Cape Town - Cape Town is the only city in South Africa where the proportion of people living in informal areas has increased over the past five years, according to the latest State of South African Cities Report (SoCR), released on Wednesday.
The previous report was released five years ago.
The increase is said to be due to the significant population growth in the city between 2001 and 2011.
While the city had made progress in reducing poverty and improving livelihoods, inequality remained a challenge.
According to the 2016 SoCR released in Pretoria on Wednesday, while South African cities had been able to drive growth and development under difficult circumstances over the past five years, there had been mixed performance in achieving inclusivity and sustainable growth and development.
The country’s institutions and systems need to be reconfigured to support the cities, said the SA Cities Network (SACN). Cape Town is the only metro which does not belong to the network.
Released every five years since 2006, the SoCR monitors city development and service delivery against local benchmarks and strategies, national urban development priorities and international development targets. The 2016 report noted that with mounting job losses and the economic downturn affecting both the rich and the poor, attention was increasingly focused on the role that cities play in stimulating and supporting economic development.
And, cities had been living up to the expectation - generating almost two-thirds of the country’s economic activity and just over half of national employment. Cities had also significantly improved their service delivery and generally had good strategies in place to facilitate economic growth and social development.
But exclusivity remained a challenge, with many city dwellers struggling to access opportunities. The SACN said violence and the vulnerability of groups such as the youth and foreign migrants could be associated with the inability of large segments of the population to derive any benefit from “urban promise”.