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SA’s population could rise to as much as 68-million people by 2030

October 21, 2013

SOUTH Africa’s population could rise to as much as 68-million people by 2030, well beyond the 58-million forecast in the National Development Plan (NDP), which could place a bigger burden on public services and infrastructure than originally expected.

This is according to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), which said on Wednesday in the second of a series of analyses on the plan that it may be underestimating population growth and migration projections for the next 17 years.

While the NDP forecasts that 70% of the population will be living in urban areas by 2030, the ISS warned that the government could be under greater pressure to provide jobs and supply services to growing city populations.

According to the ISS, the blueprint plan’s projections of population growth, to which it says immigration will only contribute 0.2% annually by 2030, could be unrealistically low.

ISS executive director Jakkie Cilliers said the ISS research had the benefit of 2011 census data.

Co-author of the analysis, and associate director at the Centre for International Futures Jonathan Moyer said population growth could prove problematic if it was not coupled with growth in average income. “Gauteng has 12.3-million people according to census 2011. The NDP puts a 14-million extension to Gauteng, but we are estimating it could be as much as 17-million.

“The amount of infrastructure required could be a potential drag on the economy and social stability,” Mr Moyer said.

Investment Solutions economist Chris Hart said regardless of the population projections, South Africa needed to focus on attracting investment and picking up the economy’s savings rate.

“If anything, a large population is an advantage. But is this an economy that investors will be attracted to — both foreign and onshore? We have to boost our savings rate and investment. Everything else is a magic wand and follows from that.”

Mr Cilliers said core economic growth targets below the 5.4% outlined in the NDP would be sufficient to expand access to power, water and sanitation, but that inequality and poverty had to be addressed.

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