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This paper revisits the city of Pietersburg more than ten years after the repealing of the Group Areas Act in order to determine the extent to which the socio-spatial impress of apartheid segregation has been changed. The socio-spatial changes that have taken place in the city were brought about mainly through residential desegregation. The scrapping of the Group Areas Act in 1991 saw the movement of blacks into the city's former white, Indian and coloured suburbs. Initially the percentage in this regard was low: in 1992 the city's suburbs were one per cent desegregated. Ten years later, the city's desegregation level had increased to 32 per cent. In all neigbourhoods except three, the number of black property-owners had doubled. New Pietersburg remained undeveloped until informal squatters invaded it in the 1990s after the fall of apartheid. This area was earmarked for the development of low-income housing units in the 1997 Land Development Objectives. More than 300 land claims were lodged at the time. Because of the complexity of land claims and urban restructuring, the problem was still unresolved by 2005.

Keywords: Polokwane; desegregation; land claims; post-apartheid; property trends; resegregation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa., Email: 2: Department of Geography and Environmental management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa., Email:

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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