South Africa township immigration

The remnants of geographical spatial apartheid in South Africa’s modern-day context


The historical occurrences of a state are the most crucial determining factors of its progression. Post-1994, South Africa remains one of the unequal states economically and socially. Unfortunately, this had dire effects to a larger extent on persons who had been deemed as inferior to their white counterparts historically. The issue of the effects of geographical spatial apartheid in South Africa and the remnants of this system have been trivialised.

What is Geographical Spatial Apartheid?

A signature part of South Africa’s geographical space is that of townships, which were created to house a workforce for the owners of capital for South Africa. These were areas which had been established a far distance from the CBD, where the main economic and recreational activities of South Africa take place. The Group Areas Act of 1950 aimed to keep the different races of South Africa separated. The doctrine of separate development has a lingering legacy over the environmental scale of South Africa. Economic development in this instance is a slow process for the recipients of this system which is reflected in the contemporary issues of the state.

Post-Apartheid Asbestos Housing

A matter which pertains to such an issue is that of the inadequate housing which had been built with asbestos sheet roofing. These expose residents to fatal illnesses such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and internal damage to the body cells, says the Department of Employment and Labour of South Africa, the removal of asbestos roofing under the incentive of the ‘Asbestos Abatement Regulations. However, such crucial health risk information and risk factors are not well articulated to the residents of those in asbestos roofing housing which was prominent during the apartheid era.

What is the correct mode of justice?

The subjugation of majority groups in South Africa, even within geopolitics, is a hardly contested topic subsided by land debates. Asbestos was banned in South Africa in 2008; however, cases of asbestos roofing in the province of Free State and Gauteng have been raised over different media platforms in South Africa. The state is faced with extreme cases of healthcare risks that ordinary South Africans. According to Section 27 of the Constitution of South Africa, healthcare is a basic right. However,, the lack of recognition that creating an environment that sustains people’s health is a stepping stone to healthcare. This transcends to issues such as geographical spatial apartheid and the adverse remnants of Human Rights atrocities committed by the state and private entities.


Historical inequality is prone to breeding injustice for those who are on the receiving. The remnants of the imposition of geographical spatial apartheid remain as a big question. Access to resources and land is of pivotal importance in the development of humans. In a society which has been racialized, geographical justice is a key factor to achieving justice for historically disadvantaged persons. This is a mandate which remains in question.


Lebogang Letwaba


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