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Social sciences


Grade 9

Sustainable utilisation of resources

Module 7

Environmental deficits in south africa

1. Physical Geography

The South African ecosystem is characterised by low rainfall, water shortages and soil that is vulnerable to erosion. About 65% of the country has less than 500 mm of rain per year, the minimum required for rain-dependent crop-farming.

About 65% of the arable land in South Africa contains very little organic material (humus) and becomes impoverished quickly as a result of repeated usage.

The low rainfall and poor soil results in only 16% of the arable land being suitable for crop-farming. The rest of the land is used for grazing. Only about 16% of South Africa’s arable soil was situated in the ‘homelands’ of the past. This imbalance, combined with the low rainfall, led to extensive environmental deficits in the ‘homelands’.

2. Structural deficits during Apartheid

The apartheid system formalised the unequal social distribution of environmental resources in South Africa. It led to serious structural deficits within the black communities. They not only had inadequate access to land; their monthly income from farming did not make it possible for them to invest in their land. This shortage of land was made worse by the fact that the quality of the soil was poor and needed extensive cultivation.

Table 1: Comparison of population densities in rural South Africa, 1991

Population density (Hectare/person)…………………………………………………..
South Africa White areas Former homelands Natal KwaZulu
Cultivated land and grazing 4,70 16,22 0,92 5,36 0,68
Cultivated land 0,75 2,54 0,16 1,10 0,08

Table 2: Comparison of yield in crop farming, Natal and Kwazulu – 1983-1984

Crops………………………………………………….. Crops………………………………………………….. Yield (tonne/hectare)
Natal KwaZulu
Maize 2,088 0,826
Dry beans 1,011 0,337
Potatoes 24,015 5,006
Sugar cane………………………………………………. 53,814 28,795

In the homelands the land was unequally divided and 20% of the farmers were in control of 80% of the production. Even in the Transkei (which is now a large proportion of the Eastern Cape Province) the shortage of land was a serious problem.

In urban areas, the black areas were situated in environments that were unusable for whites. They were overpopulated with too few houses and situated in areas downwind from industrial areas. The services and infrastructure were bad. The houses were built from waste material and were not proof against the elements especially water.

The structural deficit worsened the availability and the demand-driven deficits.

3. Demand-driven deficits

Of the estimated South African population of 42,6 million in 1995, 28 million lived in towns and cities while 15 million lived in urban areas. It was estimated that the black population of 32 million would have grown to 37 million and the white population would still be around 5 million by the year 2000.

This growth in the black population made the shortage of land even worse. During the apartheid era the population density in the homelands was 10 times higher than that in the white areas. The conditions in the homelands resulted from forced migration: it caused the population to grow from 4,5 million in 1960 to 11 million in 1980. The size of the homelands remained the same.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 9. OpenStax CNX. Sep 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11057/1.1
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