More than a third (36%) of people living outside Gauteng who participated in a household survey in 2001 indicated that they intended to move to Gauteng within five yearsFootnote 1. Converted into numbers, this proportion translates into 7.2 million potential migrants from other provinces. Although not all these potential migrants might actually migrate to Gauteng, the impact of such a large number of possible in-migrants might have a staggering effect on provincial planning.
This will inevitably put a strain on infrastructure, housing and service delivery in spite of the fact that Gauteng is economically better equipped to deal with a large influx of migrants than many of the other provinces. This will require proactive planning, creative thinking, and a political as well as bureaucratic commitment to appropriately accommodate the new arrivals in the province.
As part of the research undertaken for the Gauteng Government we undertook an analysis of the factors affecting people’s intentions to migrate to Gauteng among respondents living in other provinces of South Africa.
From a poverty perspective it may be important to note that those respondents in the survey who planned to move to Gauteng during the five years following the survey were not significantlyFootnote 2 different from the Gauteng residents in the sample. This generalisation held true as far as (i) education, (ii) employment rate and (iii) current personal income were concerned.
Should these people, who indicated that they want to move Gauteng, actually do so, they are not likely to have a significant impact on general poverty levels in the province. In fact, these potential in-migrants are significantly younger than the resident population and may thus contribute to a lowering of the dependency on social grants. But being predominantly young adults, they are likely to have children and this may increase the burden on some of the education and health-care facilities and services in the province.
Not only are the individuals who are likely to migrate to Gauteng relatively young but they also tend to be relatively self-confident and assertive, and at the same time relatively well-informed. They are also likely to pursue a comparatively high-status occupation. These characteristics apply to migrants generally, but are likely to be stronger in people who want to move to Gauteng.
By contrast, those in other provinces who may well prefer not to migrate at all are often urban women with comparatively satisfactory incomes, are living in poorer areas, are more cautious, and would prefer to be in Gauteng if in fact they do move. Lastly, the prospective migrants who would specifically choose Gauteng as a destination can be described in aggregate as unemployed but well qualified for the job market, well educated, and black African.