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Govt must provide more infrastructure, housing for its growing population

Posted by Provided by Independent Media on October 10, 2023

The South African government is going to have to “start taking its job very seriously” when it comes to providing sufficient infrastructure and housing to accommodate the country’s growing population.

This includes ensuring that regions where people are migrating in greater numbers have the required infrastructure and amenities.

The 2022 census results released on Tuesday reveal that there are now more than 62 million people living in South Africa, an increase of 10,4 million since the 2011 census; the country now also has 17 million homes, up from 14 million in 2011 and nine million in 1996.

Infrastructure development in South Africa is therefore not only a vital component for economic growth, but a necessity to accommodate the country’s growing population, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group. However, while the growth in housing is encouraging, much of this has come from the private sector – a fact that “will likely continue to be the case”.

Also of concern is the “state of the deteriorating and collapsing infrastructure and general mismanagement”, particularly when one considers the growing demand that comes with a higher population.

“Population growth obviously has a notable impact not only on the demand for housing, but also the need for infrastructure development, which is also vital for economic growth…

“Economic growth remains a critical inflection point for South Africa to move forward in terms of job creation so that more people can move into more formal housing, but also so that there can be more funds to develop more infrastructure.”

The census findings also show that Gauteng, KZN, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape, and Mpumalanga lead in net migration. More than 1,3 million people migrated to Gauteng from Limpopo, while another 1,1 million came from abroad.

The Eastern Cape saw 1,1 million of its residents move to the Western Cape and just under 500,000 to Gauteng. The report states that 50.2 percent of all migrants resided in Gauteng, followed by about 16 percent in the Western Cape.

“South Africa is certainly at a point where government will need to start taking its job very seriously. The same applies to local governments.”

Although many areas are, for example, seeing higher net inward migration compared to the Cape – such as Gauteng, Seeff says they are not seeing a concomitant rise in property values or the prices that buyers are prepared to pay.

“The price differential becomes even more pronounced in the upper price bands where we see that wealthy buyers may only pay up to around R18m on average in the top end in Joburg/Sandton compared to R38m on average in Cape Town.”

He adds: “Nonetheless, we would even say that for the Western Cape, maintaining the infrastructure and neighbourhoods remains vital to ensuring that real estate, which is a major economic contributor, continues to be in demand and that we do not start seeing a similar deterioration.”

IOL Business

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