Sandton is a town in the northern part of the Greater Johannesburg
Metropolitan Area, South Africa in the Gauteng Province.
The name comes from the combination of two suburbs, Sandown and Bryanston,
both of which were named after places in the United Kingdom.
The municipality was established as an extension of the city in 1969,
after Johannesburg began to expand northwards. Its initial beginnings
was very much a residential area consisting mostly of small holdings.
This rural "horsey" lifestyle of Sandton gave it the image
of being a smart address. It was dubbed the "mink and manure"
belt of Johannesburg.
After the demise of Apartheid and the manifestation of the new political
dispensation, Sandton became part of the City of Johannesburg
Metropolitan Municipality following new demarcations put forward
by the government, and it no longer has a separate municipal government.
Role in 21st century Johannesburg
Financial and business centre
It has become the new financial centre of South Africa and Johannesburg's
premier business centre. Much of the financial focus of Johannesburg
has shifted from the Central Business District to Sandton, especially
in the last 15 years. However, three of South Africa's four largest
banks have kept their head offices in downtown Johannesburg, along with
Transnet, the transport parastatal. The other bank, Nedbank has
its headquarters in Sandton.
But much of the "new money" has moved north to Sandton,
including investment banks, financial consultants and the like. A considerable
amount of the city's A-grade office space is to be found in Sandton.
The JSE Securities Exchange, Johannesburg's stock exchange, relocated
its offices to Sandton from the Central Business District in
the late 1990s. Sandton's gain was the central business district's
loss: it resulted in urban blight and "white flight" of the
downtown Johannesburg area.
Sandton is home to the Sandton Convention Centre, one
of the largest convention centres on the continent and primary site
of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (also known as "Rio
+ 10"), which Johannesburg hosted. The convention centre also hosted
the African National Congress' victory celebrations after the party
won the 2004 elections.
Tourism and retail hub
One of the main attractions in Sandton is Sandton City,
which ranks among the largest shopping centres in Africa. Together with
Nelson Mandela Square, the centre, with some 144,000m² of
shopping space, is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, larger than
Sydney's Westfield Parramatta or Melbourne's Westfield Southland centres.
Much of Johannesburg's business tourism is centred on Sandton,
which has a string of 5-star hotels.
Nelson Mandela Square, formerly known as Sandton Square,
was renamed in March 2004, after the unveiling of a 6-metre bronze statue
of the former president, arguably one of South Africa's greatest
statesmen. Perhaps ironically, Liliesleaf Farm, where Mandela and other
political activists were arrested in the 1960s and tried as part of
the now infamous Rivonia Trial, is north of Nelson Mandela Square, close
to the N1 freeway, off Rivonia Road. The area is now home to
massive office parks and other developments, and little remains of the
"Africa's richest square mile"
The Sandton area is one of the most opulent in Johannesburg and South
Africa,and therefore in Africa but not far away from Alexandra,
one of the poorest former black townships. Sandton covers an
area of approximately 156 km² while Alexandra is just under
4 km². It is estimated that the population of Alexandra
is the same as that of Sandton itself.
Due to the shortage of available land, the trend in new developments
is to go skyward. This is evidenced by the new 140-metre tall Michelangelo
Towers, which will offer Manhattan-style living in Johannesburg.[citation
needed] The new apartment block will be the fourth-tallest building
in Johannesburg and local newspaper the Sunday Times reports that the
top-selling penthouse apartment was sold for R28 million (around $5
Concerns have been raised as to whether Sandton has the necessary road
and water infrastructure to sustain the massive development that is
characteristic of Johannesburg in the 21st century (since the demise
of Apartheid and the Group Areas Act).
Other suburbs of Sandton include Rivonia and Marlboro.