Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Contested terrains: Cities and hinterlands in post-apartheid boundary delimitations

Abstract : In South Africa attempts are being made to address the socio-spatial distortions of the apartheid era through a more equitable distribution of resources, and the re-drawing of municipal geographical boundaries. However, boundaries are not neutral geographic lines. Boundary changes are often associated with a redistribution of political power and resources. The aim of this paper is to analyse the effects of the contemporary territorial and administrative restructuring on urban dynamics in South Africa. More specifically, the focus is on how the process of territorial restructuring impacted on metropolitan areas as well as on secondary cities and their hinterlands. Examining and elucidating the manner in which various social, economic and political forces have manifested themselves in the process of boundary delimitation in a major metropolitan centre as well as adjacent rural areas is a central theme of this paper. There were considerable contestations over the delimitation of new local government boundaries. Affluent metro authorities like that in Durban were opposed to the spatial extension of their boundaries because of the costs of the providing services and infrastructure in the deprived margins. Similarly, there was concern that incorporation of rural areas will result in increased municipal service charges being imposed on these communities. Tensions were heightened between urban and rural regions because traditional leaders believed that their territorial jurisdiction and authority were being undermined. In other parts of the country, the merger of traditionally white and black fragments of secondary cities often resulted in many black locations continuing to be marginalized. There appears to be neither the political will nor the economic capacity to upgrade these zones of marginalized urban communities. While the Municipal Demarcation Board was largely successful in eliminating the political geography of apartheid at a macro- scale, this paper suggests that the greater challenge for government and policy makers is to reduce the socio-spatial and economic inequalities which appears to be still very high and perhaps increasing.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Frédéric Giraut Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, September 1, 2006 - 1:52:08 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 1:52:05 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-00090669, version 1




Frédéric Giraut, Brij Maharaj. Contested terrains: Cities and hinterlands in post-apartheid boundary delimitations. GeoJournal, Springer Verlag, 2002, 57 (1-2), pp.39-51. ⟨hal-00090669⟩



Record views