District Socio-Economic Profile and Development Plans


Atkinson, D and Marais, L (2007), District Socio-Economic Profile and Development Plans, Arid Areas Research Programme Vol. 1, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.



The arid areas comprise a major part of South Africa’s land surface. These areas are the Karoo (including the Little Karoo), Namaqualand and Kalahari, and straddle five provinces in South Africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, and North-West. They also extend into Botswana and Namibia.

This volume contains a socio-economic profile of these areas. It is the first time that the arid components of South Africa are described in a way that highlights their similarities with one another. In most planning documents, such as Provincial Growth and Development Strategies, these areas are typically discussed in relation to non-arid areas, such as the coastal cities. Until now, this has blurred the focus on the arid areas. They are generally regarded as a hinterland, or even as an economic backwater.

This report therefore intends to “foreground” the arid areas in their own right. It focuses on the five “core” District Municipalities of the arid areas, viz. Cacadu (Graaff-Reinet area of the Eastern Cape), Central Karoo (Beaufort West area of theWestern Cape), and three districts of the Northern Cape: Pixley ka Seme (De Aar area), Namakwa


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