About Us

The Chris Hani District Municipality was established in terms of the provisions contained in Chapter 1 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 117 of 1998 (MStrA). In terms of these provisions, the Chris Hani District Municipality is a category C municipality (District Municipality). This municipality was established as a Mayoral Executive System which implies the exercise of executive authority through an executive mayor in whom the executive leadership of the municipality is vested, and who is assisted by a mayoral committee. The Executive Mayor of the CHDM exercises executive powers, whilst the Council of the CHDM remains the highest decision making body within the municipality. The political arm of the municipality is complemented by the administration which is led by the Municipal Manager.

The administration is responsible for providing technical support such that all the plans of Council are implemented in an efficient, effective and economical manner. The administration and the political arm alike adhere to the principles of good and clean governance through ensuring that adequate checks and balances are in place and that effective oversight on the operations is adequately exercised. Given that the CHDM is not in isolation, but rather a member of the South African populace, and its system of government, it has to, from time to time engaged with the public and other spheres of government.

As such, the municipality has established formal intergovernmental relations protocols to engage stakeholders including other spheres of government and has institutionalised public participation mechanisms such the Mayoral Imbizos, where communities have an opportunity to engage with the politicians and administration on their developmental needs.

These instruments of governance, taken together, allow the Chris Hani District Municipality to deliver on the mandate as given by the communities which it serves. The sections that follow provide a detail in terms of how each of these components operate and how decisions around key development issues are arrived at, all this within the legal framework that governs local government in South Africa.


To co-ordinate governance and quality service for vibrant communities.


“Leaders in sustainable economic growth and improved quality of life”


Commitment, Honesty, Humanity, Accountability, Respect, Nurturing, Integrity, Innovative and Sincerity.


As would be reflective in other spheres of government, the Council of the Chris Hani District Municipality is the legislative component of the municipal government. It is in this structure that local laws are promulgated, decisions around the direction of development for the region are taken, and is the body charged with overseeing the operations of the municipality such that they adhere to the democratic principles as enshrined in the South African Constitution.

Membership to Council is through the electoral process of the country where there are Councillors who are  elected to represent their local municipalities in the district Council. Currently, the Council of CHDM is made up of 42 Councillors, 17 of which are on Proportional Representation (PR) and 25 direct representatives from local municipalities within the District. Seven of the PR Councillors are members of the Mayoral Committee.

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Chris Hani District Municipal Vision: “A people-centred developmental rural district municipality

Chris Hani District Municipal Mission: “To co-ordinate governance for quality service and better communities through co-operative governance, socio-economic development, integrated development planning, and sustainable utilization of resources” 

Chris Hani District Municipal Values:

C = Commitment

H = Humanity

R = Respect

I = Integrity

S = Sincerity

H = Honesty

A = Accountability

N = Nurturing

I = Innovative

Taken together, the vision, mission and values of the CHDM, inform the manner in which the entire administration and the political arm of the CHDM conducts itself in engaging communities and in the delivery of services. These are the values against which the standards and performance of the municipality must be measured.


The Chris Hani District is a land-locked district situated in the center of the Eastern Cape hinterland, between the Eastern Cape coastline and the Drakensberg mountains. the district incorporates both former CPA areas of the Karoo in the west, as well as former Transkei areas in the east, making for a district of varied physical conditions.

Chris Hani district incorporates, the former towns such as; Cradock and Middelburg (Inxuba Yethemba), Hofmeyer, Tarkastad and Sterkstroom (Tsolwana), Molteno, (Inkwanca), Queenstown and Whittlesea (Lukanji), Cofimvaba and Tsomo (Intsika Yethu), Lady Frere. Indwe, and Wodehouse (Emalahleni), Engcobo and Elliot and Cala (Sakhisizwe).

The outcomes of the census undertaken by Statistics South Africa (STATSSA) in 2011 suggest that the population of CHDM has decreased from 800 289 in 2001 to 795 461 in 2011. This reflects a decline in population levels by -0, 1. The greatest number of people within the district is concentrated in the Lukhanji Municipal area with a total population of 190 723 (24%) of the total CHDM population. This can be attributed to a number of reasons such as inward migration as a result of perceived economic and employment opportunities, education institutions and facilities, generally a perception of better conditions of living. The changes in boundaries as a result of the demarcation process has had a number of implications notably on the population front with Engcobo LM gaining resulting in it having the second highest population of 155 513 (19.6 %) while Intsika Yethu, decreased in numbers to a total population size of 145 372 (18.3% of total district population). Emalahleni LM has a total population of 119 460 (15% of the district total) and its neighbour, Sakhisizwe LM has a total number of 63 582 people (8% of the total district population). Inxuba Yethemba LM’s population is at 65 560 with a percentage of 8.2% of the district total percentage. Tsolwana currently stands at a total population size of 33 281 people (4.2% of the total district population) and Inkwanca is at 21 971 with an average population size of 2.8% of the district total population.

