Key Points:

  • There are almost 500 small towns of fewer than 50 000 persons in South Africa. They accommodate about one tenth of the country’s population, and yet little is known or said about the future of these places in national debates. •This issue of CDE Research focuses on the development conditions and possibilities of South Africa’s small towns. The report contains a number of analytical and policy implications:
  • Small towns are defined by the government as neither urban nor rural and are therefore generally ignored;
  • The almost invisible ‘small town network’ throughout the country is a potential resource in meeting the country’s growth and development challenges. Hitherto small towns have tended to be seen as objects for control and administration rather than vehicles for development;
  • Located in the heartland of the areas of greatest need in the country, small towns can promote and assist rural development; In many respects the small towns on the former ‘white’ platteland are still mini-citadels of apartheid;

Op-ed: Cinderella with potential: Small towns could play big role

Download PDF
Photo credit: WikiMedia