Rural Settlements Update

This project was initiated by the Department of Land Affairs (DRDLR) in KwaZulu-Natal with the view to updating the 2008 rural settlement database on the size, location and nature of services available to these areas in the province.Following the terms of reference for this project, the central aims are as follows:

  • to update all rural settlements in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • to update the types and levels of service being provided to these settlements;
  • to update status of land ownership status in each settlement;
  • to compare outputs with the 2008 findings.

In order to successfully update the 2008 rural settlements data and their associated services profiles, in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, the following methodology was adopted for this project:

  • Secure updated ESKOM data sets on household counts;
  • Desktop assessment of data available to members of the team for this project;
  • Update re-definition of settlements on a population, location and density basis following the methodology developed in the 2008 Rural Settlement project;
  • Assigning attribute data to settlements including:
    • location;
    • local name of settlement or area in which it is located;
    • extend of land per settlement;
    • demographics per settlement;
    • distance to services (utility and social);
    • distance to service centres;
    • generic types of housing;
    • cadastre - property description;
    • ownership - title deed number including land owned by the Ingonyama Trust;
    • topography;
    • land claims on each property;
    • administrative boundaries;
    • land use.

Settlement Definition

(a)       Numbers of Homesteads (Families)

In terms of the project brief, numbers of homesteads (families) was applied as the first criteria to settlement delineation in the following areas of KwaZulu-Natal:

  • minimum of 10 homesteads located on land owned privately, by trusts, companies, missions and the State;
  • minimum of 10 homesteads located on land under the jurisdiction of the Ingonyama Trust and certain private land where Traditional Authorities/Councils have jurisdiction over land allocation on a communal tenure basis.

(b)       Housing Density

The second criteria involved identifying settlement density (i.e. number of homesteads per unit area).  The criteria applied here involves selection of settlements where homesteads are not more than 150 meters apart and in the case of (a) above where there are no fewer than 10 homesteads


High Level Summary

As part of the output it was identified that 71% of households in rural settlement in the province are located on land owned by the Ingonyama Trust.  A further 13% of households are located on State land with the remaining 14% being located on land owned by private individuals and organizations.

Based on the comparison of data the following trends would appear to have emerged over a period of 5 years (ie. 2001-2006)

Declining Trends:

  • A decline in the number of rural settlements in 7 of the 10 District Municipalities in the province;
  • A decline in the number of rural settlements in 4 (of the 7) of the District Municipalities accompanied by a decline in the number of households occupying these settlements;
  • In the remaining 3 Municipalities which experienced a decline in number of settlements there was an increase of households in these areas;

Growing Trends:

  • In the 3 District Municipalities which experienced an increase in settlement numbers there was a decline in households.

These trends do not appear to always follow arguments indicating that households are generally moving to places of greater economic opportunity.  In cases this may be the case, but not as a general rule.

A further observation from the spatial mapping perspective is that where settlements in the past were separate stand alone units they have tended to merge with one another (Figure below).  This has contributed to reduction on number of settlements, but does not account for the overriding reduction in number of households.

settlements infill
Indication of settlement infill

Thursday, January 10, 2013