Pretoria: The Gauteng Provincial Government has welcomed the release of the Census 2011 results by Statistics South Africa as a helpful set of data that will assist in effectively planning for the needs of its citizens.
Census 2011 confirmed that the province is home to more than 12.2 million people, a figure that has risen by 33.7 percent from a total of seven million in the Census 1996.
This makes it the country’s most populous province, which accounts for 23.7 percent of the total population, despite occupying about 1.4 percent of South Africa’s land area, the smallest in size.
Gauteng’s large population is a result of natural growth as well as significant in-migration from other provinces and around the world.
This is evidenced by the fact that only 56 percent of its population was actually born in the province, whereas the figure for KZN is 92 percent and 72 percent for the Western Cape.
The Census also found that Gauteng reported the highest percentage of non-citizens at 7.1%, making it one of the most cosmopolitan and culturally-inclusive regions in Africa.
In addition, the Census 2011 shows that the number of households has grown from 2.7 million in 1996 to 3.9 million, a significant growth of 42.9 percent.
Nationally, the number of households grew from 11.2 million in 2011, to just over 14.4 million in the previous year, a 29 percent increase.
In acknowledging the results, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the rapid increase in the population in Gauteng had placed significant demand on public services especially health, safety and education.
“We believe that the national government should take cognisance of the Census results to determine the allocation of financial resources in accordance with those facts. We acknowledge that financial resources must be spent effectively and responsibly,” she said.
The Census results underscore, alongside a sustainable rural development strategy, the need for a coherent national approach to rapid urbanisation.
In this regard, Gauteng, including its metros and districts, will be working with the National Planning Commission in developing a national Urban Development Strategy.
This, according to the province, would ensure that the province remained the country’s key economic node, was environmentally-sustainable and ensured that the socio-economic needs of its people are effectively addressed.
“Whilst we take note that South Africa has made significant strides in improving the quality of life of our people since the advent of democracy in 1994, we are well-aware of Gauteng’s role as an economic hub of continental and sub-Saharan Africa – perhaps a factor that impacts directly on her swelling population statistics.
“Despite the above factors, we are content that we are moving in the right direction as the Census, and our recent Quality of Life Survey confirm that more people have access to basic education, water and electricity. Furthermore, an increasing number of people are moving out of informal housing into formal housing,” said the premier.