Western Cape

The Western Cape (Afrikaans: Wes-Kaap; Xhosa: iNtshona-Koloni) is a province of South Africa, situated on the south-western coast of the country. It is the fourth largest of the nine provinces with an area of 129,449 square kilometres (49,981 sq mi), and the third most populous, with an estimated 6.6 million inhabitants in 2018.[4] About two-thirds of these inhabitants live in the metropolitan area of Cape Town, which is also the provincial capital. The Western Cape was created in 1994 from part of the former Cape Province.

Western Cape

Wes-Kaap (in Afrikaans)
iNtshona-Koloni (in Xhosa)
Spes Bona (Good Hope)
Map showing the location of the Western Cape in the south-western part of South Africa in red
Map showing the location of the Western Cape in the south-western part of South Africa in red
CountrySouth Africa
Established27 April 1994
CapitalCape Town
 • TypeParliamentary system
 • PremierAlan Winde (DA)
 • LegislatureWestern Cape Provincial Parliament
 • Total129,462 km2 (49,986 sq mi)
Area rank4th in South Africa
Highest elevation
2,325 m (7,628 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 • Total5,822,734
 • Estimate 
 • Rank3rd in South Africa
 • Density45/km2 (120/sq mi)
 • Density rank4th in South Africa
Population groups
 • Coloured49%
 • African33%
 • White16%
 • Indian or Asian1.0%
 • Afrikaans49.7%
 • Xhosa31.7%
 • English20.2%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
ISO 3166 codeZA-WC
HDI (2017)0.756[3]
high · 1st


Western Cape Topology and boundary
Topography of the Western Cape. The Roggeveld and Nuweveld mountains are part of the Great Escarpment (see diagrams below). The other mountain ranges belong to the Cape Fold Belt, also shown in the diagrams below. The Western Cape's inland boundary lies for the most part at the foot of the Great Escarpment.
SW-NE geological cross section through South Africa
An approximate SW-NE cross section through South Africa with the Cape Peninsula (with Table Mountain) on left, and northeastern KwaZulu-Natal on the right. Diagrammatic and only roughly to scale. It shows the major geological structures (coloured layers) that dominate the southern and eastern parts of the country, as well as the relationship between the Central Plateau, the Cape Fold Mountains, and the Drakensberg escarpment. The significance and origin of the geological layers can be found under the headings "Karoo Supergroup" and "Cape Supergroup".
NS cross section Southern Cape
A diagrammatic 400 km north-south crosssection through the southern portion of the country at approximately 21° 30’ E (i.e. near Calitzdorp in the Little Karoo), showing the relationship between the Cape Fold Mountains (and their geological structure) and the geology of the Little and Great Karoo, as well as the position of the Great Escarpment. The colour code for the geological layers is the same as those used in the diagram above. The heavy black line flanked by opposing arrows is the fault that runs for nearly 300 km along the southern edge of the Swartberg Mountains. The Swartberg Mountain range owes some of its great height to upliftment along this fault line. The subsurface structures are not to scale.

The Western Cape Province is roughly L-shaped, extending north and east from the Cape of Good Hope, in the southwestern corner of South Africa. It stretches about 400 kilometres (250 mi) northwards along the Atlantic coast and about 500 kilometres (300 mi) eastwards along the South African south coast (Southern Indian Ocean). It is bordered on the north by the Northern Cape and on the east by the Eastern Cape. The total land area of the province is 129,462 square kilometres (49,986 sq mi),[1]:9 about 10.6% of the country's total. It is roughly the size of England or the State of Louisiana. Its capital city and largest city is Cape Town, and some other major cities include Stellenbosch, Worcester, Paarl, and George. The Garden Route and the Overberg are popular coastal tourism areas.

The Western Cape is the southernmost region of the African continent with Cape Agulhas as its southernmost point, only 3800 km from the Antarctic coastline. The coastline varies from sandy between capes, to rocky to steep and mountainous in places. The only natural harbour is Saldanha Bay on the west coast, about 140 km north of Cape Town. However a lack of fresh water in the region meant that it has only recently been used as a harbour. The province's main harbour was built in Table Bay, which in its natural state was fully exposed to the northwesterly storms that bring rain to the province in winter, as well as the almost uninterrupted dry southeasterly winds in summer. But fresh water coming off Table Mountain and Devil's Peak allowed the early European settlers to build Cape Town on the shores of this less than satisfactory anchorage.

