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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

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
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
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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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