The unique nature of the Gauteng Province demands strategic development approaches. Investment in people is one of the core strategies that government has pursued since 1994. The Gautrain has presented Gauteng with an opportunity to empower its citizens and to expand the economic activity of the Province.
The implementation of the Gautrain's broad-based Socio-Economic Development (SED) strategy ensures that SED remains a cornerstone of the Gautrain. The strategy focuses on two important concepts:
With regard to skills development and capacity building, SED strategic objectives firstly include the important aspect of broad-based black economic empowerment. Secondly, SED objectives also address aspects such as the development of small, medium and micro enterprises, the sustainable development of marginalised communities and the maximisation of local content.
Black economic empowerment highlights equity participation by black persons in the project partner entities. It also includes the procurement of services and materials from Black Empowerment Entities (BEEs), sub-contracting of service delivery to BEEs and the establishment of new BEEs.
The job creation strategy focuses on a commitment to progress towards economic equity. This strategy includes commitment to the employment of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs), women, and people with disabilities; and the participation of HDIs and women in management positions.
When the Gauteng Province embarked on a project to implement a state of the art rapid rail network, the Gautrain was born, the goal was not only to upgrade public transport but to also improve the economy of the Province and the quality of life of the people of Gauteng. During the implementation of the project, Socio Economic Development goals were measured and monitored on a monthly basis but the true economic impact of the project could only be appreciated post completion of construction.
An assessment of the economic impact of the Gautrain has been completed by KPMG and the results are better than what could have imagined. The results have shown that the Gautrain has created 34,800 direct job opportunities during construction and 922 sustainable jobs after the start of operations.
The Gautrain has also re-activated property development in many areas around its stations and thus has contributed to the goals of transit oriented development, better land use and redress apartheid special development planning. It is estimated that R46 billion total GDP impact has been added to the provincial economy due to property development induced by the Gautrain, contributing a further 245, 000 jobs.
The value of property near Gautrain Stations has also appreciated substantial with many high-end cooperates competing for space in new office buildings close to the stations. Property values near the Gautrain stations are growing faster by 3% relative to surrounding areas, the rental rates in places like Rosebank have in some cases experience a 100% appreciation.
The Gautrain project has shown that a very well planned project does not only create value during construction and implementation but can continue to improve the quality of the lives of the people through saving time and a reduction in emissions, thus contributing to a greener Gauteng. The Gautrain has not only contributed to the economy of the Province but continues to improve the image of public transport in our province and beyond.