SOUTH Africaâ€™s urban population is growing larger and youngerâ€š and by 2050 nearly 80% of SAâ€™s total population will be living in an urban area, according to a government report.
Briefing Parliamentâ€™s portfolio committee on Tuesday on the draft Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel said urbanisation in SA was taking place at a rapid pace
“South Africa is urbanising rapidly. The United Nations estimates that 71.3% of South Africaâ€™s population will live in urban areas by 2030. Nearly 80% by 2050. South Africaâ€™s urban population is growing larger and younger. Two-thirds of South African youth live in urban areasâ€š” said Mr Nel, citing a government report.
Cities and large towns produced over 80% of the national gross value added and metros were growing twice as fast as other cities, he said.
Mr Nel said towns had much higher average incomesâ€š compared to the country as a whole (about 40%), and employment grew twice as fast in metros.
“Between 1996 and 2012â€š metros accounted for 75% of all net jobs created in South Africa. Despite thisâ€š â€˜urbanisation of povertyâ€™ is increasingâ€š especially in townshipsâ€š informal settlements and inner cities.
“Urban areas are dynamically linked to rural areas â€” flows of peopleâ€š natural and economic resources. Urban and rural areas are becoming increasingly integratedâ€š as a result of better transportâ€š communications and migrationâ€š” he said.
Interdependence of rural and urban spaces needed a comprehensiveâ€š integrated approach to urban development, the deputy minister said.
High concentrations of peopleâ€š buildings and infrastructure also increased the risk of natural disastersâ€š climate change and variability. Reducing urban risk was critical to achieving sustainable urban growth and safetyâ€š particularly in public spacesâ€š was an essential ingredient for the creation of liveable and prosperous cities, said Mr Nel.
He said urban spaces needed to be designed and managed in a way that made citizens feel safe from violence and crime.
“By 2030â€š South Africa should see reviving rural areas and creating more integratedâ€š balanced and vibrant urban settlements.
“To achieve thisâ€š the country must clarify and relentlessly pursue a national vision for spatial developmentâ€š” he said.
The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) aims to develop cities offer its residents access to social and economic servicesâ€š inclusiveâ€š sustainable economic growth and development and spatial transformation.
Mr Nel said on Tuesday that the IUDF was being consulted on extensivelyâ€š and the final draft would be completed by November.