The problem identified in this study is that of a rapidly growing urbanisation process in the world in general and in Africa in particular.
The national states in South Africa will not escape this process. The
purpose of this study was to contribute to a better understanding of
this phenomenon as it is developing in one of the national states, namely Lebowa.
To achieve this, a thorough description of the extent of urbanisation,
internationally and within the study area, as well as of the underlying causes of urbanisation, was necessary. Urbanisation can only be
understood in its historical context. During the past century, Africa
has experienced a low level but an increasing rate of urbanisation.
A high urban population growth rate is projected for Lebowa in the next
four decades. This will place a tremendous pressure on the resources
of the country and on the planning capability of the Government.
The development of urban places in Lebowa focuses on the simultaneous
stimulation of many smaller places, distributing capital, manpower and
services among the eighteen proclaimed townships. Some of these towns
lack an economic basis and were, instead, created incidental to ideological motives. The provision of the social and physical infrastructure in Lebowa is at present largely founded on the guidelines for urban development, which has particular economic co sequences for urbanisation. This research makes two main contributions to the study of urbanisation in the national states in general and in Lebowa in particular. Firstly, a new classification regarding the definition of urbanisation in Lebowa is proposed which is a more realistic approach in an Africa context.
It mainly distinguishes between the urban and semi-urban population on the one hand and the rural population on the other hand, paying particular attention to the identification of the semi-urban population. This classification indicates that the process of urbanisation in Lebowa has already reached an advanced stage and that it can
be expected that this process will accelerate towards the end of the century.
Secondly, it is argued that the present policy of developing many smaller urban places should be replaced by a co-ordinated urbanisation strategy, concentrating on the development of a few selected larger towns. Such a policy would provide lebowa with a framework for the development of an urban structure which will be capable of absorbing
the projected urban explosion.
The implementation of a policy directed at the promotion of healthy urban development in Lebowa will need political commitment and adoption of a population programme to bring the existing high population growth rate into line with the economic capacity of the country.
Urbanisation should not only be promoted in lebowa but also in the whole
Northern Transvaal region. because of the interdependence of different
areas in the region. This will require the development of an urbanisation strategy which will have to be linked to a national urbanisation strategy for South Africa.