Provinces

South Africa consists of nine provinces, namely Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Each province has its own legislature, premier and executive council. The country has common boundaries with Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, while Mozambique and Swaziland lie to the north-east. Completely enclosed by South African territory in the south-east is the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

Western Cape

This is a region of majestic mountains; well-watered valleys; wide, sandy beaches; and breathtaking scenery. Cape Town, the legislative capital, is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and is a must-see for tourists. Other important towns in the province include Worcester and Stellenbosch, known for their winelands; George, renowned for indigenous timber and vegetable produce and for its world-class golf courses; and Oudtshoorn, known for its ostrich products and the celebrated Cango caves. The average growth in the Western Cape’s gross domestic product (GDP) stands at 5,8%, having averaged over 5% since 2004. Between 2004 and 2008, the Western Cape welcomed 270 investment projects to the province, valued at R6,4 billion and creating 61 746 jobs.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • Robben Island where former President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for a number of years, in Table Bay off Cape Town
  • Table Mountain with its modern cableway which takes visitors to the top, providing breathtaking views
  • The National Botanical Gardens at Kirstenbosch
  • Whale watching at Hermanus
  • Wine testing tour of the spectacular winelands
  • The Cape Floral regions – a World Heritage site

2010 FIFA World Cup

The 70 000-seater Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town will host eight 2010 World Cup matches, including a semi-final. Cape Town’s preparations are well on track. Developments include:

  • dedicated bus and taxi lanes form the M2 into Cape Town along the N2
  • expanding the Cape Town International airport through a R2-billion investment
  • constructing the rail connection between the upgraded Cape Town International Airport and the Cape Town Central Station
  • upgrading the Cape Town Central Station
  • doubling the capacity of the Cape Town convention centre
  • building at least six new hotels in the Western Cape by 2010
  • completing the Green Point Stadium by December 2009
  • completing phase one of the Koeberg Interchange
  • continuing to expand the N2 Corridor

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape, a land of undulating hills, endless sandy beaches, majestic mountain ranges and deep green forests, is the second-largest of the nine provinces. The region ranges from the dry, desolate Great Karoo to the lush forests of the Wild Coast and the Keiskamma Valley, and the mountainous southern Drakensberg region. The metropolitan economies of Port Elizabeth and East London are based primarily on manufacturing, the most important being motor manufacturing. The Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth is one of the biggest initiatives ever undertaken in South Africa. The Provincial Industrial Strategy, launched in May 2008, outlines broad government efforts that are necessary to transform the structure and distribution of industrial activity in the Eastern Cape to meet particular economic, social and political objectives. These objectives include job creation (and job retention), increased and sustained growth, income distribution, spatial distribution of economic activity, deracialising ownership of the economy and promoting social forms of ownership.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • Grahamstown, the City of the Saints, a historical, educational and religious centre
  • the endless golden beaches of Port Alfred and Kenton on Sea
  • a walking tour of the Wild Coast
  • the pachyderms of the Addo Elephant National Park
  • various luxury game lodges
  • the Red Location Struggle Museum in Port Elizabeth

2010 World Cup

The new 50 000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth will host seven matches. The Eastern Cape is becoming more accessible as the Provincial 2010 Public Transport Plan, which links air, road, rail, maritime, taxi and bus operations is being implemented. In 2008, substantial resources were being invested in the road network. This included R1,5 billion to be spent on building new roads, and rebuilding and maintaining existing roads. The extension of the N2 from Kei Mouth to Port St Johns ”the Wild Coast meander“ will unlock the tourism potential of the scenic coastline. In addition, the 248-km road will facilitate agricultural and economic productivity and promote access to government services at schools, clinics and police stations. Some R363 million has been allocated for Expanded Public Works Programme projects in road construction, providing job opportunities for 6 000 people. The R78-million upgrade of the Bhisho Airport was completed in 2008. Mthatha Airport is being upgraded at a cost of R60 million.

KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa’s garden province boasts a lush subtropical coast-line, sweeping savanna in the east, and the magnificent Drakensberg mountains in the west. The warm Indian Ocean washing its beaches makes KwaZulu-Natal one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. Some of South Africa’s best protected indigenous coastal forests are found along the subtropical coastline. The bustling metropolis of Durban has the busiest port in Africa. KwaZulu-Natal ranks second as a major contributor to the economy, accounting for 16,7% of South Africa’s GDP. The KwaZulu-Natal Government has embarked on a strategy to attract investors to the province. A project involving a developer from the United Arab Emirates comprises a multi-billion rand investment on the northern side of uThukela River in the Macambini area. The project will be implemented in phases and will create thousands of permanent jobs. This will be the fifth project of its kind in the world based on the concept of a “city within a city”. The project will be a fully integrated tourist destination located on about 7 500 ha.