The province is topographically exceptionally diverse. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a set of nearly parallel ranges of sandstone folded mountains of Cambrian-Ordovician age (the age of the rocks is from 510 to about 330 million years ago; their folding into mountains occurred about 350 to about 270 million years ago).[5][6][7] The height of the mountain peaks in the different ranges vary from 1000m to 2300m. The valleys between ranges are generally very fertile as they contain the weathered loamy soils of the Bokkeveld mudstones (see the diagrams on the left).[6]

The far interior forms part of the Karoo. This region of the Province is generally arid and hilly with a prominent escarpment that runs close to the Province's most inland boundary.

The Escarpment marks the southwestern edge of South Africa's central plateau (see the middle and bottom diagrams on the left).[6][8] It runs parallel to the entire South African coastline except in the very far northeast, where it is interrupted by the Limpopo River valley, and the far northwest, where it is interrupted by the Orange River valley. The 1000 km-long northeastern stretch of the escarpment is called the Drakensberg, which is geographically and geologically quite distinct from the Cape Fold Mountains, which originated much earlier and totally independently of the origin of the escarpment.[6][7][9][10]

The principal rivers of the province are the Berg and Olifants which drain into the Atlantic Ocean, and the Breede and Gourits which drain into the Indian Ocean.

The vegetation is also extremely diverse, with one of the world's seven floral kingdoms almost exclusively endemic to the province, namely the Cape Floral Kingdom, most of which is covered by Fynbos (from the Afrikaans meaning "Fine Bush" (Dutch: Fijnbosch), though precisely how it came to be referred to as such, is uncertain.).[11][12] These evergreen heathlands are extremely rich in species diversity,[11][12] with at least as many plant species occurring on Table Mountain as in the entire United Kingdom.[12] It is characterised by various types of shrubs, thousands of flowering plant species and some grasses.[11] With the exception of the Silver tree, Leucadendron argenteum, which only grows on the granite and clay soils of the Cape Peninsula,[13] open fynbos is generally treeless except in the wetter mountain ravines where patches of Afromontane forest persist.[11][12]

The arid interior is dominated by Karoo drought-resistant shrubbery. The West Coast and Little Karoo are semi-arid regions and are typified by many species of succulents and drought-resistant shrubs and acacia trees. The Garden Route on the south coast (between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Southern Indian Ocean) is extremely lush, with temperate rainforest (or Afromontane Forest) covering many areas adjacent to the coast, in the deep river valleys and along the southern slopes of the Outeniqua mountain range. Typical species are hardwoods of exceptional height, such as Yellowwood, Stinkwood and Ironwood trees.


The Western Cape is also climatologically diverse, with many distinct micro- and macroclimates created by the varied topography and the influence of the surrounding ocean currents. These are the warm Agulhas Current which flows southwards along South Africa's east coast, and the cold Benguela Current which is an upwelling current from the depths of the South Atlantic Ocean along South Africa's west coast.[14][15] Thus climatic statistics can vary greatly over short distances. Most of the province is considered to have a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Both the Great Karoo and Little Karoo, in the interior, have an arid to semi-arid climate with cold, frosty winters and hot summers with occasional thunderstorms. The Garden Route and the Overberg on the south coast have a maritime climate with cool, moist winters and mild, moist summers. Mossel Bay in the Garden Route is considered to have the second mildest climate worldwide after Hawaii.

Thunderstorms are generally rare in the province (except in the Karoo) with most precipitation being of a frontal or orographic nature. Extremes of heat and cold are common inland, but rare near the coast. Snow is a common winter occurrence on the Western Cape Mountains occasionally reaching down into the more inland valleys. Otherwise, frost is relatively rare in coastal areas and many of the heavily cultivated valleys.

