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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.

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.


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.


Table 2 : Total population - Chris Hani, Eastern Cape and National Total, 2007-2017
Table 2 : Total population – Chris Hani, Eastern Cape and National Total, 2007-2017

In this section, an overview is provided of the demography of the Chris Hani District Municipality and all its neighbouring regions, the Eastern Cape Province and South Africa as a whole. This section will also provide population distributions across race, age and gender as well as an indication of population densities and various household dynamics.

1.1  Total Population

Chart 1 : Total population - Chris Hani and the rest of Eastern Cape, 2017
Chart 1 : Total population – Chris Hani and the rest of Eastern Cape, 2017

Population statistics is important when analysing an economy, as the population growth directly and indirectly impacts employment and unemployment, as well as other economic indicators such as economic growth and per capita income.

With 849 000 people, the Chris Hani District Municipality housed 1.5% of South Africa’s total population in 2017. Between 2007 and 2017 the population growth averaged 0.58% per annum which is more than half the growth rate of South Africa as a whole (1.56%).  Compared to Eastern Cape’s average annual growth rate (0.91%), the growth rate in Chris Hani’s population at 0.58% was close to half than that of the province.

When compared to other regions, the Chris Hani District Municipality accounts for a total population of 849,000, or 12.0% of the total population in the Eastern Cape Province, with the O.R.Tambo being the most populous region in the Eastern Cape Province for 2017. Chris Hani decreased in importance from ranking fourth in 2007 to sixth in 2017.  In terms of its share the Chris Hani District Municipality was slightly smaller in 2017 (12.0%) compared to what it was in 2007 (12.4%). When looking at the average annual growth rate, it is noted that Chris Hani ranked seventh (relative to its peers in terms of growth) with an average annual growth rate of 0.6% between 2007 and 2017.

Table 3 : Total population – local municipalities of Chris Hani District Municipality, 2007, 2012 and 2017
Table 3 : Total population – local municipalities of Chris Hani District Municipality, 2007, 2012 and 2017

The Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality increased the most, in terms of population, with an average annual growth rate of 1.03%, the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality had the second highest growth in terms of its population, with an average annual growth rate of 1.02%. The Intsika Yethu Local Municipality had the lowest average annual growth rate of 0.09% relative to the other within the Chris Hani District Municipality.

2.2 Population by population group, Gender and Age

Table 4 : Population by gender - Chris Hani and the rest of Eastern Cape Province, 2017 [Number].
Table 4 : Population by gender – Chris Hani and the rest of Eastern Cape Province, 2017 [Number].
The total population of a region is the total number of people within that region measured in the middle of the year.  Total population can be categorised according to the population group, as well as the sub-categories of age and gender. The population groups include African, White, Coloured and Asian, where the Asian group includes all people originating from Asia, India and China. The age subcategory divides the population into 5-year cohorts, e.g. 0-4, 5-9, 10-13, etc.

Chris Hani District Municipality’s male/female split in population was 93.5 males per 100 females in 2017. The Chris Hani District Municipality appears to be a fairly stable population with the share of female population (51.69%) being very similar to the national average of (51.05%). In total there were 439 000 (51.69%) females and 410 000 (48.31%) males. This is different from the Eastern Cape Province as a whole where the female population counted 3.7 million which constitutes 52.23% of the total population of 7.08 million.

Table 5 : Population by population group, Gender and Age – Chris Hani District Municipality, 2017
Table 5 : Population by population group, Gender and Age – Chris Hani District Municipality, 2017

In 2017, the Chris Hani District Municipality’s population consisted of 93.92% African (798 000), 1.84% White (15 600), 3.97% Coloured (33 700) and 0.27% Asian (2 310) people.

The largest share of population is within the babies and kids (0-14 years) age category with a total number of 282 000 or 33.2% of the total population. The age category with the second largest number of people is the young working age (25-44 years) age category with a total share of 26.8%, followed by the teenagers and youth (15-24 years) age category with 147 000 people. The age category with the least number of people is the retired / old age (65 years and older) age category with only 70 400 people, as reflected in the population pyramids below.


Spatial Overview

Chris Hani District Municipality is situated on the northern region of the Eastern Cape Province and covers a surface area of 36,756 Km2. Only 35.2% of the district population live in areas classified as urban, while 63.8% live in predominantly rural areas. The district also shares borders with five other districts, namely, Pixley ka Seme DM, Joe Gqabi DM, Sarah Baartman DM, Amathole DM and O.R. Tambo DM.

After the 2016 Local Government Election (3 August 2016), the number of local municipalities decreased from eight to six with the merger of Tsolwana LM, Inkwanca LM and Lukanji LM into a newly established municipality, Enoch Mgijima LM, which also hosts the district municipal headquarters and council chambers in Komani.

The following list presents the six LMs of the district with their urban nodes:

  • Inxuba Yethemba LM: Cradock and Middleburg.
  • Enoch Mgijima LM: Komani, Whittlesea, Tarkastad, and Hofmeyer.
  • Emalahleni LM: Cacadu, Dordrecht and Indwe.
  • Intsika Yethu LM: Cofimvaba and Tsomo.
  • Sakhisizwe LM: Cala and Ekhowa.
  • Dr AB Xuma LM: Engcobo.

The Chris Hani District is comprised of three historically distinct areas, the result of which is seen in the spatial development of the district. The former Ciskei – made up of Hewu and Glen Grey magisterial districts – and the former Transkei – which includes primarily the districts of Ngcobo, Cala, Cofimvaba, Tsomo and Lady Frere magisterial districts – are characterised by significant underdevelopment and a high level of poverty.

The balance of the Chris Hani District Municipality area is made up of former RSA magisterial districts. The settlement and land use patterns in the two former homeland areas are distinctively different. Settlement in the former Ciskei and Transkei is predominantly of the dispersed “traditional” rural village settlement type, where subsistence-farming practices (pastoral and dry land cultivation) are the dominant forms of land use activity apart from the residential function of these areas. In contrast, settlement and land use in the former RSA component of the district is largely characterised by nodal urban development (small service towns) and commercial farms.

Largely, the spatial pattern of the Study Area is characterised by a “mismatch” of separate rural and urban areas, which are nevertheless functionally interrelated and dependent on a core area like Queenstown. It is important to note that the spatially fragmented settlement pattern of the Study Area is the result of different political historical factors, as well as administrative and ideological based development initiatives implemented in the area over the last century.

Settlement Characteristics

The district municipality is predominantly rural in character with a number of urban settlements. They are as follows: Cradock, Middleburg, Komani, Whittlesea, Tarkastad, Molteno, Hofmeyer, Cacadu (Lady Frere), Dordrecht, Indwe, Cofimvaba, Tsomo, Cala, Khowa and Engcobo. Komani is an economic hub, due to its strategic position in the Chris Hani District Municipality. Komani has signs of more compactness compare to other small urban areas in the district municipality. The settlement patterns that occur within district municipality are in the form of rural sprawl and low-density urban sprawl in small towns in municipality.

This reflects the existent texture of the already existing urban centres together with the rural villages. These above-mentioned patterns are not sustainable or effective and has given rise to settlements that range from low density agrarian communities to relatively high density urban settlements. The layout of these rural villages is informal and are based firstly on family units and secondly on community units.


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 Enoch Mgijima, Dr AB Xuba 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 Enoch Mgijima 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 Enoch Mgijima 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.


The population density of Chris Hani is 22 people per square kilometer. Intsika Yethu has the highest number of people in this district followed by Enoch Mgijima. 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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