Tourist attractions in the province include:

  • the largest marine theme park in Africa – uShaka-Marine World
  • the 19th century battlefields where imperial Britain clashed with the Zulu nation
  • Durban’s fascinating mix of eastern and western cultures
  • dolphin spotting on the coast between the Umdloti and Tugela rivers
  • experiencing Zulu traditions and culture at authentic villages
  • deep sea fishing off Sodwana Bay
  • the iSimangaliso and Ukhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage sites

2010 World Cup

On 25 November 2007, the 2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw took place in Durban. The province hosted representatives from 204 of the 208 soccer-playing nations of the world as well as a contingent of international media – the largest FIFA representation ever. The Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, with a capacity of 70 000, will host five first-round matches and one second-round match, as well as one of the semi-finals. The stadium’s grand centre arch, 106 m high, will become a world-first tourist attraction, thanks to a high-tech cable car designed to take visitors up to its highest point, where they can disembark and take in breathtaking views of the city and ocean. The 350 m-long free-span steel arch weighs 2 600 tons. A new Kings Park railway station is being developed adjacent to the stadium. The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government is upgrading stadiums and building multipurpose sports facilities to allow some of its communities to host teams during the 2010 tournament. The selected municipalities for the projects include Umgungundlovu, Amajuba, Ugu and Uthungulu.

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape lies to the south of the mighty Orange River,which provides the basis for a healthy agricultural industry. Away from the Orange, the landscape is characterised by vast arid plains with outcroppings of haphazard rock piles. The province is renowned for its spectacular display of spring flowers, which, for a short period every year, attracts thousands of tourists. The Northern Cape is enjoying tremendous growth in value-added activities. Food production and processing for the local and export market is also growing significantly. Underpinning the growth and development plan of the province are the investment projects that link up with the existing plans of the Namaqua Development Corridor, where the focus is on the beneficiation and export of sea products. Mining, particularly the production of diamonds and iron ore, dominates the economy. The province is also rich in asbestos, manganese, fluorspar and marble. Strong growth areas include game farming and food production.

Tourist attractions include:

  • the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park which together with the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, forms Africa’s first trans-frontier conservation area, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • the Augrabies Falls – among the world’s greatest cataracts
  • the Sol Plaatje Museum in Kimberley
  • the Southern African Large Telescope

Free State

The Free State lies in the heart of South Africa. Between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, this immense rolling prairie stretches as far as the eye can see. The capital, Bloemfontein, houses the Supreme Court of Appeal, a leading university and some top schools. Since 1989, the Free State economy has changed from being dependent on the primary sector to being a manufacturing, export-orientated economy. The Free State gross domestic product per region (GDPR) amounted to about R75 827 million in 2004, representing a 5,5% contribution to the South African economy. Mining, particularly gold, is the biggest employer, followed by manufacturing. A gold reef of over 400 km stretches across Gauteng and the Free State. The province accounts for 30% of South Africa’s total gold production, and contributes significant amounts of silver, bituminous coal and diamonds. The Free State has cultivated land covering 3,2 million hectares. Field crops yield almost two thirds of the province’s agricultural income, with most of the balance being contributed by animal products.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • the sandstone formations at Golden Gate
  • the spectacular scenery of the town of Clarens
  • the Kings Park Rose Garden in Bloemfontein
  • the Basotho Cultural Village in the QwaQwa National Park
  • the desolate beauty – and water sports – of Sterkfontein Dam

2010 World Cup

The 48 000-seater Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein will host five first-round matches and one second-round match. The province has embarked on, among other projects, the following:

  • developing the N8 Corridor road network
  • rehabilitating and reviving the rail network from Thaba Nchu to Bloemfontein
  • constructing an international convention centre which will be linked to other 2010 initiatives such as the revamping of the Bloemfontein Airport, Mangaung African Cultural Festival and the internodal transport facility.

North West

North West borders Botswana, fringed by the Kalahari Desert in the west, and the Witwatersrand in the east. A province of varied ttractions, North West is home to some of South Africa’s most visited national parks, the celebrated Sun City and Lost City resorts, picturesque dams and dense bush. North West is, thanks to platinum in particular, the dominant province in terms of mineral sales, which contribute 25,6% to the provincial economy. Diamonds are also mined here. Manufacturing activities include fabricated metals, food and non-metals. North West is South Africa’s leading producer of white maize. Some of the world’s largest cattle herds are found in the area around Vryburg. The GDP in constant 2000 prices grew from R58 billion in 1996 to more than R72 billion in 2006. Since the launch of the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy in 2004, the economic growth per year has consistently outperformed the annual population growth of the province, registering growth rates of 3,6%, 4,9% and 4,3%, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, respectively.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • Mafikeng, site of the Anglo Boer South African War siege
  • the mampoer (moonshine) country of Groot Marico
  • entertainment, gaming and sports at Sun City and the Palace of the Lost City
  • various popular golf courses
  • the Elephant Sanctuary
  • Hartbeespoort Dam and surrounds
  • a game drive or walk in Madikwe Game Reserve
  • spotting the Big Five in the Pilanesberg National Park
  • Vredefort Dome World Heritage site