Cities and towns

Road map of the Western Cape with towns
Towns and main roads in the Western Cape

Population over 3 million:

Population 100,000–1,000,000:

Population 50,000–100,000:

Population 10,000–50,000:

Population 5,000–10,000:

Political history

Contribution of the Western Cape in the National Youth Uprisings

The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) was a grassroots anti-Apartheid activist movement that emerged in South Africa in the mid-1960s out of the political vacuum created by the jailing and banning of the African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress leadership after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960. The BCM represented a social movement for political consciousness.

In December 1968, the South African Student Organization (SASO) was formed at a conference held in Marianhill, Natal. The conference was exclusively attended by Black students. After its launch, SASO became the medium through which black consciousness ideology spread to schools and other university campuses across the country.[16]

In 1974, the then South African Minister of Bantu Education and Development, MC Botha, constituted the imposition of using Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools, effective with students in Grade 7 (Standard 5) upwards. As early as March 1976, students began passive resistance against Afrikaans, fueling the outbreak of the Soweto Uprising on 16 June 1976. Consequently, the student protests spread to other parts of the country, and Cape Town became a pivotal site for Western Cape student revolt.

Student leaders at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) organised marches. Poster parades by UWC and Black Power Salute marches by UCT was broken by the police, resulting in 73 students getting arrested and detained at Victor Verster Prison, near Paarl.

On 1 September 1976 the unrest spread to the city of Cape Town itself. Approximately 2000 black students from Western Cape townships, namely Langa, Nyanga and Gugulethu, matched the Cape Town central business district (CBD). Coloured students also contributed to the protests by peacefully marching to the city, but were blockaded by the police in the CBD. The protests turned violent when coloured students started burning schools, libraries and a magistrate's court in support of the student revolt. Thereafter, 200,000 coloured workers partook in a two-day strike staying away from work in the Cape Town area.

According to a report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Western Cape experienced the second highest number of deaths and casualties associated with the 1976 uprising protests.[17]

1994 and the Western Cape post-apartheid

In 1994, at the introduction of the Interim Constitution and the first non-racial election, South Africa's original provinces and bantustans were abolished and nine new provinces were established. The former Cape Province was divided into the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and part of North West.

In the 1994 election the Western Cape was one of two provinces that did not elect an African National Congress (ANC) provincial government (the other being KwaZulu-Natal). The National Party (NP) won 53% of the votes and 23 seats in the 42-seat provincial legislature, and Hernus Kriel, a former Minister of Law and Order, was elected Premier. He resigned in 1998 and was replaced by Gerald Morkel.

The 1999 election marked the beginning of a period of great turbulence in Western Cape politics. No party achieved an absolute majority in the provincial parliament, as the ANC won 18 seats while the New National Party (NNP), successor to the NP, won 17. The NNP went into coalition with the Democratic Party (DP), which won 5 seats, to form a government, and Morkel remained Premier. In 2000 the DP and the NNP formalised their coalition by forming the Democratic Alliance (DA).

In 2001, however, the NNP broke with the DA over the removal of Peter Marais from office as Mayor of Cape Town by DA leader Tony Leon. The NNP instead went into coalition with the ANC; Gerald Morkel, who was opposed to the split, resigned as Premier and was replaced by Peter Marais. In 2002 Marais resigned as Premier due to a sexual harassment scandal, and was replaced by NNP leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk. During the 2003 floor-crossing period four members of the provincial parliament crossed to the ANC, giving it an absolute majority of 22 seats in the 42-seat house. However, the ANC remained in coalition with the NNP and van Schalkwyk remained as Premier.

In the 2004 election there was again no absolute winner in the provincial parliament; this time the ANC won 19 seats, the DA won 12, and the NNP won 5. The ANC-NNP coalition continued in power, but van Schalkwyk took up a ministerial post in the national cabinet and was replaced as Premier by the ANC's Ebrahim Rasool. The NNP was finally dissolved after the 2005 floor-crossing period and its members joined the ANC, again giving that party an absolute majority of 24 seats. In the 2007 floor-crossing period the ANC gained a further three members of the provincial parliament. In 2008 Rasool resigned as Premier due to internal party politics, and was replaced by Lynne Brown.

