Jane Carruthers

The township of Parkmore was established in 1904 – making it one of the oldest northern suburbs in the Johannesburg Metro. Parkmore was proclaimed in the aftermath of the South African War (1899-1902). The ending of hostilities brought with it the expectation of economic stability and a rise in property prices in what had become the British colony of the Transvaal.

 

The South African Constitution of 1996 introduced new forms of local government and radically changed the map of governance structures throughout the country. As has been the case since 1910, the central and provincial governments play a controlling role. However, at a local level – towns, cities and even townships and suburbs – remain arenas in which citizens are empowered to make their voices heard directly, as happens almost daily with street protests about inadequate service delivery.

When Johannesburg’s august Mayor, Harry Graumann (later Sir Harry), welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Connaught on 28 November 1910 he presented the Royal couple – who had come to South Africa to open the first Union Parliament – with a lavish commemorative book. This described the Town Engineer’s duties in terms of roads, parks, gas, electricity provision and other grand projects, but there was not a word about sewage, such were the Edwardian sensitivities to this delicate subject.

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