The impact of immigration on the planning of mining cities in the North West Province
Dzingai, Majory Cecilia Ndakaziva
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There has been an increase in immigration trends all over the developing world and the SADC region has not been left out, with South Africa hosting more immigrants than its SADC counterparts. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact that immigration has on strategic planning carried out at local government level, in this case using the mining towns of Rustenburg and Klerksdorp as the case studies. In addition, the study investigates potential planning policy dilemmas related to immigration. Using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, the study aimed to investigate the potential dilemmas brought about by immigration in the receiving cities. The study was split into two major sections, that is the literature review and the empirical sections. The empirical study included reviewing the history of international migration in the SADC and in South Africa, the policy environment was explored in order to assess if migration movements were incorporated into any planning policy and how in turn the migration flows to South Africa were influenced by the policy environment in the greater SADC and also in the South African context. The research sought to answer the question of whether immigration has been an obstacle or benefit to the two cities and especially to their planning. Thus, information from the respective municipalities was gathered to reach sound conclusions on the real impact immigration has on the physical as well as policy-related town planning. The key informants were purposively selected from the municipality officials, targeting experts (expert sampling) i.e. town planners and other experts in the various departments. Questionnaires were administered to the officials and to augment data collected from the questionnaires, other statistical data sources were used. These were obtained from the national Census and other surveys. The results from the study reveal that immigration to developing regions has a more negative impact on planning at the local government level. Such is the scenario in this study. Immigration has proved to be detrimental to both Rustenburg and Klerksdorp. Immigration brings challenges in a variety of areas that are crucial to sound town planning. These include local economic development, housing and settlement patterns, local labour markets, sustainability and lastly provision of amenities. The local municipalities are not readily equipped to deal with these, especially given the obscure numbers of immigrants in the cities. Furthermore, the study discovered that what worsens the struggle in trying to deal with the impact immigration brings is the policy environment in South Africa which is ambiguous. The study found, however, that immigration is an inevitable reality that should be incorporated into all planning policy, especially at the local government level.