Poverty pockets in Gauteng: how migration impacts poverty

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2005
TITLE AUTHOR(S): C.Cross, P.Kok, M.Wentzel, K.Tlabela, G.Weir-Smith, J.Mafukidze
KEYWORDS: GAUTENG, MIGRATION, POVERTY
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 3481
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/7118

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Abstract

Poverty in our cities is probably the key planning question of this millennium, and it is clear that much of the poverty being experienced in Gauteng is driven by migration. The Johannesburg/ Pretoria conurbation probably has the strongest pulling power of any African city, constantly bringing in new streams of the hopeful poor. To deal with in-migration, Gauteng's cities plan on the urban transition, the process by which rural in-migrants coming from the outside become participating citizens of the city. To promote the urban transition, the cities are providing housing, services and education to the arriving poor, intended to establish a platform for rural-born households to become fully integrated, productive urban citizens. There is an implicit anti-poverty model in this planning effort: it is assumed that if new and poor households are able to be provided with housing and services, they will then be able to accumulate an asset base for themselves that will make city life sustainable. It is also assumed that they will be able to provide their children with the education the second generation will need to raise their level of participation in the city economy to a higher level, as the entrant household climbs the urban economic ladder. The cost to Gauteng of providing the initial housing and services benefits is very high, and outcomes are uncertain. Risks are involved. The major metropolitan cities are the national engines of development: delivering these benefits to the arriving poor takes resources away from the cities' commerce and industry, which are competing strenuously with other primate cities in the global context and need all the investment capital they can find if South Africa is not to fall behind. Likewise, to work properly, this infrastructural delivery approach to the urban transition requires access to jobs, so that the newly arrived households can accumulate assets and ensure education. In the present state of the South African economy, there is not a guarantee of jobs for the in-migrating rural poor, and therefore the outcome of the national infrastructural delivery project in the cities remains precarious. The country-wide services and housing protests of 2005 underline the tense relation between the cities and the in-migrants around the issues of delivery. As the cities respond, Johannesburg itself is working to promote assimilation and integration of rural in-migrants by providing a package of price discounts on urban infrastructural services, a positive move which will also act to lower barriers to urban migration by the rural poor. Accordingly, a great deal is at stake for Gauteng in the policy issues around poverty. Success means cities of justice, and a beacon for the global South. Failure means cities of poverty, dominated by permanent impoverished shack settlements. In this light, how should we understand migration and urban poverty? The approach taken by the study rests on first, identifying poverty pockets within Gauteng, using Census data which has been statistically manipulated to bring it down to a level appropriate to communities which are often very small, and displaying the results through the GIS mapping work (see Maps 1, 2 and 3, below). Once identified, poverty pockets are examined in the light of the 12-factor index developed by Strategy and Tactics, to the extent that these indicators can be analyzed at the appropriate small-community level. The results in terms of how poverty manifests itself in the areas identified are placed in context through the supporting work on migration intentions on the part of potential migrants in other provinces, and through the qualitative interviews and focus groups conducted with stakeholders at city and province levels, and in the communities on the ground.