Secondary Cities in South Africa: The Start of a Conversation

Secondary cities play a distinct and fairly specialised role in national life, often acting as catalysts for development in their regions, alleviating demographic pressure from a country’s metropolitan areas and, arguably, offering a better quality of life than densely populated urban conurbations. In the South African context, these places and their role need to be understood from various perspectives, not least that of our national endeavour to give practical expression to the notion of ‘differentiation’ in matters relating to local government.


The principal aim of this publication is to act as a catalyst for debate and, hopefully, to stimulate further research into this relatively neglected subject in the urban agenda. Given its intent, we encourage policymakers, researchers and practitioners to view this report as a working or discussion paper and to engage vigorously with its contents.