Richards Bay will overtake PMB in growth

2012-11-07 00:00

URBAN development is proceeding apace, with the biggest changes occurring in Richards Bay, which is expected to soon outstrip Pietermaritzburg in population growth.

According to KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, who officially received the provincial and municipal Census 2011 results at the Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday, the corridor between Durban and Pietermaritzburg would become the most populous area in the province in the next 20 years.

The official handover was done by statistician-general Pali Lehohla, who noted the migratory patterns among municipalities within the province.

Over a third of KZN’s 10,2 million people live in eTthekwini and a further 10% in Umgungundlovu. This means that 44% of the KZN population are concentrated in two municipal districts.

However, other municipalities in the province that are showing signs of growth include Umkhanyakude, Amajuba, Umzinyathi and Ilembe.

Lehohla said Umkhanyakude, to the extreme north of the province, was the surprise story of the census. Less than 40% of the area had electricity. It also had a very young population with the highest number of school attendees in the province, yet it was an area that had grown by over 15% since the last census in 2001.

Mkhize said Umkhanyakude was named after the attractive fever tree and had huge developmental potential.

He said the KZN government was developing a town there known as Ndumo. Mkhize remarked that no one was speaking of Ndumo because no president lived there. He said the project was part of the provincial government’s small town development programme to stem the tide of rapid urbanisation.

Plans for the area include the development of a school of excellence in maths and science and a system of caring homes for the huge number of orphans who live in the area. Mkhize said this was all part of the presidential facilitation of the Lubombo Spatial Development plan that includes the link with Mozambique and Swaziland.

Twenty-five towns across the province are currently marked for development and these include Msinga, Jozini, Charles- town, Harding, Richmond, Weenen, Winterton, Dannhauser, Utrecht, Umzimkulu, Ixopo and Kokstad.

According to Mkhize, the migration to Gauteng and to other bigger cities was a major part of the dynamic that the provincial government had to manage as part of its planning process.

“If you look at the growth in Gauteng, that growth will be exacerbated if we do not plan to diversify and create regional economic hubs,” said Mkhize.

In 20 years’ time, the picture would be different, the premier added.

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said with the release of the census, his municipality was setting up a city planning commission to address the council’s long-term planning in the face of rapid urbanisation of the metro.

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