The 2009 election marked a significant change in Western Cape politics, as the Democratic Alliance won 51% of the votes and an absolute majority of 22 seats in the provincial parliament, while the ANC won 14 seats with 31% of the vote. The DA leader Helen Zille was elected Premier. In 2010 the Independent Democrats, which had won 3 seats with 5% of the vote, merged with the DA. In the 2014 election the DA won 59% of the votes and an absolute majority of 26 seats in the provincial parliament, while the ANC won 14 seats with 32% of the vote. In 2018 King Khoebaha Cornelius III Declared the independence of the "Sovereign State of Good Hope" [18][19]

Law and government

Western Cape provincial building
Provincial government headquarters in Cape Town

The provincial government is established under the Constitution of the Western Cape, which was adopted in 1998. The people of the province elect the 42-member Western Cape Provincial Parliament every five years by a system of party-list proportional representation. The fifth provincial parliament was elected in the election of 8 May 2019; 24 seats are held by the Democratic Alliance, 12 by the African National Congress, and 2 by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 1 by the Good, 1 by the African Christian Democratic Party, 1 by the Al Jama-ah, and also 1 by the Freedom Front Plus. The provincial parliament is responsible for legislating within its responsibilities as set out by the national constitution; these responsibilities include agriculture, education, environment, health services, housing, language policies, tourism, trade, and welfare.

The provincial parliament also elects the Premier of the Western Cape to lead the provincial executive. Since 2019 the Premiership has been held by Alan Winde, former Provincial Minister of Community Safety. The Premier appoints ten members of the provincial legislature to serve as a cabinet of ministers, overseeing the departments of the provincial government. These departments are Agriculture, Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Economic Development and Tourism, Education, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Health, Human Settlements, Local Government, Social Development, Transport and Public Works, and the Provincial Treasury.


Map of the Western Cape with municipalities labelled (2016)
Western Cape districts and local municipalities

The Western Cape Province is divided into one metropolitan municipality and five district municipalities. The district municipalities are in turn divided into 24 local municipalities:

Metropolitan municipalities

District municipalities


The Western Cape's total GDP for 2008 was R268bn, making the province the joint 2nd largest contributor to the country's total GDP, at 14%. It also has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, growing at 4% in 2008[20] At 19.3% the province has a substantially lower unemployment rate than the national average standing at 20% in 2018.[21] The city of Cape Town's Gini coefficient of 0.58[22] is lower than South Africa's Gini coefficient of 0.7 making it more equal than the rest of the country[23] whilst still being extremely high and unequal by international standards. The Western Cape's Human Development Index is the highest in South Africa at 0.7708 compared to the South African average of 0.6675 in 2003.[24]

The biggest sector in the Western Cape's economy is the financial, business services and realestate sectors contributing approximately R77 billion in 2008. Manufacturing was the second largest contributor valued at R43.7 billion in 2008 with the agricultural sector being the fastest growing at 10.6% in the same year.[20] High-tech industries, international call centres, fashion design, advertising and TV production are niche industries rapidly gaining in importance.[25] The city of Cape Town is ranked as the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa with Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity being 190% greater than South Africa's national average.[26]

Infrastructure and communications

The N1 national route atop the Hex River Pass
Western Cape rail network map
Railway network in the Western Cape

The Western Cape has an excellent network of highways comparable with any first-world country. The primary highways are the N1 (from Cape Town to Three Sisters, continuing outside the province towards Bloemfontein and Johannesburg), N2 (from Cape Town to Bloukrans River, towards Port Elizabeth), N7 (from Cape Town to Bitterfontein, continuing towards Springbok and Namibia) and N12 (from George to Three Sisters, continuing towards Kimberley and Johannesburg). Other routes are the "R" roads which connect the smaller towns. All major roads are tarred with major rural gravel roads well maintained. Limited access motorways are limited to the Cape Metropolitan Area, Winelands and Garden Route, however due to the low population density of the remainder of the province, the highways remain efficient and high-speed, except during peak holiday travel seasons, when travel can be slow-going in places due to heavy traffic.

