Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. It straddles the Apies River and has spread eastwards into the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains.It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the seat of the administrative branch of government, and of foreign embassies to South Africa. Pretoria has a reputation for being an academic city with three universities, the Tshwane University of Technology , University of Pretoria , and the University of South Africa , also home to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research , and the Human Sciences Research Council.
Pretoria is the central part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality which was formed by the amalgamation of several former local authorities including Centurion and Soshanguve. There have been proposals to change the name of Pretoria itself to Tshwane and the proposed name change has caused some public controversy. Pretoria was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Pretoria stretches along both sides of the Apies River and extends into the western foothills of the Magaliesberg on the east. Founded in 1855 by Marthinus, son of Andries Pretorius, the Boer statesman for whom the city was named, it became the capital of the Transvaal in 1860, administrative capital of South Africa in 1910, and a city in 1931.
Data and Facts
- Stanza Bopape Street is the longest street in any of South Africa’s cities, and at 26 km, is one of the longest urban streets in the world
- The Cullinan Diamond was discovered near the city in 1905
- The University of Pretoria is the largest residential university in South Africa and provides education for over 50,000 students
- There are more than 40 embassies in Pretoria
- Mrs Ples, the nickname for what is considered one of the oldest intact skulls of a distant ancestor of humankind dating back over 2-million-years ago is housed at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria
- Pretoria was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius
Pretoria is divided into 5 regions, namely Eastern, Southern, Central Western, North West and North East. The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality is the metropolitan municipality that forms the local government of northern Gauteng Province, South Africa. The Metropolitan area is centred on the city of Pretoria with surrounding towns and localities included in the local government area.The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality was established on 5 December 2000, comprising 13 former city and town councils and managed under an executive mayoral system.
The Metsweding District Municipality was incorporated into the municipality with effect from 18 May 2011 .
In the election of 3 August 2016, the Democratic Alliance won a plurality of 93 seats on the council, but no party won a majority. On August 19, 2016, minority parties united with the DA to vote in DA mayoral candidate, Solly Msimanga as the first Democratic Alliance mayor of Tshwane. Msimanga appointed a mayoral committee coalition consisting of the DA, African Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Front Plus. Mokgalapa announced his resignation in February 2020.
Despite the many corporate offices, small businesses, shops, and government departments that are situated in Pretoria's sprawling suburbs, its Central Business District still retains its status as the traditional centre of government and commerce. Many banks, businesses, large corporations, shops, shopping centres, and other businesses are situated in the city centre which is towered by several large skyscrapers, the tallest of which is the Poyntons Building , the ABSA Building and the Reserve Bank of South Africa building .Several National Departments also have Head Offices in the Central Business district such as the Department of Health, Basic Education, Transport, Higher Education and Training, Sport and Recreation, Justice and Constitutional Development, Public Service and Administration, Water and Environmental Affairs and the National Treasury.
Pretoria is primarily a seat of government, but it is also an important rail and industrial centre. Economic activities include engineering, food processing, and diamond mining. In 2000 Pretoria became part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Pop. (2005 est.) urban agglom., 1,282,000.
The recent announcement from the Brookings Institute, that Pretoria is now the fastest-growing South African metropolitan economy, appears to suggest that future growth prospects for the national economy seem, at last, to be more promising.
It is true that the economic growth of Pretoria is undeniably a step in the right direction for the growth of the broader economy. It is equally evident, however, that persistent structural barriers and political uncertainty are challenging factors contributing towards continuing the low level of economic growth at the national level.
Gauteng Province, in which Pretoria is situated, is lauded as the «economic engine» of South Africa. Despite that, however, the positive economic growth of the province as a whole has previously fallen short of expectations.
The result has been high income inequality, significant levels of unemployment, declining global competitiveness and a general slowing of productivity growth. Those industries, along with mining and agriculture, are vital components of the South African economy.
The Brookings Global Metro Monitor June 2018 report found that Pretoria had the highest regional growth in employment, at 7.6%, and a robust 3.5% GDP per capita growth.
Compared to earlier in the year, when the national economy contracted by 2.2%, Pretoria’s economic growth indicates that there is potential for a more positive outlook in the future. National economic growth has been predicted to reach 1.6% in 2018 and 2.0% in 2019; notably higher than in preceding years.
Pretoria, the city of South Africa is an important industrial centre. It is famous for heavy industries that include iron and steel casting. Other manufacturing industries incorporate automotive, railroad and machinery. Being the midpoint of the national economy, the Greater Pretoria metropolitan area produces up to 9% of the National Gross Geographic Product. Its economy is dominated by several sectors, which includes government companies, motor vehicles and parts manufacturing industry.
