Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea

Journalist


Internal migration a ‘rural’ issue

Internal migration between provinces highlights a much greater issue in South African rural areas compared with urban areas


Internal migration between provinces highlights a much greater issue in South African rural areas compared with urban areas, with statistician-general Risenga Maluleke saying Limpopo contributes the highest number of people who migrate from other provinces to Gauteng. Speaking during a round-table discussion with stakeholders at EduPark in Polokwane, Maluleke said the migration was concerning as it left Limpopo with a shortage of skills. Migration “The poor always follow the rich and, in every environment, nobody wants to stay in an underdeveloped area,” he said. “Largely, with the exception of Gauteng and Western Cape, all other provinces are what we call…

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Internal migration between provinces highlights a much greater issue in South African rural areas compared with urban areas, with statistician-general Risenga Maluleke saying Limpopo contributes the highest number of people who migrate from other provinces to Gauteng.

Speaking during a round-table discussion with stakeholders at EduPark in Polokwane, Maluleke said the migration was concerning as it left Limpopo with a shortage of skills.

Migration

“The poor always follow the rich and, in every environment, nobody wants to stay in an underdeveloped area,” he said.

“Largely, with the exception of Gauteng and Western Cape, all other provinces are what we call ‘rural provinces’, so all of us are moving from our rural provinces to townships, suburbs and everywhere.

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“So that’s what particularly drives young people – they move with skills because either they move when they are young and get trained there and never come back.”

Maluleke said the discussions aimed to pave the way for tertiary institutions, government departments and others to align their programmes to solve societal challenges.

Economic and educational opportunities

He added that migration was influenced by a need for better economic and educational opportunities. Social historian and political commentator Hillary Murray said the migration showed the lack of services in these provinces.

Stats

She said between 2016 and 2021, Gauteng received the largest number of in-migrants ( 986 527) followed by the Western Cape (292 325) and the North West (115 543).

The Eastern Cape (-319 345), Limpopo (-187 356) and KwaZulu-Natal (-83 081) experienced substantial net-out migration.

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“This makes our unemployment challenge complex and adds pressures to our service platform in Gauteng and the Western Cape neglecting places like the Eastern Cape and Limpopo,” she added.

“We have many schools in these areas that still have pit toilets and when you can remove your child from that situation, you’d do it within a blink of an eye.”

Internal development

Wits senior researcher in migration Dr Nedson Pophiwa said it was an unfortunate view that internal migration killed development in certain areas, adding “what we should ask is how we can make these areas gain from the migration people do.”

“I don’t think we have seen people who migrate permanently from Limpopo to Gauteng, or from KwaZulu-Natal, people still do what is quite circular – they work in Gauteng but develop homes taking care of children in those places,” added Pophiwa.

“So there is a circulation of money that speaks to the jobs we are referring to. A part of this is very historical.”

He said the focus should be on service hubs and growing the service industry, among others.

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