Much still to be done to change SA’s unequal face
New Urban Agenda offers useful guidelines for managing urbanisation
SA is highly urbanised compared with most sub-Saharan countries. Well above 80% of its people live on less than 2% of the land. But these high densities do not mean that all South Africans experience urban life in the same way. The effects of colonialism and the apartheid state are still writ large in cities with a fragmented and unequal urban system in terms of economic opportunities, social justice and environmental sustainability. Forced removals, return migration and the fact that Africans were considered transient workers in urban areas, created a fragmented space economy between and within urban areas. For example, township workers may spend R50 a day on transport, with a commuting time of two to three hours. After work, they return to neighbourhoods that are in many cases, undersupplied with street lighting, making the commute even more dangerous. Most residents of township areas still have lower access to health facilities, social services and other amenities compared to for...