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Fri Dec 19 18:27:54 CAT 2014

SA could come short playing the numbers game

The Times Editorial | 31 October, 2012 00:22

The Times Editorial: The census results released yesterday by President Jacob Zuma were a mixed bag in terms of where South Africa is and what the future holds.

The good news is that more and more people are gaining access to government services.

And it is encouraging that more South Africans are going to school, and that women are surpassing their male counterparts in achieving business, commercial, financial, accounting and other qualifications.

What is even more encouraging is that the average household income has doubled over the past 10 years, from R48385 in 2001 to R103204 last year.

But there is a frightening side to these numbers that we should be concerned about.

More and more people are migrating to urban areas in search of employment.

Gauteng, South Africa's economic hub, has gained about 3.1million inhabitants, Western Cape about 1.3million.

This migration will, if not slowed, put a strain on the already over-stretched resources of the two provinces' cities.

The goose that lays the golden egg, Gauteng, is in a particularly difficult position as commercial and housing imperatives compete for the little land available.

The migration to these two provinces has dire consequences for the rest of the country.

For any province to be able to improve the quality of life of its people and expand its economy, it needs skilled people whose endeavours will boost its tax revenue.

Without the numbers, national government will always have to intervene and provide funding.

Zuma and his party, the ANC, must dig deep and make sure that the rural development programme is fast-tracked. It should not just be election talk at conferences.

South Africa is in danger of sliding into chaos if the majority continue to face unrelieved poverty.

We cannot afford to put a spin on the numbers.

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