‘Too many people are coming to Gauteng’ – and a lot of residents want influx-control back

 ·7 May 2018

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 new 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.


Support for bringing back influx-control was more prevalent in some wards than in others, said the GCRO.

“In wards with dark shading, between 59% and 83% of the respondents agreed that influx-control should be reinstated.

“These wards were scattered throughout the province but some distinct clusters appeared in and around Pretoria, south-west of Johannesburg, and a stretch between Vanderbijlpark and Springs in the south-eastern parts Gauteng.

“By contrast, in wards with light shading, a quarter or less of the respondents were supportive of the idea of influx-control. These included some of Johannesburg’s affluent northern suburbs,” it said.


While one might expect that the areas most in support of influx-control would also be the areas where a lot of migrants settle, the data shows that almost the exact opposite is true.

Wards with higher proportions of migrants were mostly on the western edge of Gauteng (between Carletonville and Krugersdorp) and in a few other clusters throughout the province.

In contrast, areas like Soweto, and the stretch between Vanderbijlpark and Springs, were home to much lower proportions of migrants.

“Many explanations for this set of results are possible,” the GCRO said.

These include:

  • Migrants who have established themselves in Gauteng for a number of years might be more likely to support influx control;
  • Gauteng-born residents who live in close proximity to larger concentrations of migrants might have developed more inclusive attitudes;
  • Residents (migrants or Gauteng-born) who live in marginalised areas or conditions might want to keep other migrants from settling in Gauteng in order to improve their access to limited resources;
  • Wealthy respondents and those who’s level of education give them a higher value in the labour market might not be concerned about migrants as competition for economic opportunities and therefore hold more liberal attitudes.

Read: Here’s how the transfer of property process works in South Africa

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