Municipality: Gert Sibande District Municipality

Address

Council Building
Louwrens Muller Street PO Box 550
2302 Secunda , Mpumalanga
South Africa
Phone: 017-620-3000
Fax: 017-631-1607
Mpumalanga ZA

Description

Gert Sibande District Municipality (SBDM) is one of the three district municipalities in Mpumalanga. It is bounded by Gauteng Province to the west, Nkangala DM to the north, Swaziland and Ehlanzeni DM to the east, and Free State and KwaZulu-Natal to the south. 

There are over 120 towns and villages in the district, which comprises of seven local municipalities:

  • Albert Luthuli LM
  • Dipaleseng LM
  • Govan Mbeki LM
  • Lekwa LM
  • Mkhondo LM
  • Msukaligwa LM
  • Pixley ka Seme LM

According to the 2007 estimates Gert Sibande is home to 981 561 people and accounts for 26.7% of the Mpumalanga population. The Gert Sibande District is a sparsely populated area of about 31 people per square km in comparison with Johannesburg, the rest of Mpumalanga, Gauteng and South Africa. The district has shown a slightly larger population growth than provincial and national averages – 1.7% per annum on average from 1996 to about 2007 compared to 1.6% in the province and 1.3% nationally. 

More than half of the district’s population namely 52,76% and almost two thirds of the households (62,04%) live in urbanized areas. More than half of the population are under 18 years of age. With nearly a third of the households namely 29,67% residing on farmland, a lot of pressure has been put on local municipalities in the region to collaborate with farm owners in providing land, a challenge that has been faced to a greater or lesser extent in most parts of South Africa. 


In 2008, blacks accounted for the majority (90.7%) of the Gert Sibande population while Whites, Coloureds and Asians comprised 8.2%; 0.5% and 0.7% of the population respectively. This variable is consistent with both the provincial and national population characteristics. 

Critical infrastructure

Transport linkages are excellent along both the Gauteng-Maputo and Gauteng-KwaZulu-Natal corridors.

Strengths

Energy production (fuel and electricity) is the most significant economic activity. Food and timber production, as well as the tourism and recreation industries, are also important. There are a large number of resorts, guesthouses, health spas and hiking trails which are at present underutilised. 

An abundance of raw materials, suitable and available land for various developments, and a willing labour force create numerous opportunities for investment and growth.

The Govan Mbeki municipal area, with the main centres of Secunda, Embalenhle-Trichardt, Kinross and Bethal, is the economic and industrial hub of the region, with petrochemical and related industries at Secunda and the nearby occurence of coal, iron ore, gold and granite.

Msukaligwa Municipality is a water-rich area in the midst of the Vaal River system, and Ermelo as the main town, is an important food and timber producing centre which warrants the development of agricultural and related activities.

Mkhondo Municipality's preimary economic activities, centred on the town of Piet Retief, are timber, coal, food and wool production.

Volksrust is the main town of Pixley ka Seme Local Municipality. The chief activities are maize, sorghum and fruit production, as well as cattle and sheep farming. Tourism is a growing sector. Game viewing and bird watching are popular. 

General and mixed farming are carried out in the fertile Dipaleseng municipal area.

Lekwa's urban areas are Standerton and Morgenson. Food production, textiles and related mills, coal production and electricity generation are the major economic activities.

Carolina is the administrative centre of Albert LM. Its economy relies on timber and coal production and tourism. Various conservation projects, historic buildings, cultural diversity, and small enterprises such as weaving and painting are aimed at the tourist market.

Weaknesses

Gert Sibande DM faces the challenge of a fragmented development pattern which is the result of past planning and the uneven distribution of mineral resources. The seven local municipalities also face the challenge of achieving an integrated development plan in a district of this size and complexity. 

The provision of adequate housing, clinics, schools and government services is hindered by the spatial nature of the area, low payment rates for services, the small tax base and little economic activity. Community involvement and key stakeholder participation remain a challenge as well. 

Furthermore, people residing in rural areas do not own the land on which they live, which means they do not qualify to receive housing subsidies, which come with proper services.