The city is a centre point for developing small as well as big businesses. The Pretoria Municipal Area is very much famous for various economic activities.
The South African economy furthermore is characterised by a low growth rate, a high inflation rate, taxes such as Valued Added Tax and a high rate of unemployment. The South African economy grew at a growth rate of 2.5%during 1994, the first year after the first democratic elections and the opening of global trading boundaries for importing foreign products and exporting local products.
In 1995 the growth rate improved to 2.9%, but with the depreciation of the rand, which started at the end of 1996, the growth rate declined sharply to a mere 0.1% for 1998.
Pretoria has over the years had very diverse cultural influences and this is reflected in the architectural styles that can be found in the city. It ranges from 19th century Dutch, German and British colonial architecture to modern, postmodern, neomodern, and art deco architecture styles with a good mix of a uniquely South African style.
Some of the notable structures in Pretoria include the late 19th century Palace of Justice, the early 20th century Union Buildings, the post-war Voortrekker Monument, the diverse buildings dotting the main campuses of both the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa, traditional Cape Dutch style Mahlamba Ndlopfu , the more modern Reserve Bank of South Africa and the Telkom Lukasrand Tower. Other well-known structures and buildings include the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, The South African State Theatre and the Oliver Tambo building which is the Headquarters of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Pretoria's nickname «the Jacaranda City» comes from the around 70,000 jacaranda trees that grow in Pretoria and decorate the city each October with their purple blossoms. The first two trees were planted in 1888 in the garden of local gardener, J.D. Cilliers, at Myrtle Lodge on Celliers Street in Sunnyside. He obtained the seedlings from a Cape Town nurseryman who had harvested them in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The two trees still stand on the grounds of the Sunnyside Primary School.
The jacaranda comes from tropical South America and belongs to the family Bignoniaceae. There are around fifty species of jacaranda, but the one found most often in the warmer areas of Southern Africa is Jacaranda mimosifolia.
At the end of the 19th century, the flower and tree grower James Clark imported jacaranda seedlings from Australia and began growing them on a large scale. Pretoria Station is a departure point for the Blue Train luxury train. Rovos Rail, a luxury mainline train safari service operates from the colonial-style railway station at Capital Park. The South African Friends of the Rail have recently moved their vintage train trip operations from the Capital Park station to the Hercules station.Various bus companies exist in Pretoria, of which PUTCO is one of the oldest and most recognised. Tshwane municipality provides the remainder of the bus services.
The N1 is the major freeway that runs through Pretoria. It enters the city from the south as the Ben Schoeman Highway. At the Brakfontein Interchange with the N14 it continues as The N1 Eastern Bypass bisects the large expanse of the eastern suburbs, routing traffic from Johannesburg to Polokwane and the north of the country. The R101 is the original N1, and served the same function before the construction of the highway. It runs through the centre of town rather than the eastern suburbs.
The N4 enters the town as a highway from Witbank in the east, merging with the N1 at the Proefplaas Interchange. It begins again north of the city, branching west from the N1 as the Platinum Highway, forming the Northern Bypass, and heading to Rustenburg. The N4 runs east–west through South Africa, connecting Maputo to Gaborone. Before the Platinum Highway was built, the N4 continued passed the Proefplaas Interchange to the city centre, where it became a regular road, before again becoming a highway west of the city. It crosses the N1 east of the Brakfontein Interchange at the Flying Saucer Interchange and runs north–south towards Ekurhuleni . Importantly it links Pretoria with the OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park.
A proposed third north–south highway, in the west of the city, the R80 is partially built. At present the highway begins in Soshanguve. It terminates just north of the city centre at an intersection with the M1. Plans have been in place for some time to extend this all the way past the M4 and N14 highways to the N1 in Randburg.
Pretoria is also served by many regional roads. The R55 starts at an interchange with the R80, and runs north–south west of the city to Sandton. The R50 starts from the N1 just after the Flying Saucer Interchange in the south-east of the city, and continues south-east towards Delmas. The R511 runs north–south from Randburg towards Brits and barely by-passes Pretoria to the west. The R514 starts from the M1, north of the city centre, and terminates at the R511. The R513 crosses Pretoria's northern suburbs from east to west. It links Pretoria to Cullinan and Bronkhorstspruit in the east and Hartbeespoort in the west.
