Regional order in the enterprise structures of selected Eastern Cape Karoo towns


Toerien, DF and MT Seaman, MT (2012), Regional order in the enterprise structures of selected Eastern Cape Karoo towns, South African Geographical Journal, vol. 94, no. 2. (2012)



Proportionality phenomena have earlier been observed in the enterprise structures of South African towns. A question remained whether small towns also exhibit such hidden order. Twelve towns of the Eastern Cape Karoo served as a case study to examine this. Towns’ enterprises were identified, enumerated and classified into different business sectors. Statistical analyses were used to examine six hypotheses regarding the question. Older towns enjoyed first-comer advantages in enterprise development, and this did not stem from the original nature of these towns. Small towns were not necessarily laggards in all business sectors or vice versa. They had lower enterprise diversities than large towns, irrespective of whether diversity was based on enterprise types or functional groups. Enterprise diversities could be predicted accurately for large and small towns. Multivariate clustering of towns on the basis of enterprise structures indicated that large and small towns were not the separate homogenous groups believed earlier. Regional proportionalities, i.e. fairly constant ratios between business sector enterprise numbers and total enterprise numbers in the towns, were used to construct a ‘regional enterprise structure’. This allowed assessment of the strengths and/or weaknesses in enterprise development of individual towns and the Karoo region of the Eastern Cape.

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