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Pretoria

Overview

The city of Pretoria is the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa and, as such, is the seat of the South African Government. Pretoria is located in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, in the province of Gauteng. The city was founded in 1855 and named after Andries Pretorius, a hero of the Boer pioneers. The modern city of Pretoria has approximately 1.3 million inhabitants; Pretoria has the nickname of ‘Jacaranda City’ due to a high number of its streets being lined with jacaranda trees, which blossom in spring time, producing a vivid mauve colour. In 2010 Pretoria will host a number of FIFA World cup matches, marking the first time the tournament has been held on the African continent.

Economy

Industry is the mainstay of the city’s economy, including the casting of steel and iron and the manufacturing of machinery and motor vehicles; as such the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is also to be found in this city. Pretoria’s industrial skills are known not only in South Africa, but also around the world, one example is the company Denel (pty) Ltd has been awarded a contract with BAe Systems worth 296,000,000 Rand, and a partnership with SAAB is also underway.

The city of Pretoria has the third largest economy in South Africa: only Cape Town and Johannesburg contribute more to the countries GDP than Pretoria. A report in 2002 by Pretoria’s Potchefstroom University showed that 8.55% of South Africa’s GDP was generated by Pretoria. The province of Gauteng, the country’s smallest, incorporates the cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg, and accounts for around 25% of South Africa’s GDP.

Standard Of Living

As with many cities in South Africa the quality of life is highly variable. The poverty gap in Pretoria is quite distinct, as shown by a number of studies over the last decade; an example being a study in 1998 by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.

In keeping with being the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa, Pretoria boasts many top quality hotels, restaurants and shopping facilities as well as plentiful entertainment. For lovers of luxury and opulence, Pretoria is one of the termini for the world famous Blue Train - passengers on the train can travel between Pretoria and Cape Town at a leisurely pace in the style one would associate with the Orient Express.

Infrastructure

For international travellers to Pretoria, the city is served by Johannesburg International Airport, around 30 miles to the south, which connects the city to many locations around the world including Europe, the Middle and Far East, North and South America as well as a number of other African countries. The airport handles around 11 million passengers each year. Currently a rapid rail transit link, the Gautrain, between Pretoria and Johannesburg is being considered which will facilitate, when completed it will provide a fast efficient link. Travel around the city is best accomplished by taxi, municipal bus or hiring a car, there are also minibus taxis; however they are not recommended due to overcrowding. Energy production in South Africa is of vital importance to the country, to this end a research facility at Pelindaba, close to Pretoria is working to develop a safer type of nuclear reactor. The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, is stated by the development company PBMR (pty) Ltd as ‘inherently safe as a result of the design, materials used, fuel and physics involved’, the first commercial reactors are due online by 2013.

Workforce

Pretoria is one of the country's foremost scholastic cities: the University of South Africa and the University of Pretoria are both based there.

Business Costs

Although the Central Business District of Pretoria is key to the economic focus of the city, many businesses and even government departments prefer to locate to the suburbs.
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