National Treasury and the Department of Small Business Development will hold a virtual metro Township Economic Development (TED) symposium this week, with a focus on revitalising the country’s townships and industrial spaces.
Treasury said that South Africa now faces ‘irreversible processes of urbanisation’, with townships and informal settlements being the entry point for many.
“Unfortunately, the experience is one of a living environment that is spatially fragmented from the rest of the city, with infrastructure and service delivery backlogs or decay, high levels of poverty, tenure insecurity and unemployment, and many localized and competing micro-entrepreneurs or survivalist enterprises.”
Treasury said that the country’s eight major metropolitan municipalities bear the burden of urbanisation and are now home to more than 40% of the population.
They also collectively contribute to more than 50% of GDP and employment.
“Metros have direct planning, regulatory, delivery and management responsibilities within our townships. However, they are not the sole development and economic actors within these spaces,” it said.
“The national and provincial government and agencies also have regulatory; infrastructure planning and investment; asset creation and management; safety and security; and business support responsibilities.
“Private sector investors, both within and external to these spaces, together with civil society and donors all drive and sustain the township and city economies.”
Data published by Statistics South Africa in July shows that across all provinces, five have seen a net inflow of people moving – including migrants from other provinces as well as international migrants settling.
This includes Gauteng, the Western Cape, the North West, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.
Gauteng has seen the greatest influx of people since 2016, more than three times the numbers seen in the Western Cape, ranked second.
People from all provinces are moving to Gauteng, with more than half the international migrants also making their way there.
This is because of the economic strength of the province and the prospect for job opportunities, which make it an attractive destination, Stats SA said.