Gated-Communities in South Africa’s Urban Areas 20 Years into Democracy: Old Wine in Newly Designed Bottles?

Tlou Ramoroka


This paper theoretically argues that urban settlement planning vested in gated-communities for “security reasons” in a democratic South Africa’s towns and cities, still perpetuates the past spatial legacies of apartheid urban settlement planning model. Of late, the gated-community settlement planning model has been adopted in most urban areas in South Africa. These gated-community urban settlements offer security as a private market commodity instead of a public good or right. In this way, the neoliberal urban security governance appears to provide justification for the renewed urban displacement, fragmentation, distortion, incoherence, inequality and inefficiency during South Africa’s 20 years of democratic dispensation. Seemingly, this settlement planning to some extent, indirectly maintain the past spatial fragmentations and inequalities promoted by the apartheid government. The footprints are interspersed with gated-communities such as security villages and enclosed neighbourhoods, all sailing freely under the same old flag of "security", now formalized into official urban residential planning. The paper concludes that the gated-community settlement planning model perpetuates spatial, social and economic exclusions of the poorest sections of the urban population especially those who are residing in townships and the congested urban centres. Thus, this accepted urban settlement planning model which is considered as “new” is basically an old strategy which uses class instead of race as a decisive factor to separate people.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n15p106

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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