The Tshwane University of Technology is a higher education institution, offering vocational oriented diplomas and degrees, and came into being through a merger of Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria. TUT caters for approximately 60,000 students and it has become the largest residential higher education institution in South Africa.The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is South Africa's central scientific research and development organisation. It was established by an act of parliament in 1945 and is situated on its own campus in the city. It is the largest research and development organisation in Africa and accounts for about 10% of the entire African R&D budget. It is non-profit community organisation providing a wireless community network in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
PTAWUG has been created as the community’s answer to South Africa’s restrictive telecommunications environment. The South African telecommunications industry has been marked by poor service delivery, monopolistic practices and prohibitively high prices.
Founded on 28 July 2007, PTAWUG embodies the African spirit of Ubuntu. Its constitution guarantees openness, free participation and equality to all members of the Wireless User Group. PTAWUG exemplifies the proverbial open source Bazaar – no management team, no hierarchies, equal participation.
PTAWUG is the 3rd largest wireless network organisation in the world, behind AWMN , TWMN . These two networks provide internet as well, which PTAWUG doesn't, so counting community networks that don't provide internet - PTAWUG is the largest on earth.
In the past year the network has exploded from 4 users to 500+ users, all helping each other, playing games, sharing tips etc. The network grows at the rate about 10 new users a month. PTAWUG has also extended its network by connecting to several other wireless networks including JAWUG . The exponential growth is mainly attributable to the free-for-all and open community principles governing PTAWUG, as users contribute their time, income and knowledge freely without hindrance of a governing body.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Pretoria is home to an extensive portfolio of public art. A diverse and evolving city, Pretoria boasts a vibrant art scene and a variety of works that range from sculptures to murals to pieces by internationally and locally renowned artists. The Pretoria Art Museum is home to a vast collection of local artworks. After a bequest of 17th century Dutch artworks by Lady Michaelis in 1932 the art collection of Pretoria City Council expanded quickly to include South African works by Henk Pierneef, Pieter Wenning, Frans Oerder, Anton van Wouw and Irma Stern.
Pretoria houses several performing arts venues including: the South African State Theatre which houses the arts of Opera, musicals, plays and comedic performances.
A 9 metre tall statue of former president Nelson Mandela was unveiled in front of the Union Buildings on 16 December 2013. Since Nelson Mandela's inauguration as South Africa's first majority elected president the Union Buildings have come to represent the new 'Rainbow Nation'.
Public art in Pretoria has flourished since the 2010 FIFA World Cup with many areas receiving new public artworks.
One of the most popular sports in Pretoria is rugby union. Supersport United were the 2008–09 PSL Champions. Following the 2011/2012 season the University of Pretoria F.C. gained promotion to the South African Premier Division, the top domestic league, becoming the third Pretoria-based team in the league.
After a poor league finish in the 2015/2016 season, University of Pretoria F.C. were relegated to the National First Division, the second-highest football league in South Africa, in the 2016 Premier Soccer League promotion/relegation play-offs.
Cricket is also a popular game in the city. As there is no international cricket stadium in the city, it does not host any top-class cricket tournaments, although the nearby situated Centurion has Supersport Park which is an international cricket stadium and has hosted many important tournaments such as 2003 Cricket World Cup, 2007 ICC World Twenty20, 2009 IPL and 2009 ICC Champions Trophy. The most local franchise team to Pretoria is the Titans, although Northerns occasionally play in the city in South Africa's provincial competitions. Many Pretoria born cricketers have gone on to play for South Africa, including current captain AB de Villiers and T20 captain Faf du Plessis.
The Pretoria Transnet Blind Cricket Club is situated in Pretoria and is currently the biggest Blind Cricket club in South Africa. Other early Jewish settlers, many of them immigrants from Lithuania, were not as educated as De Vries and often did not speak Dutch, Afrikaans, or English. Many of them spoke only Yiddish and made a living as shopkeepers in the local retail industry. Most Jewish residents stayed neutral in the Second Boer War, though some joined the South African Republic army.
The first congregation was founded between 1890 and 1895, and in 1898 the first synagogue opened on Paul Kruger Street. A second synagogue, known as the Great Synagogue, opened in 1922. Both synagogues are no longer in operation, but a Reformed synagogue, Temple Menorah, opened in the early 1950s.
The Jewish community of Pretoria's golden age was in the early 20th century, when many Jewish sports clubs, charities, and youth groups flourished. After 1948, many Jews left for Cape Town or Johannesburg.
The synagogue on Paul Kruger Street was purchased by the government in 1952 to become the new home of the High Court where prominent opposition figures in the Anti-Apartheid Movement were tried, including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and 26 others were prosecuted for treason from August 1, 1958 to March 29, 1961; the Rivonia Trial was held there in 1963–1964.