Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32451
Socio-Economic Characteristics of Tribal Areas in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Authors: Carilette Fourie, Chris Cloete


The occurrence of traditional authorities and tribal land within South Africa results in unique developmental trends and challenges. Tribal communities, typically located in rural environments, are perceived to be severely affected by poverty and poor living conditions relative to their urban counterparts. The exact extent of the socio-economic disparity between tribal and non-tribal communities is addressed in this paper. After adjustment of available census data to correspond with the delineation of tribal and non-tribal land in the Kwazulu-Natal province, seven selected socio-economic indicators were compared. The investigation revealed that although tribal areas are characterised by low employment rates and educational levels, a young population, fairly large household sizes, lower access to basic services and lower income households that are highly dependent on social grants, tribal area populations do have moderate levels of education, access to formal housing and relatively good access to services.

Keywords: KwaZulu-Natal, tribal areas, traditional authority, socio-economic, well-being.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 261


[1] Changuion, L and Steenkamp, B. 2012. Disputed Land: The Historical Development of the South African Land Issue, 1652 to 2011. Protea Book House, Pretoria, South Africa.
[2] Claassens, A. and Cousins, B. 2008. Land, Power and Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act. UCT Press. An Imprint of Just & Company Ltd. Cape Town, South Africa.
[3] Claassens, A. 2014. Rural Women’s Action Research Programme. Centre for Law and Society, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
[4] Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004. Available at (Accessed 12 June 2018).
[5] Department Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). 2012. Traditional Areas. (Data File) Link not available anymore – removed from website. (Accessed October 2012).
[6] Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Government 2022. Socio-Economic Review and Outlook 2021/2022. Provincial treasury, Pietermaritzburg. ISBN No. 978-1-920041-61-8. (Accessed 6 July 2022).
[7] Municipal Demarcation Board. 2016. Local Municipal Boundaries. (Data File) Available at (Accessed February 2018).
[8] OECD 2012. Measuring Well-being and Progress. (Online) Available at (Accessed 3 May 2018).
[9] Easydata by Quantec. 2014. Census 2001. (Data File) Available at (Accessed 3 May 2018).
[10] Easydata by Quantec. 2016. Census 2011. (Data File) Available at (Accessed 3 May 2018).
[11] Easydata by Quantec. 2016. Community Survey 2016. (Data File) Available at (Accessed 3 May 2018).
[12] Bennett, L., Smith, J.L. and Wright, P.A., 2015. Where are poor people to live?: Transforming public housing communities. Routledge.
[13] Clark, M and Luwaya, N. 2017. Communal Land Tenure 1994 to 2017: Commissioned Report for High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, an Initiative of the Parliament of South Africa. (Online) Land and Accountability Research Centre, Pretoria. Available at (Accessed 12 June 2018).
[14] Sinyolo, S. 2016. The Impact of social Grants on Rural Households’ Incentives to Farm, market Participation and Farm Entrepreneurship: Evidence form Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. PhD Thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Available at (Accessed 11 May 2018).