Gauteng now has more than half a million households
Mpho Raborife, News24
Johannesburg - The increase in the number of households in Gauteng over the past five years to more than half a million is making service delivery considerably difficult, Finance MEC Barbara Creecy said on Monday.
"In this province we have the challenge of constant in-migration. We also have a problem where our province has a very urbanised population," Creecy said.
"But the constant in-migration places a lot of pressure in the provision of services."
Creecy was addressing reporters ahead of her 2016/2017 budget presentation at the Gauteng Legislature in Johannesburg.
She said between 2010 and 2015, Gauteng's population grew by 2.8 percent or an increase of 1.8 million residents.
"Over this period, the number of households increased by 16 percent of half a million households," she said.
This was considerably high, she suggested. Gauteng's citizens already faced an "intensifying attack" on their living standards as the cost of food, transport and electricity were rising and hitting the poorest households hardest.
Despite the fact that Gauteng's city regions had created over 340,000 formal and informal jobs, Creecy said two million unemployed residents still faced a daily struggle against poverty and hardship.
Around 70% of Gauteng's population was under the age of 40. This youth also had more post-school qualifications that any other province in the country, Creecy said.
"Gauteng is a youthful province. There are benefits to having a young population concentrated in urban areas.
"However, the downside to high population growth is the challenge it poses for service provision in an environment of constrained fiscal space," she said.
Gauteng still had a distinct advantage over other provinces, she said.
It's three cities, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane, remained the engine of economic growth in the province. Combined, they accounted for more than 80% of the Regional Gross Domestic Product, she said.