Municipality: Emfuleni Local Municipality




Cnr Klasie Havenga & Frikkie Meyer Boulevard
1900 Vanderbijlpark , Gauteng
South Africa
Phone: 016-950-5000
Fax: 016-950-5030
Gauteng ZA


Emfuleni Local Municipality is one of three local municipalities that constitute the Sedibeng District Municipality. It is the Western-most Local Municipality of the District, which covers the entire southern area of the Gauteng province extending along a 120 kilometres axis from east to west. It covers an area of 987.45 km². The Vaal River forms the southern boundary of the Emfuleni Local Municipality and its strategic location affords it many opportunities for tourism and other forms of economic development.

Emfuleni shares boundaries with Metsimaholo Local Municipality in the Free State to the south, Midvaal Local Municipality to the east, the City of Johannesburg metropolitan area to the north and Westonaria and Potchefstroom (in North West Province) Local Municipalities to the west.

Emfuleni Local Municipality has two main city/town centres, namely Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark within the area and Sasolburg is only 10 kilometres to the south, across the provincial boundary. It forms the “heartland” of what was formerly known as the Vaal Triangle, renowned for its contribution to the iron and steel industry in South Africa. Emfuleni also contains approximately six large peri-urban townships of Evaton, Sebokeng, Sharpeville, Boipatong, Bophelong and Tshepiso. The latter six areas lack facilities associated with towns of their size. The other approximately ten small settlements tend to be suburban settlements within six kilometres of the above towns; they are Bonanne, Steel Park, Duncanville, Unitas Park, Arcon Park, Sonlandpark, Waldrift, Rust-ter-vaal, Roshnee and Debonairpark.

The population of Emfuleni was estimated at 658 422 (Stats SA, 2001). This comprises 187 044 households. Emfuleni is a largely urbanised municipality, with high population concentrations and density compared to other municipalities making up the District. In fact, the municipality houses around 80% of the population in Sedibeng district.


There are 463 642 economically active people within the municipality. Only 33% of these population are employed meanwhile 29% are unemployed. Table 6 below shows the statistical employment profile of the municipality.

The Emfuleni economy is located within the Sedibeng economy which again on its part is part of the Gauteng economy. Gauteng accounts for 33% of South Africa’s GDP and is the largest sub-national African economy. Gauteng economy has identified Sedibeng as one of its six regions, as the districtwhere tourism, agriculture and manufacturing will be concentrated on. Emfuleni Local Munici pality apart from being the economic hub of Sedibeng, it has the largest concentration of industries and therefore become the manufacturing centre. The Gauteng economy has set for itself a target of 8% economic growth till 2014, which is higher than the national target of 6% by 2010 for economic growth.


The Emfuleni Local Municipality consists of two major economic nodes namely Vereeniging registered a 2.6% GDP and Vanderbijlpark a GDP of 2.2% for 2004 and Sedibeng 2.5% for 2004. The total GDP for Emfuleni in 2003 has been higher than that of Gauteng and national.


The Emfuleni combined Gross Domestic Product per Region (Current Price R1000) for 2004 was estimated at R23,445,216 and therefore contributed about 4.6% to the Gauteng GDP-R in 2004 and contributed an estimated 93.8% to the Sedibeng economy based on GDP-R for the same year.

Income & Employment

The average household income for 2003 in Emfuleni was estimated at R3, 400 per household per month (2003). 

Using the standard equation as defined above, the unemployment rate (expanded definition) is calculated at 51% from the 2001 Census data (Municipal Demarcation Board 2003).

The unemployment rate for Emfuleni is higher than that of all municipalities in Gauteng, as well as the Northern Free State (Stats SA 2003). The national figure for the year 2001 was estimated at 41.5% for 2001. The rate determined for Emfuleni from the 1999 survey data was 51.3% and 54.1% from the2003 survey data. However, according to Global Insight overall employment (both informal and for mal) for Sedibeng grew over the 7-year period with slightly more than 2% per year. 

