Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

The Indifference of Transport: Comparative Research of “Infrastructural Ruins” in the Gauteng City-Region and Greater Maputo

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Abstract:  States in the Global South have consistently invested in large-scale, vanity infrastructure projects, which are often not used by the majority of their residents. Using a mixed-method and comparative approach with findings from Greater Maputo, Mozambique, and the Gauteng City-Region exposes how internationally-supported and expensive transport projects do not meet the needs of lower-income urban residents, and meanwhile, widespread, everyday modes of commuting such as trains, paratransit, and pathways for walking deteriorate. State-led development thus often generates an infrastructural landscape characterised by “ruin” and “indifference.” These choices are anachronistic, steeped in a desire for a modernist-inspired future and in establishing narratives of control. In the cases of Gauteng and Maputo, whether or not the infrastructure is “successfully” implemented, these choices have resulted in a distancing of the state from the majority of urban residents.

Keywords:  Gauteng; infrastructural ruins; Maputo; Mozambique; South Africa; transport infrastructure


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© Margot Rubin, Lindsay Blair Howe, Sarah Charlton, Muhammed Suleman, Anselmo Cani, Lesego Tshuwa, Alexandra Parker. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.