‘Development from Below’? Basic Needs, Rural Service Centers, and the South African Bantustans, with Particular Reference to the Transkei

The South African government has recently placed increasing emphasis on the ‘development’ of the African ‘homelands’ or bantustans, for a range of economic and political reasons. It has advocated both industrial decentralisation and a ‘basic needs’ investment strategy, with particular stress placed on settlement creation (rural service centres) as the primary vehicle. This paper locates the basic needs policy in the context of ‘constrained urbanisation’ and the emerging crisis in the bantustans and evaluates the probable efficacy of such an approach in these territories. Transkei serves as case study. It argues that the approach is unlikely to result in significant economic development or basic needs improvement and the strategy in its present form is primarily directed toward containing ‘surplus’ rural population in a politically manageable way. Ref.

Title: ‘Development from Below’? Basic Needs, Rural Service Centers, and the South African Bantustans, with Particular Reference to the Transkei
Authors: Dewar, David
Todes, Alison
Watson, Vanessa
Year: 1983
Periodical: African Urban Studies
Issue: 15
Period: Winter
Pages: 59-75
Language: English
Geographic terms: South Africa
Transkei
Abstract: The South African government has recently placed increasing emphasis on the ‘development’ of the African ‘homelands’ or bantustans, for a range of economic and political reasons. It has advocated both industrial decentralisation and a ‘basic needs’ investment strategy, with particular stress placed on settlement creation (rural service centres) as the primary vehicle. This paper locates the basic needs policy in the context of ‘constrained urbanisation’ and the emerging crisis in the bantustans and evaluates the probable efficacy of such an approach in these territories. Transkei serves as case study. It argues that the approach is unlikely to result in significant economic development or basic needs improvement and the strategy in its present form is primarily directed toward containing ‘surplus’ rural population in a politically manageable way. Ref.