With the advent of democracy, the city has undergone significant restructuring, leading up to the adoption of Joburg 2030 , a visionary strategy aimed at boosting investment and economic growth.
The first democratic local government elections
Local authorities were highly fragmented in 1994:
white local authorities spent R600 per capita per annum and were 90 percent self-sufficient while their black counterparts spent
R100 per capita per annum and were 10 percent self-sufficient.
In 1995 various local authorities were amalgamated to form four councils co-ordinated by a central metropolitan council under a single tax base. To support this tax base, the municipal boundaries of Johannesburg were extended to include Sandton, Randburg, Soweto, Alexandra and Orange Farm.
However, this system was still highly fragmented and much duplication took place. By the 1997/1998 financial year, the effects of this fragmentation were being keenly felt, with the City experiencing a R300-million deficit, a R405-million overdraft and a negligible capital expenditure budget.
A new approach was required and, in 1999, a city manager was appointed and Igoli 2002, a three-year plan to turn the City's finances around, was devised.
In 2000, Johannesburg was restructured to become a single metropolitan authority and elections were held for an executive mayor and unified local government. Again the local municipal boundaries were expanded, this time to include Modderfontein and Midrand.
Since then, the City has enjoyed a financial turnaround, with the creation of credible and stable operating environment. This stability, strong centralised co-ordination and oversight has allowed the City to play a crucial role in building the economy, and implementing policies and structures to support economic growth and poverty alleviation.
This success was brought about by:
The adoption of Igoli 2002 in 1999, aimed at rectifying pressing financial problems. One outcome was to create the organisational space and budget for the council to adopt a more hands-on role for the City in the sphere of economic development.
The creation of the office of executive mayor, and the outlining of a list of mayoral priorities to "stimulate economic growth and address the problems of unemployment and inequality between the rich and poor". This required the City to be an agent for economic growth.
The adoption of Joburg 2030 , an economic development plan aimed at achieving a better quality of life for all the city's residents. This long-term strategy focuses on getting fundamentals in the economic and investment chain right. It identified the three core mechanisms to achieve this: creating a conducive environment; improving the efficiency of investment; and accelerating business activities.
As the most important metro in terms of contribution to provincial and national gross domestic product (GDP), Johannesburg is a leading and robust market for investors, distributors and retailers in Gauteng.
On average, Johannesburg's residents enjoy a higher standard of living than people living in South Africa's other major cities.
Compared with other cities, particularly Cape Town, eThekwini (greater Durban) and Nelson Mandela (greater Port Elizabeth), Johannesburg is ahead: its markets are growing faster and, on average, its inhabitants are wealthier.
Johannesburg's economy, and its contribution to the national economy, has grown substantially and performed well on all major indicators compared to Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Gauteng.
Large numbers of people come to the city to find work, as job creation in Johannesburg has been positive over this period, with more people employed today than in 1996. On average, Johannesburg's workforce has more money and skills than before.
However, more people are living in poverty too, as the growing economy attracts people from more depressed areas, increasing the number of the poor and unemployed.