South Africa experienced a unique State of the Nation Address the evening of 11 February 2021. As with most events amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was entirely virtual with only a few guests in live attendance. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the present and future of South Africa while it battles and concerns itself with the pandemic, and discussed avenues the country would be travelling down to combat and manage it.
One particularly noteworthy project the president brought up was the development of South Africa’s first post-Apartheid “smart cities”. The president first touched on the conceptualisation a South African smart city in his State of the Nation Address last year, and has now revealed that planning for the first smart city has begun in Lanseria, Gauteng.
“The Lanseria Smart City, the first new city to be built in a democratic South Africa, is now a reality in the making,” he said, going on to explain that a draft masterplan had been finalised in November last year. The city is set to have 350,000 to 500,000 inhabitants within a decade.
So what makes a smart city so smart?
Effectively, a smart city is one that uses technological innovation to solve problems and improve general living within it. Regarding details about our upcoming smart city, President Ramaphosa revealed that it will be a benchmark for green infrastructure, as well as be 5G-ready, which is awesome, considering how 5G is becoming more and more accessible in SA.
Furthermore, the development process is being helmed by the Investment and Infrastructure Office, partnered with the provincial governments of the North West and Gauteng, working with Johannesburg, Tshwane and Madibeng. The government has put together an innovative that will fund most of the city’s sewerage, water, electricity, and other infrastructures, said Ramaphosa.
No specific date for when we might see the completion of the Lanseria smart city was given, but its an exciting prospect that provides optimism in these dire times. Ramaphosa closed out the address calling for South Africans to rise and “march forwards together” towards recovery.