Unemployment and homelessness are facts we can not escape. Ekurhuleni metropolitan is no exception.

The Airport Cities world conference that was held in April was a first for Africa and all hopes were on investment opportunities being opened for the economy.

Representative of the Mayoral Committee on city planning and economic development for Ekurhuleni, Bennett Nikani, was quoted as saying,”Local and international investors will grace the conference, and we will market the region, particularly around the OR Thambo Airport, as a destination for investment.” Furthermore he said, ”We have available under utilised land in areas near the airport, and there are investors who have indicated that they are interested in buying some houses near the airport with an intention of flattening them to build high-rise buildings for business purposes”.

This sentiment is contradictory to a previous statement Mr Jacob Zuma made in which he expressed intent to minimize or limit the amount of foreigners wanting to invest in South Africa's property market.

The Gautrain development has stirred the attention of possible investors. There are many suburbs around the airport which are shouting for revival and investment.

With the past Soccer World cup which was hosted, Ekurhuleni did not directly benefit from any investment. The Mayoral Committee used the conference as a marketing opportunity for the region. There are vast tracts of land and vacant industrial property which should be converted into investment. Most of the property around the airport is old residential property which, with the correct type of development, would attract investors. As it stands now the surrounding suburbs are going to ruin due to a severe lack of interest. One factor which in my view, from growing up there, is a negative is the noise from the airport.

OR Tambo is the busiest airport in Africa, yet the surrounding areas fell by the wayside. Ekurhuleni/ Gauteng also support a large part of the country’s GDP.

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