- A new draft plan for South Africa's development identifies 61 "regional development anchor" towns that should get priority support.
- They can expect money for housing, better roads, priority connections to the internet, and rules that mean a potential influx of new residents.
- Here is the list of towns that will get extra support under the draft National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF).
- For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa front page.
A group of 61 South African towns could receive priority support – and state money – under a new draft spatial development plan for South Africa.
The draft National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF), published for public comment this week, seeks to establish a network of "regional development anchors", towns in productive rural areas that "fulfil a regional function" and where growth should be encouraged.
Six years in the making, the NSDF is due to serve as an apex spatial plan for SA, influencing a range of policies and legislation in pursuit of a better, fairer, and more prosperous country.
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Among the rural development nodes named are large regional towns that already play a significant economic role as well as "emerging" towns in places where access to larger cities and towns is limited.
Also on the list are "cities of the future" along the east coast of South Africa and other areas where an influx of people is expected as climate change makes the west and north-west regions of the country even more inhospitable.
If the draft plan is adopted – and put into action – the anchor towns are due to receive a wide range of still only broadly-defined benefits.
The NSDF holds that such towns should receive grant support for building and upgrading housing, and should be prioritised when it comes to rail and road connections.
Coastal anchors are due to benefit from the development of small harbours to support fishing and tourism, and all the towns would have priority in projects to roll out fast internet connections, with other rural areas connected "incrementally over time".
The towns can also expect an increase in new residents through regulatory pressure. When new mines are established, the NSFD says, mine owners should be made to house workers in regional development anchors rather than on mine sites.
Similarly, where large-scale construction projects are tackled ("e.g. the building of a solar plant"), temporary settlement close to the construction site should be "discouraged".
The towns that are due to receive special government support as regional development anchor towns are:
The plan is open for public comment until 20 March.
(The towns considered regional anchors are listed in an annexure to the main draft plan, and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development did not publish the annexures this week, nor did it immediately respond to a request to make them available. However, the annexures were previously published by the South African Council for Planners, and the list is believed to have remained unchanged since.)
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