provincial Growth and Development Strategies require localisation.

The GDS2 forms part of efforts to give content to the description of South Africa as a developmental state. However, local government cannot play its developmental role without a meaningful partnership between itself, communities, labour and business. The GDS2 is a tool to develop local partnerships to give content to national growth objectives, such as halving unemployment by 2014.Global best practice indicates that the best time span for strategic growth plans is 20 years that can be divided into four five year components.

A Strategy to Cope with Uncertainty

All over the world both primary and secondary cities, as well as developing regions, are continuously being challenged to face complex uncertainty and unpredictable change. As Sedibeng continues towards its long-term vision it will constantly have to bear the pressure of simultaneously keeping its focus on a chosen development growth path, whilst nimbly adapting to uncertainty. As such it is important to develop an overarching and holistic approach that provides broad agreement on strategic choices to guide future development, but can accommodate short and medium term adaptations along the way. This will mean that 5 year revisions will more likely allow additions and reaffirmations to the long term plan as opposed to a total change in direction.

Some of the factors that continue to lead to uncertainty include:


  • Globalisation is increasingly testing the ability of regional economies to fine-tune and maximize their competitive edge, whilst also offering new opportunities for regional development. This is leading all spheres of government to rethink their strategies. Sedibeng is no exception. Globalisation can be very good for the growth of a region. Economic linkages can positively affect growth and employment opportunities. But negative global trends (unseen and unexpected) can have a harmful effect on the region too. A GDS strategy for Sedibeng needs to be resilient enough to cope with negative global trends.

Natural Resources

  • A continued increase in pollution, waste production and the general exploitation of natural resources has resulted in some dire consequences economically, socially, and environmentally. One of the most obvious expressions of this can be seen in the rise in food prices globally. What this means for the long-term future of Sedibeng has to be reflected in its GDS2.


  • Technology innovation is constantly changing the world that we live in. The way in which we interact, the manner in which our society operates, and the functioning of the economy is heavily influenced by changes in technology. Because of its speed, the change is often unpredictable. Sedibeng will need to build an acute awareness of this into its long-term planning or face the risk of being left behind.

South African Development Community (SADC)

  • The story of South Africa's past and future cannot be told in the absence of its neighbouring countries. Successes and challenges of the broader region are shared. And any unpredictability over a 20 year horizon is also shared. SADC countries face many social, development, economic, trade, education, health, diplomatic, defence, security and political challenges. Many of these problems require the intervention of more than one country. Cattle diseases and organised-crime gangs know no boundaries. War in one country can adversely impact on the economies of its neighbours. Trade issues such as different product standards and tariff regimes threaten good trading across borders. As much as Sedibeng must embrace opportunities emerging from the SADC region, it must have a strategy that equally can withstand shocks and surprises along the way.

Changes in political office

  • One of the proven threats to a long-term strategy of government is the change in ideology that comes with a change in leadership and office. The current ruling party within Sedibeng has already demonstrated a commitment to staying on the same path, in that GDS 2 of 2012 is a review to build on and improve GDS1 of 2006, rather than to change it. However, over a 20 year horizon there are no guarantees in a democracy of one political party retaining leadership. Whilst a change in leadership is not in and of itself a threat, a significant change to the long-term strategy as a consequence of that, could be. For this reason it is crucial that the Sedibeng GDS represents a plan supported by all key role players in the Region. This will reduce the likelihood of radical changes mid-way, regardless of election outcomes.

What is GDS 2?

GDS 2 is an inspired strategy that describes a vision for Sedibeng in 2030. It articulates, in broad terms, the need to remedy past injustices, maximize current opportunities and celebrate future successes.

GDS 2 contains:

  • A current analysis of the Sedibeng Region
  • A vision of where the Sedibeng Region wants to be in 2030
  • A reaffirmation of a framework for action
  • A listing of GDS2 flagship projects
  • A commitment to renewed and improved stakeholder commitment over the next 5 years.

GDS 2 is a regional strategy for all stakeholders. It is not a municipal strategy on its own. The review of GDS 1 reveals that stakeholder participation was a weakness during the GDS1 period. A commitment to a renewed and robust stakeholder engagement is reaffirmed in the GDS 2 strategy. The Sedibeng GDS is a vision, specifically taking us to 2030. It will continue to be subject to review on a 5 year basis, or where the need arises. It is not a legislated document. It does not replace any municipal plans (Integrated Development Plans; Spatial Development Frameworks or Plans; or any other). It should however, inform the direction that municipal planning should take.

The Sedibeng GDS2 focuses on catalytic projects that unlock the economic potential of the region. It focuses on a few high impact outcomes. It is about creating an enabling environment for growth and development, creating leverage through effective ventures. Any GDS investment must yield exponential external investments and returns.


GDS 2 builds upon, rather than replaces GDS 1. It is an updating of GDS1 as a response to numerous challenges facing the Sedibeng Region. The update takes stock of what has been achieved over the past five years under the banner of GDS 1. It considers challenges that were faced with respect to implementing GDS 1, as well as the additional difficulties presented by an unforeseen changing external environment. It reaffirms what is good and working from GDS1 and refines and develops weaknesses in the first iteration of the strategy. It sets out a few critical flagship projects. GDS 2 strengthens its call to all Sedibeng stakeholders for an extended 5 year period of robust, critical and productive engagement around the growth and development of a future Sedibeng.


Growth and Development Strategy  |  Sedibeng District Municipality © 2012