The impact of peri-urban densification on basic social service delivery in eNtshongweni area in eThekwini Municipality.
Nkwanyana, Peter Nhlanhlayakhe.
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Since the fall of apartheid peri-urban areas have been rapidly densifying due to a number of factors, including the revocation of laws that restricted the movement and settlement of black people in urban areas, limited space in the core areas and high land prices in urban areas. These factors have resulted in poor people moving into peri-urban spaces in order to access opportunities in urban core areas. Peri-urban areas in most municipalities tend to be poorly provided with basic social services as they place emphasis on areas that are within their development plans. The rapid growth of peri-urban areas without any defined pattern makes it difficult for local governments and municipalities to provide services. The lack of institutional integration and general planning by municipal officials and other stakeholders has resulted in peri-urban areas being unliveable. The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of peri-urban densification on basic social service delivery in eNtshongweni area, eThekwini municipality. The study was guided by the following objectives, to determine the nature of densification in eNtshongweni and how services are provided in peri-urban areas. Furthermore to determine the nature of services available in eNtshongweni area, outline and discuss planning implications of peri-urban development along with the role of the urban development line as a planning tool and the social impacts of densification. The main research question to be addressed by the study was to find out the impact of rapid peri-urban growth on service delivery on local municipalities. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were adopted for this study. Urbanization theory and the bid rent curve theory were the theoretical bases for this study. Urbanization has contributed to rural and peri-urban spaces adopting the urban form and has led to expectations that urban services will be extended to nearby peri-urban areas. Uncontrollable population growth in urban areas has also resulted in the saturation of core areas, increasing demand for land for development outside the urban areas. The bid rent theory argues that as one moves away from the urban core, land prices start to drop until one reaches another urban or suburban area. This is one explanation for poor people occupying land in peri-urban areas. The main findings indicate that rapid peri-urban densification has impacted service delivery in eNtshongweni. For example, the municipality has found it difficult to meet the service demands of residents due to rapid growth, the socio-economic status of the community and the fact that the area falls outside the urban development line. However densification has also created some opportunities for service delivery as increased demand has created the threshold required for the provision of social and structural services. The provision of basic structural and social services in eNtshongweni has proved slow and challenging. The main reason is that the low economic status of people living in the area has made it difficult for community members to contribute to the provision and maintenance of the services provided by eThekwini municipality. Another factor is inadequacies in the strategic planning policies adopted by the municipality in catering for peri-urban areas. For example, areas falling outside the adopted urban development line such as eNtshongweni are not provided with the same level of services as urban areas. The rationale is that it is not cost effective to provide the same level of services throughout the municipality. This has led to slow and poor service provision in peri-urban areas such as eNtshongweni. It has been argued that the urban development line should be extended to include areas like eNtshongweni to ensure more consistent service delivery. It is also recommended that the municipality services peri-urban areas such as eNtshongweni according to the specific needs and demands of the community and aligns these with the economic status of the community to ensure sustainability and effectiveness.