Our Geo-Spatial World

The geo-spatial technology is one of the high growth industries, used not only in technology (biotech, nanotech and more) but also in the growing business and government sectors.

It is an industry that is not well defined and often poorly understood by the users, the companies that adopt the technology, government, and the public.

If Government is pro-active and uses geography and mapping techniques to its full potential, then the Census will be more than creating thematic maps.  South Africa is not geared up to having standardised address locators to create tracts of knowledge, although attempts were made by the Post Office in the year 2000.  Perhaps some change will be forthcoming, especially in land use, zoning, population census, births, deaths, etc. 

A major challenge is to know how to share spatial data among different agencies in the public sector. More than 70% of data stored by government has a spatial component. While business GIS is in a different league, we hope the Government can start standardising ways to implement this for planning and strategy.

The section that follows provides information on our Regional Geographic Databases. This is available for use on Esri, MapInfo and Google Earth.

Market Decisions – gis@marketdecisions.co.za

Geospatially speaking

How will we look at the country post SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. There are still variants and in some instances a call for caution. But the country has changed drastically in that the economic growth is slow, the move by middle and upper-level workers towards remote working, and the continued shift from rural to urban.

Globally, the war in Ukraine has unhinged Europe resulting in higher energy prices, inflation, interest growth and food shortages.  Recession looms large both on a global scale and in Africa. This is compounded by the changing weather patterns and rapid social and technological change.

The country would require a major shift in geo-spatial intelligence to identify, isolate and plan. Should the metropolitan areas have satellite cities? Should large towns be given a boost? What about industrial or manufacturing zones? The western countries are looking to manufacture locally, so why not Africa?


Our company has been involved with GIS data and platform since 1994, and became a leader in clarifying, verifying, and co-ordinating information from the three main census periods of: 1996, 2001 and 2011. The information below is also available in a geographical format.

Some Facts:

  • SOCIAL GRANTS: 18 million South Africans currently receive social grants (not including the R350 COVID grant received by 5 million people). Of this, 70% goes to child-care grant. Possible solution is to limit this to 2 children and pay a little more per child as it has risen by almost 25% over a ten-year period.
  • BIRTHS: South Africa’s birth rate has stabilised to just over 1 million births per year. What is concerning is that children as young as 10 are having children.

  • BUILDING PLANS: These are indicative of development of residential, industrial, office and retail space in the country. We have tracked the data from 1999, and while the figures can display graphically, we have also provided this onto a GIS platform. Following the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the data becomes extremely relevant.
  • MIGRATION BETWEEN REGIONS: South Africa has not thought out a proper strategy for each region and while internal migration occurs all over, it is particularly a problem in areas where there could have been high growth, but the economic development region has not focused sufficiently on creating nodes for growth. Gauteng and Western Cape are areas for in-migration and more recently North West and Mpumalanga. It is also important to note that many South Africans own two homes: One in the rural area and one in the urban area, which is not always their main residence. It is seen as transitory.
  • DEATHS: As of 2021, the figures on mortality have still not been published. Figures released in the mid-year population figures shows deaths for 2019, 2020 at 519,865 and 695,913. This would mean a 33% increase in 2020. The MRC figure for the year 2020 is 595,604. We await the most recent figures!
  • MEDICAL AID: Some 8,3 million beneficiaries have access to medical aid in South Africa. The General Household Survey for 2021 lists the number at 9 million.
  • PERSONAL INCOME TAX: Most South Africans feel that few people in employment pay income tax. This is clearly not true.  The number of registered for income tax was 19 million in the tax year 31 March 2017 and by 2020, the figure has risen to 22,9 million.  However, the number of personal taxpayers who are expected to submit a return has declined from 31% to 24%. The percentage of individuals assessed is 5,973,711 or 96%.
  • Gauteng has 37% of taxpayers, The Western Cape 17% and KwaZulu-Natal 17%. However, Gauteng contributes 48% of taxable income. This means that the province should concentrate on being the economic hub of the country and formulate strategies to remain so.
  • Personal taxpayers by province is displayed below:
  • ELECTRICITY/POWER: From 2008, the first incidences of power blackouts commenced, albeit on a low level and mostly during the winter or summer peaks. South Africa has an abundance of sunlight, but not much has been done from then on to move towards renewables. Renewables on its own cannot generate sufficient power and the coal powered stations that started construction in 2007 was Medupi, with Khusile coming on board in 2008. While parts of these are running, both are beset with irregularities and mismanagement that has resulted in an ongoing power crisis. In 2021, there were 75 days of power cuts.
  • Electricity production and consumption for the country is shown below:
  • It is important to note that certain provinces have increased consumption while the main metro areas of Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West show a decrease. The Free State is a problem because many mines and industries have closed in the area and there are areas that simply do not get any electricity either due to non-payment or mismanagement (or both)
  • ESKOM’S DEBT BY CONSUMERS: We believe that since the defaulters are the Municipalities, it is possible to delete the middlemen and create regional electricity power supply bodies to handle the changeover. If the choice is offered as a “pay as you use” or contract, the latter should have a stipulated contract charge while the former will pay less, but more during peak times. The move to Solar is long overdue and here SARS should get involved by giving a tax rebate, with panels registered by each municipality.
  • ESKOM and GOVERNMENT need to train 100 engineers each year, not just for electricity but also for other infrastructure projects. It is important that these new trainees pass with a 60% plus pass rate.
  • Coal is likely to stay for the short to medium term, but maintenance is what has been a key issue, as well as poor coal quality, theft, tenders handed to non-qualified personnel, etc.
  • THE ECONOMY: Our analysis of the economy is sourced from the South African Reserve Bank and we display the most important graphics upto and including December, 2021.

How we spend it: