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Louis Botha… first leg in the changing face of Joburg

One of the most discussed topics among Johannesburg Jewry over the past year has been the construction on the very busy Louis Botha Avenue artery. “What’s going on?” is frequently asked and “Why is it taking so long?” Read the answers in the first of a multi-part series of articles, see the pictures and the complete PDF document the City has approved – find out how the six-fold population densification by introducing low- and middle-income residents will affect you…





What the Louis Botha corridor will look like in a few years, above, and see many more pictures and documents in and below the story

The Louis Botha Avenue hustle and bustle is not just building a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) from Alexandra township to Johannesburg’s CBD; it is the first stage of a major redevelopment in the coming two decades that will herald a complete transformation of the city.

By the time all is said and done, there will be six BRT stations between Orange Grove and the Wynberg industrial area, with six times the present population density. It will also see the automatic rezoning by the City Council of all land several blocks deep alongside Louis Botha with developments ranging between two and eight storeys, with business rights near the stations.


Taxis will not be allowed to travel on the road, but will have much more profitable “last mile” passenger loads from the stations to their destinations. Originally there were only going to be three east/west crossings in this area but community complaints have led to the Council agreeing to five crossing points 

Louis Botha - Report CoverThe City aims to have at least four development corridors – two running north/south and two east/west. The latter ones will cross the north/south version down George Avenue, past the Chevrah Kadisha, over the N3 and all the way to Kempton Park (if Ekurhuleni buys in). 

Click to find the complete 145-PAGE PDF DOCUMENT (cover illustrated right) that the City has approved and the seven previous STORIES AND LETTERS on JR-Online on the subject

To facilitate a programme of such massive proportions, Johannesburg has to build the requisite infrastructure first – and that is what is happening now. For example, what used to be commonly known as “death bend” (the stretch of Louis Botha Avenue between Houghton Drive and Yoeville), has seen the hillside demolished and the road straightened out.

So, readers, while it may seem to be taking forever, think of it as the pilot project for the Johannesburg of 2050 and be patient. Once one has read what will be taking place, one will be surprised that it has been managed with so little disruption to the lives those who are touched so regularly by Louis Botha Avenue.


Louis Botha Ant pic Across balfour park
Johannesburg Jewry are severely affected by scenes such as this one near Balfour Park this week where workmen are active on both sides of the road and, in the distance, all the way to Gresswold as well. Read why, and see the pictures below to understand what is happening, why, and how it will affect you!

The reticulation of power and water to service six times as many residents, and the removal of sewage and storm-water pipes and drains, all have to be put in place.

Follow the story, join the conversation…

Over this week and next – and maybe more if required – Jewish Report will try and answer our readers’ questions. Feel free to join the conversation and let’s hear what you think in our comments section below.

Jewish Report has also have placed a link to the 145-page “Strategic Framework” document in a PDF format for readers to see, download, print or share – to understand what is happening and why.

This major undertaking is bound to be a challenge to commuters and residents for quite a number of years to come.

Some of the motivation for the redevelopment, according to the City, is to address the problems of past spatial planning practices which have left Johannesburg with “sprawling low-density areas of settlement, lacking viable public transport systems.”

The majority of working-class and poor citizens are still living on the fringes of the city, commuting daily often at considerable cost, and face long distances to access work and economic opportunities. Also, private car and taxi use is a significant driver of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Follow this fascinating series in our print edition and on the web (which, as you can see below, has the space to carry many more illustrations to see how it will affect your own quality of life and business and housing investments in the area.

And remember, this is an interactive website. Join the conversation and have your say by posting comments below – either in your own name or anonymously.

Louis Botha - minor station.png
Illustrated above is a visualisation of what the future holds showing a small bus stop on the Louis Botha Avenue “Development Corridor” – around all bus stations will be six to eight storey developments and business rezoning. They will also have facilities for mini-bus taxis to take passengers from the bus stop closer to their homes 

Louis Botha Ant pic trenchAt left is a bulk services trench near Balfour Park which has already had some infrastructure buried, filled with soil and compacted for further service to be added. This exercise is happening on both sides of the road in some places.  

Louis Botha - Stations
The bus stations will be situated at Orange Grove, Raedene (which will in time link up to the East/West corridor down Scott Street), Balfour Park, Corlett Drive, Wynberg and Marlborough. This map has a colour-coded key which illustrates the future population density plans

Louis Botha - density table

This pictograph illustrates the envisaged densification of population as envisaged in the council’s plan. The red focus area is that directly along Louis Botha Avenue. This has been subjected to an intensive study and is expected to grow six-fold. This will, however, obviously be driven by demand (for accommodation) and supply (by developers or landlords)

Louis Botha - major station
Illustrated above is a larger bus station, this one in Wynberg, which will also intersect the the Alexandra to Sandton route also currently under construction, has additional facilities and parking to support the higher traffic convergence and mini-bus taxi usage 

Follow Jewish Report in the coming weeks to find out how the changes may affect your property values, what opportunities they may offer and how the lifestyle of both observant and secular Jewry may be impacted

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  1. Chutzpah

    Aug 22, 2016 at 9:42 am

    ‘and chazas will fly’

  2. anthony

    Aug 22, 2016 at 10:50 am

    ‘The biggest problem NOW is that the constr people are incredibly slow and disorganized.After all this time not ONE single block is complete. Why not do a block at a time, finish ALL the pavements and road surfacing, street lights and storm-water drains before going to the next one. most NEW street lights are still not working. why?? The mess and chaos they have left behind in most places is totally unacceptable. is this a proper construction company, it doesn’t look like it. Also, this company should not have been allowed to control the traffic, as their expertise is obviously zero.’

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Shabbat Around The World beams out from Jozi



More than 75 devices around the globe logged in to Beit Luria’s World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Shabbat Around the World programme on Friday, 15 January.

Whether it was breakfast time in California, tea time in Europe, or time to break challah in Johannesburg, participants logged in to take part in Beit Luria’s Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Among those participating were Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the president of the WUPJ; chairperson Carole Sterling; and Rabbi Nathan Alfred, the head of international relations. Singers Tulla Eckhart and Brian Joffe performed songs from a global array of artists, along with Toto’s Africa to add a little local flair to the service. After kiddish was said and bread was broken, Rabbi Bergman thanked Beit Luria for hosting the WUPJ. The shul looks forward to more collaborations with its global friends in the future.

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UJW Sewing School graduates model creations



The outfits modelled by graduates of the Union of Jewish Women’s (UJW’s) Sewing School were all the more spectacular for the fact that some of their creators had never seen a sewing machine prior to the four-month course.

They were modelled at the school’s graduation ceremony at Oxford Shul on 15 December to much excitement and applause.

UJW executive member and Sewing School Manager Ariane Heneck expressed her gratitude to Chido Tsodzo, the school’s superb teacher, and the event ended with a much appreciated lunch for graduates and their invited guests.

The self-empowerment Sewing School for unemployed men and women was started by the UJW 10 years ago. It now has a small production team of ex-students, and some of its graduates have been employed in factories, while others are selling their own creations.

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Israel Rugby 7s to camp with the Blitzbokke



The thrill-a-minute Rugby 7s have captured the hearts of fans around the world. The Blitzbokke, South Africa’s national Rugby 7s team, ranks second in the world, and is among the most exciting, formidable, and feared of 7s teams.

Exactly 9 191 km away are the Israelis, an emerging rugby nation that has talent, determination, and a world-class coach in South African Kevin Musikanth. Now, these two squads will meet. The Israeli 7s side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch to train with the Blitzbokke.

The Blitzbokke will have the opportunity to prepare for the coming 7s rugby season by measuring their skills of play against the Israelis. And the Israelis, well, they will be rubbing shoulders with, and learning from the best in the world and honing their skills for their coming European Rugby season.

“It’s an opportunity for our boys to learn from the world’s best,” says Musikanth. The SAS Rugby Academy is run by the legendary Frankie Horn, a technical expert whose coaching guidelines and methods are second to none in World Rugby 7s.

Musikanth took over as Rugby 15s head coach in Israel in 2018, and in October 2019, he became director of rugby for the Israeli Rugby Union and head coach for the national programmes of both the 15s and the 7s.

Horn visited Israel last December at the behest of Rugby Israel and its supporting Olympic body and since then, the partnership has continued to grow. The upcoming training camp will begin in Israel, where Horn, together with Phil Snyman, the former Blitzbok captain and multiple world champion winner, will spend a week with the players and coaching staff at Wingate, Netanya, the home base of Rugby Israel. They will then all travel to Stellenbosch for a week’s camp with the Blitzbokke.

“We’ve already seen the difference through our partnership with Frankie. Two of our players were spotted by him on his previous trip to Israel, and have been training at SAS on the off-season,” says Musikanth. The two players are Omer Levinson (scrum half) and Yotam Shulman (lock).

Horn, technical advisor to Rugby Israel’s 7s, says “It is a great opportunity for both teams to derive positive benefit from the camp.”

Israel Rugby has been making considerable professional strides since Musikanth took over the reins. Israel 15s played their 100th test match against Cyprus and celebrated with a 34-22 victory.

“We’re in the top 25 in Europe in 15s and in the top 16 in 7s, the toughest, most competitive continent in world rugby,” says Musikanth, “and I can realistically see us setting our sights on the Top 15 and Top 12 respectively in the future.”

Currently, there are three eligible South Africans who are on the Israeli national squad: Jayson Ferera as flanker (Pirates Rugby Club), Daniel Stein as fly half (studying in Israel), and Jared Sichel as prop (Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Cape Town). Eligibility to play for a national team in rugby is stricter than in other sports. One does not qualify just because one has a passport. One has to have had a parent or grandparent that was born in that country or one has to have lived in the country for at least three years.

“With so much Jewish rugby talent around the world, we would be able to put a world-class Israeli national team together if not for the measures that restrict eligibility to national call ups,” says Musikanth.

The Israel Rugby development project was accelerated thanks to Musikanth initiating Bridges through Rugby. This project is the collective effort of a few South African Jewish businessmen who appreciate the long-term vision of Israel becoming a stronger rugby nation. They have come on board to assist with this most opportune tour. National financial support is fixed and, as such, is limited. While the strong players and national coaches will be attending the training camp in Stellenbosch, there will be some that will, unfortunately, have to stay behind.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and coaches. To get to see the best upfront and feed off their knowledge is going to be incredible,” says Musikanth. “Everyone is eager to go, of course, but there is a cap to the support we have in place. We would like to take a development u20 squad as well as coaching staff who would carry the benefits of this into the future. A rugby visit to Stellenbosch can change rugby lives in many respects. Stellenbosch is rugby utopia!”

Rugby aside, with the Israelis and South Africans camping together, the question of what will be for dinner after a gruelling day’s training may be a matter of contention. A tussle for whether to serve boerewors or shwarma may result in a scrum in the SAS dining hall to determine the outcome.

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