In addition to the sizes of the population, the statistics generated in 2011 provide us with information relating to the distribution of the population by age and sex. One of the factors for this could be due to out migration for employment and schooling. The decrease in females between the ages of 40 to 54 is worrying as this is the stage when women are still looking after their teenage children.

The majority of the population is young people of between ages 0 to 24 (55.9%). These are largely children who are of school going ages and therefore, it has been necessary for the CHDM to engage the Department of Education with a view of ensuring improved access to schooling infrastructure and resources.

The levels of poverty within the district remain unacceptably high with over half of the district population (52.9%) living in poverty. Graph 3 below displays poverty levels across race groups within the district. Whilst this number remains high it is worth noting that there has been a decrease from the previous year’s 56.6% poverty level. Importantly is the concentration of poverty among certain race groups. To this end, the African segment of the DM population is the most affected by poverty, with 54.2% living in poverty, followed by the coloured population at 51.6%, Asians at 10,8 and whites at 0,6%.


An important employment trend is that of household employment (domestic help) as well as self-employed people (primarily through informal trade). It is important to note that the district surpasses both the national and provincial averages (57%; 37% and 51% respectively) thus requiring that concerted efforts be put in place with a view of addressing the unemployment challenges besetting the district. Due to high rates of unemployment there is generally high dependence on grants and remittance (monies sent home by family members working in urban centres) as the main sources of household incomes especially in the poor areas in our district. Many especially in municipalities like Tsolwana and Engcobo depend on remittances whilst close to half in Inxuba Yethemba and Sakhisizwe get their income from wages. The National Government has lifted unemployment, inequality and poverty as major challenges currently facing the country, to remedy such challenges the Planning Commission as headed by Minister Trever Manuel developed the National Development Plan 2030. Whilst economic growth rates are important to assess the success of some of the economic initiatives implemented within the municipality, these do not always give an indication of the extent to which such initiatives contribute to the qualitative change in the lives of the residents of the Chris Hani District.

The District Municipality has former homeland areas where limited or no development has taken place over a number of years. This has translated in Chris Hani District experiencing high levels of poverty across the District.

The public sector dominates the region’s economy, which indicates the challenge of a limited production base in the area, and limited private investment growth into the CHDM economy.

  • The region is challenged with a higher demand for basic services as well as housing/Infrastructure etc.
  • The area is largely rural which negatively influences the health as to some services are sparsely located within the district.
  • Services such as education, reproductive health, youth development and development projects to address poverty remain a challenge for local government and government departments.
  • Economic situation in terms of lack of income and unemployment of the population is increasing. Human development across the district in our local municipalities is below 0.50 and therefore cannot be accepted. Inxuba Yethemba at 0.57 and Lukhanji LM at 0.53 are exceptions to this situation. Tsolwana is at 0.47; Inkwanca is at 0.46; Intsika Yethu is at 0.42; Emalahleni at 0.41; Engcobo is at 0.39; and Sakhisizwe is at 0.44.


The Chris Hani node is one of the four ISRDS nodes in the Eastern Cape Province. It is comprised of 8 Local Municipalities, a combination of the former Transkei, Ciskei and RSA areas. It covers approximately 37 294 km, with a total population of approximately 822 291 people. The total number of household is estimated at 170 605 with average family size of 4.8. The amalgamated Local Authorities as recommended by the Municipal Demarcation Board are as follows:

  • Emalahleni Municipality – Lady Frere , Dordrecht , Indwe(Woodhouse), Ida
  • Engcobo – Engcobo main town and rural areas
  • Intsika Yethu – Cofimvaba, Tsomo, Sections of Glen Grey & Idutywa
  • Inxuba Yethemba – Middelburg & Cradock
  • Enoch Mgijima – Queenstown, Whittlesea, Hewu & sections of Glen Grey, Hofmeyer, Tarkastad, portion of Ntabethemba,Molteno & Sterkstroom
  • Sakhisizwe – Elliot, Cala, Xhalanga


The settlement pattern is characterised by small and medium urban centres with commercial & small scale farming mainly in the urban periphery of the former RSA . The former homelands have rural towns with villages and communal farms in the outskirts of towns.

