Concerns raised over mass migration to Johannesburg – here’s how many South Africans are moving

 ·24 Sep 2018

A joint group of National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and Gauteng Provincial Legislature recently launched a programme looking at the effects of migration on service delivery in Gauteng.

According to its findings, 47% of international migrants settle in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipal area without validated documents.

Furthermore, it found that the Johannesburg metro is continuing to attract a large number of migrants from other provinces – notably Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

All the departments reflected on how the influx of people from across all other provinces and internationally puts a huge strain on the ageing infrastructure in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Area as well as city’s the limited resources.


The Department of Education said migration negatively affects the majority of schools which reach their full capacity as early as the end of October every year.

They said the influx of learners into the metros, year-on-year, disrupted planning processes of the education system. It added that security and safety of schools continue to be strained by many anti-social activities such as bullying, gangsterism, sexual violence, criminality and substances abuse by among others children.

Another major concern raised was the impact of migration on ageing infrastructure. “What worries me is the safety report,” said chairperson of the NCOP, Thandi Modise.

“I want to challenge the police department to deal with the matter of the expired goods, drugs and criminal activities in Johannesburg. Some of the responses have policy gaps and require serious follow-ups. As the NCOP we are here to listen, compare, advice on policy matters and to ensure that all issues raised receive the necessary attention,” she said.

Growing numbers

Urbanisation has ballooned in Gauteng over the past decade, with millions more expected to move into the province within the coming years.

This is according to a May report by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) which found that the province experienced net migration from other provinces of 904,619 people from 2006 to 2011 and 981,290 people from 2011 to 2016.

With Statistics South Africa projecting that between 2016 and 2021 another million people could be added to the population – current residents are beginning to feel the effects.

“Gauteng’s established population has not always received this process of normalisation in positive terms, and there remains considerable sympathy for regulating urbanisation,” the GCRO said.

“When asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement ‘there are too many people coming to Gauteng, we should bring back influx-control’, 43% of respondents agreed that influx-control should be reinstated.”

While this is a significant portion of residents, it still means that the majority (57%) are not in favour of such measures.

Read: Government is planning to create South Africa’s first ‘mega city’: report

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