Atkinson, D (2009), A multi-causal analysis of local economic development: The example of Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, Unpublished report, Rhodes University.
Small towns have not featured much on South Africa’s political landscape since 1994. The focus has been primarily on the areas with economic advantage, as defined by the Government’s National Spatial Development Perspective (NSDP), and areas with extremely high levels of poverty, such as the homelands. Between these poles of economic advantage and economic disadvantage, the issue of small and medium-sized towns has largely disappeared from planners’ radar screens.
But there is evidence that many small towns are quietly booming. Some of these towns have a mining or tourism base, whereas others are growing into balanced economies. Furthermore, towns are attracting many new residents, including desperately poor ex-farm workers, but many are also attracting middle-class and middle-aged investors from the cities.