The Emalahleni, Engcobo, Intsika Yethu, Sakhisizwe and part of Lukhanji (Ezibeleni, Ilinge Townships) forms part of the erstwhile Transkei, whilst Inkwanca, Inxuba Yethemba, Lukhanji and Tsolwana form part of the former RSA. A small portion of Lukhanji (Whittlesea), Tsolwana (Thornhill) and Ntabethemba used to be part of the former Ciskei.

The Intsika Yethu Municipality is highly populated, followed by Lukhanji, Engcobo and Emalahleni , with youth being the majority. In this regard, the District has identified a need for programmes or projects that will create sustainable jobs and food security to poor communities in the node.

The survey that has been undertaken in the node during June 2003 revealed death rate especially to youth is escalating and this is associated with HIV/AIDS. There are other common diseases such as Cholera and Diarrhea which are associated with unavailability of purified water and proper sanitation especially in rural areas.

The Lukhanji Municipality , Queenstown in particular used to be the major industrial centre although a number of factories have closed down for a number of reasons, such as the withdrawal of incentives on labour cost and accommodation that used to be there. Queenstown is still the major service centre, where many Regional Departmental offices, Private and public hospitals, District Municipal offices , main seat of Lukhanji Municipality, consulting firms & NGO, churches and chain stores are located. It also remains the major educational centre, providing formal and higher level educational opportunities to the neighbouring Districts and Provinces.

The issue of housing shortage throughout the District is becoming critical as a result of push factors such as urbanisation, relocation and restructuring of government departments or decentralisation for effective service delivery.

Agriculture is regarded as the backbone of the economy of the District as the largest portion of land is utilised for agricultural purposes, and a need to exploit the available resources in a sustainable manner is regarded as a priority. Hence the node has identified a need for the revitalisation of irrigation schemes through out the district. In this regard, the Agricultural Research Council and the node are undertaking a comprehensive agricultural development plan / strategy for the district. This will form an integral part of the LED strategy that is in course of preparation.


he population density of Chris Hani is 22 people per square kilometer. Intsika Yethu has the highest number of people in this district followed by Lukanji. Tsolwana has the lowest number of population.

The Chris Hani district is comparatively poor district in terms of poverty measures such as HDI (0.49), poverty gap (425 million) and number of people living in poverty (75.4%).

The population is predominantly African (94.1%). The coloured population makes 3.9% of the population. The Chris Hani district, like most other districts shows a significant child dependency. About 39% of population are below 15 years of age. More than half of the population is below 20 years. This is an indication of economic under development of this district.

Women out-number men in the Chris Hani district municipality.:46% of the population are males and 54% are females.


The survey that was undertaken throughout the district (status quo analysis report, June 03 ) revealed the following :

  • The majority of people are living in rural areas, Townships and informal settlements with high levels of poverty. The income figures for this district indicates that 75% of the households have an income of R12 000/annum or less than R1000/month. Greater than 75% of the economically active age groups are unemployed. Matriculants (are unable to further their studies due to lack of finances) and youth with higher education are unemployed
  • More than 75% of the households in this district do not have access to clean water supply. The district has high levels of infrastructure backlogs (water & sanitation in particular that has resulted in cholera and other associated diseases)
  • Furthermore 75% of the households do not have proper and safe forms of sanitation.
  • Majority of rural community do not have access to social infrastructure: people living with HIV/AIDS, Old age people, disabled, children, do not have easy access to necessary facilities or services such as trained community health workers, community social workers and secured pay points for social grants. High death rate especially to young people, which is associated with HIV/AIDS
  • Electricity connection is poor as 75% of the household do not have electricity.
  • Stagnant economy due to lack of government incentives , collapsed irrigation schemes.
  • Limited access to agricultural land in that large portion of land is privately owned (commercial farm)
  • High rate of crime especially stock theft
  • There is poor transportation system especially in rural areas
  • Environmental degradation especially soil erosion is creeping into constructed roads and agricultural land. This is also resulting in silting of dams that are used for irrigation purposes.
  • Wide spread of noxious plants which is posing a threat to both livestock production and the environment.
  • Factories lying dormant mainly in Lukhanji, Inkwanca.
  • Government programmes that are designed to solve these problems are not known and not accessible to both Municipalities and the general public.

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