Primary sector

The primary economic sector consists of two sub-sectors, namely Agriculture and Mining. Agriculture's relative contribution to the GGP of Emfuleni decreased from 1.7 per cent in 1996 to 1.5 per cent in 2003. The average annual growth rate for the sector from 1996 to 2003 was 0.6% at constant prices. The agricultural sector offers a relatively small degree of economic activity in Emfuleni. Mining contributes only 0.2 percent to GGP of Emfuleni. The contribution of the mining sector to the GGP of Emfuleni declined from 0.5 per cent in 1996 to 0.2 per cent in 2003. The average growth rate from 1996 to 2003 was -13.0% per annum at constant prices.

Secondary sector

Secondary economic activities in Emfuleni consist of three sub-sectors, namely Manufacturing, Electricity/Gas/Water and Construction. Their contributions, growth rates and constituents are discussed.


Emfuleni manufacturing sector is largely dominated by metals, metal products, machinery and equipment industries. The dominant company is iron and steel and is considered to be the biggest steel sector agglomeration within the country. The metals and metal products industry has undergone major restructuring in the past few years, resulting in job shedding. It has been growing at a relatively low 1.2% per annum. The petrochemical industry is the second major manufacturing sub sector. Unlike the steel industry, it has been growing at a relatively fast pace between 2000 and 2006.

The relative contribution of Manufacturing towards the GGP of Emfuleni decreased slightly from 39.5 per cent in 1996 to 38.7 per cent in 2003. The manufacturing sector can be regarded as the dominant economic activity in Emfuleni. The average annual growth rate from 1996 to 2003 was 3.1% (constant prices).

Mittal Steel performance

Mittal Steel previously known as Iscor and then Ispat until it is currently trading as Mittal Steel South Africa. It registered record earnings of R4 541m (1 019c per share). This is as a result of international steel prices that attained all time high levels, strong domestic demand growth and the fact that cost escalations were successfully contained. Growths in the domestic steel sales volume were at 22% in 2004. As of2000 there has been a very rapid growth within the global market for steel in as far as supply and demand is concerned with a very close correlation. However it is projected that in 2007, the demand for steel globally will be fractionally less than the supply for the same year. The Vanderbijlpark and Long Products plants registered an increase in their operating profit of 89% and 128% respectively from the previous year (Mittal Steel, 2005). It does not seem that despite this financial success, more permanent jobs will be created, instead it could lead to shedding of jobs, but on the other hand it will definitely create short term jobs and benefit the Emfuleni economy in terms of procurement by local businesses. However the impact of this still needs to be determined.

Construction, Electricity/Gas/Water

The GGP contribution of construction activities to Emfuleni during 1996 was 3.6%. This figure declined to 3.0% in 2003. Electricity/Gas/Water contributed 4.1 % to the GGP of Emfuleni in 2003. The averageannual growth rate from 1996 to 2003 was 3.0% (constant prices). 

Tertiary sector

Tertiary sector activities consist of a number of sectors such as Trade, Transport, Financing, Services (including government services) and Tourism & Entertainment. Combined, this sector registered a GGP contribution of 50.1% in 1996 to Emfuleni. By 2003, the figure was 52.5%. The Transport and Finances sectors experienced an above average annual growth between 1996 and 2003 of 8.6% and  4.4% respectively (constant prices). The average annual growth for the whole Emfuleni economy was 3.2% (constant prices). For Tourism and Entertainment only the 2003 figure was estimated. This sect or presently contributes only a relatively small amount to the GGP of Emfuleni. 

Focus in LED

  1. Local economic development business retention and growth, poverty and job creation
  2. Development of the local tourism potential
  3. Managing the informal sector in order to stimulate growth and job creation
  4. Managing the councils advertising policy and administration
  5. Marketing of the area through specific projects and marketing campaigns
Source: Emfuleni LM IDP 2007 - 2012

Critical infrastructure

The municipality is strategically located with access to a well-maintained road network - N1 national route linking Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, which traverses Emfuleni.