International research suggests that small towns have been an overlooked and frequently misunderstood component of urban hierarchies (Hinderink and Titus, 2002). Within this context the role and function of small towns within national economies and their importance to the rural hinterlands they notionally serve has been hotly debated (Baker, 1990; Hinderink and Titus, 2002)). Interpretations about their future have evolved from the positive to the negative as economies have become more sophisticated and transport and communication advances have facilitated the centralization of functions and services in larger centres. Despite their limited and sometimes declining demographic and economic significance, as Satterthwaite and Tacoli (2003) point out, just over half of the world’s urban population and a quarter of its total population live in smaller urban centres. In a world now fixated on addressing the very real challenges faced by the big cities in many developing countries (World Bank, 2000; UNCHS, 2001), and South Africa is no exception to this trend, some of the most profound development challenges are being faced and fought in the innumerable smaller centres. These revolve around issues of rural decline, in-migration, economic collapse, the absence of sufficient services and housing and inadequate technical and financial resources which are usually vastly inferior to those available in the cities. Failure to, at least, partially address the problems of the small towns will aggravate poverty at that level and almost definitely increase migration to the already over-burdened cities.