2010 World Cup

Rustenburg is the official hosting city in the North West, with the 42 000-seater Royal Bafokeng Stadium as official match venue. More than R400 million will be spent on road and traffic infrastructure in Rustenburg and Phokeng ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

Gauteng

Although geographically the smallest of the nine provinces, Gauteng (Sotho word for “place of gold”) contributes more than a third of South Africa’s GDP. The main cities are Johannesburg, the biggest city in southern Africa, and Pretoria, the administrative capital of the country. Manufacturing, financial and business services and logistics make Gauteng the economic powerhouse of southern Africa. Success in attracting value-added new-economy investment is borne out by the burgeoning high-tech corridor in Midrand. Gauteng has a greater proportion of its labour force in professional, technical, managerial and executive positions than any other province. Johannesburg houses the JSE Limited, the largest securities exchange in Africa. Hundreds of leading local companies have their head offices here, as do the regional operations of many multinationals.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • Soweto, home to two million people and the site of much of the anti-apartheid struggle. Popular with tourists are Maponya Mall, various sought-after restaurants and graded accommodation.
  • Pretoria in spring when some flowering jacaranda trees turn the city purple.
  • Feeedom Park, overlooking Pretoria
  • The Cradle of Humankind, the richest source of pre hominid fossils on the planet, and a World Heritage site.
  • Maropeng, near the Cradle of Humankind
  • Bustling, funky downtown Johannesburg – City of Gold

2010 World Cup

Soccer City in Johannesburg will host the final match of the 2010 World Cup. It will accommodate 94 700 soccer fans. Ellis Park, the venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, will undergo a major renovation before the World Cup. It will have 61 000 seats. Loftus Versfeld Stadium (50 000 seats) in Pretoria will also host 2010 World Cup games. The province has won the right to host SoccerEx, the largest football business exhibition in the world. It provides an international platform to showcase the province’s readiness to host the 2010 World Cup. The opening and closing ceremonies as well as a number of group matches will be hosted in the province.

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga (“place where the sun rises”) is bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east and Gauteng in the west. It is situated mainly on high-plateau grasslands, which roll eastwards for hundreds of kilometres. In the north-east, the province rises towards mountain peaks and then terminates in an immense escarpment. In some places, this escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying Lowveld, home to the Kruger National Park. Mpumalanga combines mining and heavy industry with the cultivation of citrus, tropical and subtropical fruits and extensive forests. The southern hemisphere’s three biggest power stations are located in the province, supplied by the Witbank coalfields, which are among the most extensive in the world. Middelburg is a major steel producer, and Secunda has a key oil-from-coal installation.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • Kruger National Park and its ultra luxurious privately owned adjoining lodges
  • the spectacular Mac Mac Falls outside Sabie
  • the well preserved historical gold rush towns of Pilgrims Rest and Barberton
  • the stunning scenery of the Blyde River Canyon
  • spectacular scenery at God’s Window
  • the historic train ride between Waterval-Boven and Waterval-Onder.

2010 World Cup

The Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, with a capacity of 46 000, will host four first-round matches. Construction of the stadium started in February 2007 and is expected to be completed in May 2009. The budget totals some R875 million. To advance the province’s social-development agenda, R10 million was allocated to implement five community sport and recreation programmes in each district municipality in 2007/2008.

Limpopo

In the extreme north of South Africa, Limpopo is a province of dramatic contrasts: bush, mountains, indigenous forests and plantations. Well situated for economic growth and trade with other parts of southern Africa, between 1995 and 2001 the province recorded the highest real economic growth rate in South Africa. The greater part of the Kruger National Park is located within Limpopo. Limpopo is rich in minerals, including copper, asbestos, coal, iron ore, platinum, chrome, diamonds and gold. While exports are mostly primary products, the province is rich in resources, particularly in tourism, agriculture and minerals. Cattle ranching is frequently combined with hunting. Tropical and citrus fruits are extensively cultivated while tea, coffee and forestry are important economic contributors. About 60% of South Africa’s tomatoes, 33% of its oranges and 70% of its mangoes come from Limpopo. More than 45% of the R2-billion annual turnover of the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market is from the province.

Some tourist attractions include:

  • the unforgettable bushveld scenery of the Waterberg
  • fun and relaxation in the mineral baths of Bela Bela
  • the Big Tree near Tzaneen
  • the springs of Tshipise which attract a million visitors a year
  • the Modjadji Nature Reserve
  • the Mapungubwe iron age site

2010 World Cup

Construction of the new 46 000-seater Peter Mokaba sports complex in Polokwane started in March 2007.  Expenditure from the end of 2006 to March 2008 totalled R444 million. The money was used, among other things, to improve the Giyani and Thohoyandou airports, as well as to upgrade the Polokwane Gateway International Airport.