The Durban EDGE in partnership with MILE (EThekwini Municipality's Municipal Institute for Learning) held a learning event on the city’s spatialised economic tax data in October 2022.
In his opening remarks; Dr. Ajiv Maharaj, Deputy Head of the Economic Research, Strategy, and Innovation Department highlighted the importance of government and businesses understanding their customers in order to create a conducive environment for growth and job creation. He explained that South Africa has limited real economic data and that the real economy is in granular localities across the country.
He further discussed the challenges of accessing administrative data from various departments. He stressed the importance of spatial data, and how it will assist in understanding the socio economic status quo of each metro. He explained that eThekwini and other metros worked with the National Treasury to share the anonymised data and that SARS (the South African Revenue Service) had formed a secure data center to bridge this gap.
Ms. Tshegang Chipeya (Senior Research Advisor) gave a backdrop of Durban’s economy. She stressed that with a forecast of 1,6% this year, spatial data will now be a useful tool in that it will provide detailed information that will assist the city in understanding which industries, sectors, and regions to prioritise.
Mr. Zwelibanzi Gwala (Manager: Spatial Database) gave an overview of eThekwini’s Strategic Hub which the city recently launched. The Hub is where a wide range of the city’s data can be accessed, and its objective is to drive decisions based on data and insight.
Finally, Mr. Justice Matarutse (Programme Manager: Innovation) presented the city’s spatialised economic tax data. He explained how one can misdiagnose a problem without a spatial lens. In response, the spatial data gives the city better insights into economic conditions at a more granular level.
Matarutse demonstrated how useful the data is in assisting the user to understand the city’s land parcels, including residential, business, commercial, and industrial properties. This data can be viewed in conjunction with the valuation roll dataset available on the Durban EDGE Open Data Portal.
He further demonstrated how this data can be used to compare with other cities. The demonstration illustrated the distribution of jobs per area, gender, sector; new jobs over time, median income, changes in income, and gender income disparities.
The seminar ended with a short data quest, where participants were offered the chance to receive prizes in exchange for solving problems on locating vacant industrial land and locating and prioritising communities for investment. Both business and government participated and received prizes, indicating an interest in exploring the portal and data further.
For further information on the data, methodology and availability, contact Mr Justice Matarutse on email@example.com