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Information on Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Pretoria situated in the Gauteng Province of South Africa including information on location, attractions, facilities, geography, education, economy.

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Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital. The others are Bloemfontein, the judicial capital and Cape Town, the legislative capital.

Pretoria is contained in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality as one of several constituent former administrations, among which also Soshanguve and Centurion, and is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Tshwane, however, this contentious issue is still being decided.

The Central Business District of Pretoria has been the traditional centre of commerce and government, although today many corporate offices, small businesses, shops and government departments are situated in the sprawling suburbs of the city rather than the CBD.

Pretoria is home to the Pretoria National Botanical Garden as well as the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, one of the National Botanical Gardens in South Africa. There are also a number of smaller gardens and parks located throughout the city, including the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary.

As the national administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria is the seat of government and houses the headquarters of the main government ministries and departments. As the de facto capital city, it also hosts diplomatic missions and foreign embassies. The city is a prominent industrial centre and a leading commercial centre. Its main industries are steel and iron works, copper casting, and the manufacture of automobiles, heavy machinery and railway carriages.

History of Pretoria

The Southern Transvaal Ndebele occupied the river valley, which was to become the location of the city of Pretoria, by around 1600. During the difaqane in Natal, another band of refugees arrived in this area under the leadership of Mzilikazi. However, they were forced to abandon their villages in their flight from a regiment of Zulu raiders in 1832. Pretoria itself was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River. Andries Pretorius also negotiated the Sand River Convention, in which Britain acknowledged the independence of the Transvaal. It became the capital of the South African Republic on 1 May 1860. The founding of Pretoria as the capital of the South African Republic can be seen as marking the end of the Boers' settlement movements of the Great Trek.

During the First Boer War, the city was besieged by Republican forces in December 1880 and March 1881. The peace treaty which ended the war was signed in Pretoria on 3 August 1881 at the Pretoria Convention. The Second Boer War resulted in the end of the Republic of Transvaal and start of British hegemony in South Africa. During the war, Winston Churchill was imprisoned in the Staats Model School in Pretoria but escaped to Mozambique. The city surrendered to British forces under Frederick Roberts on 5 June 1900 and the conflict was ended in Pretoria with the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902. A number of forts were built for the defence of the city just prior to the Second Boer War, though some are today in ruins, a number of them have been preserved as national monuments.

The Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange Free State were united with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa. Pretoria then became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital. Between 1860 and 1994, the city was also the capital of the province of Transvaal, superseding Potchefstroom in that role. On 14 October 1931, Pretoria achieved official city status. When South Africa became a republic in 1961, Pretoria remained its administrative capital.

After the creation of new municipal structures across South Africa in 2000, the name Tshwane was adopted for the Metropolitan Municipality that includes Pretoria and surrounding towns. Pretoria previously had a rather sinister image as "the capital of Apartheid South Africa". However, Pretoria's political reputation was changed with the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country's first non-apartheid President at the Union Buildings close to Pretoria CBD. Beginning in 2005, portions of the African National Congress wished to change the name of the city to match the name of the Tshwane municipality; however this met with stiff opposition, particularly from Afrikaner civil rights groups and political parties. In 1994, Peter Holmes Maluleka was elected as transitional mayor of Pretoria, until the first democratic election held later that year, making him the first black mayor of this capital of South Africa. Maluleka later became the chairman of the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan City Council, then was elected Speaker of the Tshwane Metro Council and in 2004 was chosen to be a member of the South African Parliament for the Soshanguve constituency.

Pretoria Geography

Pretoria is situated approximately 50 km north of Johannesburg in the northeast of South Africa, in a transitional belt between the plateau of the Highveld to the south and the lower-lying Bushveld to the north. It lies at an altitude of about 1,350 m above sea level, in a warm, sheltered, fertile valley, surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range.

Pretoria Climate

The city has a relatively dry subtropical climate, specifically a humid subtropical climate, with long hot and rainy summers and short cool and dry winters. The average annual temperature is 18.7OC. This is quite high considering its relatively high altitude of about 1350 metres and is due primarily to its sheltered valley position, which acts as a heat trap and cuts it off from cool southerly and southeasterly air masses for much of the year. Rain falls mainly in the summer months, with drought conditions prevailing over the winter months, when frosts may be sharp. Snowfall is an extremely rare event, occurring once or twice in a century.

Pretoria Education

Pretoria is one of South Africa's leading academic cities, and it is home to the largest residential university in the country, the University of Pretoria, the Tshwane University of Technology and the largest distance education university, the University of South Africa, more commonly known by its acronym, UNISA. The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is also located in this city.

Towns and Suburbs of the Gauteng province of South Africa

Alberton , Arcadia , Auckland Park , Bardene , Bartlett , Bedfordview , Benoni , Boekenhoutskloof , Boksburg , Bonaero Park , Bredell , Bronkhorstspruit , Brooklyn , Bruma , Brummeria , Bryanston , Centurion , Chartwell , Club View , Constantia Park , Cradle of Humankind , Cullinan , De Wagensdrift , Die Wilgers , Dinokeng , Donkerhoek , Edenvale , Elandsdrift , Eldoraigne , Erasmuskloof , Erasmusrand , Fairland , Farrarmere , Ferndale , Fourways , Gallo Manor , Garsfontein ,Germiston , Glen Austin , Glen Marais , Glenvista , Groenkloof , Halfway House , Hartbeespoort , Hatfield , Heidelberg , Hennopspark , Honeydew , Houghton , Hyde Park , Illovo , Irene , Isando , Jet Park , Johannesburg , Kameeldrift , Kempton Park , Klippoortjie , Knoppieslaagte , Kromdraai , Krugersdorp , Kyalami , Lakefield , Lanseria , Linden , Little Falls , Lonehill , Lynnwood , Lyttelton , Magaliesburg , Melrose , Melville , Menlo Park , Menlyn , Meyersdal , Meyerspark , Midrand , Mnandi , Modderfontein , Mondeor , Monrick , Montana , Morningside , Muldersdrift , Murrayfield , New Redruth , Newmarket , Noordheuwel , Northcliff , North Riding , OR Tambo Airport , Ormonde , Parktown , Pretoria , Pretoria East , Pomona , Randburg , Randfontein , Randhart , Raslouw , Ravenswood , Rivonia , Roodepoort , Rosebank , Rosherville , Ruimsig , Rust de Winter , Samrand , Sandown , Sandton , Sandhurst , Selection Park , Silver Lakes , Solheim , Springs , Sunninghill , The Reeds , Vereeniging , Vanderbijlpark , Walkerville , Wapadrand , Waterkloof , Waverley , Weltevredenpark , Westcliff , Woodmead


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