Telecommunications in the province are highly sophisticated. Landline telephones are available extensively, and the majority of large urban nodes have access to ADSL and other high-speed internet services. Mobile cellular networks are world-class, with reception extending from cities to highways and many remote rural areas. Mobile networks also play an important role in the internet space due to their speed and widespread availability. Major cities and towns have access to mobile internet speeds in excess of 21 Mbit/s (HSDPA+). In areas where HSDPA+ is not available, networks make provisions for HSDPA, 3G, EDGE or finally GPRS if demand does not warrant higher speed investment.


Western Cape 2011 population density map
Population density in the Western Cape
Western Cape 2001 dominant language map
Dominant home languages in the Western Cape

The 2011 Census recorded the population of the Western Cape as 5,822,734 people living in 1,634,000 households.[1]:8, 63 As the province covers an area of 129,462 square kilometres (49,986 sq mi),[1]:9 the population density was 45.0 inhabitants per square kilometre (117/sq mi) and the household density 12.6 per square kilometre (33/sq mi).

49% of the people of the Western Cape described themselves as "Coloured", while 33% described themselves as "Black African", 17% as "White", and 1% as "Indian or Asian".[1]:21 Afrikaans is the plurality language, spoken as the first language of 50% of the province's population. IsiXhosa is the first language of 25% of the population, while English is the first language of 20%.[1]:25

Roughly 16% (894,289 people) of the Western Cape's population in 2011 were born in the Eastern Cape, 3% (167,524) in Gauteng and 1% (61,945) in KwaZulu-Natal. People born outside of South Africa amounted to 4% of the province's population or 260,952 people.[27]

The age distribution of the province was as follows: 25.1% were under the age of 15, 18.3% from 15 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 5.9% who are 65 years of age or older.[1]:28 The median age is 28 years.[28]:20 For every 100 women there are 96 men.[28]:18

90% of households in the province have a flush toilet[1]:84 and 90% have refuse removed by the local council at least once a week.[1]:96 75% of households have piped tap water inside the dwelling, while a further 13% have piped water on their property; 11% receive piped water at a community tap, while 1% have no access to piped water.[1]:77 One in seven people live in an informal dwelling.[27]

86.9% of households use electricity for cooking,[1]:84 and 93% use it for lighting.[1]:93 89% of households have a cellphone and 31% have a landline telephone, while 86% own a television, 81% own a refrigerator, and 34% own a computer.[1]:99 44% of households have access to the Internet.[1]:101

The average annual household income was R143,460, the second-highest in the country after Gauteng.[28]:37 As of September 2012, 69% of the population aged 15–64 are economically active, and of these 25% are unemployed. Overall, 52% of the working-age population are employed.[29] Around 2 million people in the Western Cape labour market (those aged 16 to 64) are employed, 1.3 million are not economically active, 552,733 are unemployed with an additional 122,753 who are discouraged work seekers who want to work but have given up looking for it.[27]

According to research conducted by Plus94, the Western Cape is the least racist province in South Africa.[30]

2.7% of residents aged 20 and over have received no schooling, 10.7% have had only some primary, 5.6% have completed primary school but gone no further, 38% have had some secondary education without finishing Grade 12, 28% have finished Grade 12 but gone no further, and 14% have higher education beyond the secondary level. Overall, 43% of residents have completed high school.[1]:49


The Western Cape province has the most highly educated residents with a very skilled workforce in comparison to any other African region.[31] The high school graduation rate is consistently around 80%, higher than any other province. The proportion of adults with a degree or higher was 4.8% (2005),[25] the highest in the country.

The province also boasts four universities:

The province is also home to the South African Military Academy.

UCT Upper Campus landscape view

The University of Cape Town


Over 50% of all cheese in South Africa is produced in the Western Cape.[32]


The Western Cape is known for its wine production and vineyards. The winelands are divided into six main regions: Boberg, Breede River Valley, Cape South Coast, Coastal Region, Klein Karoo and Olifants River. Each has unique climate, topography and fertile soil.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Census 2011: Census in brief (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012. ISBN 9780621413885.
  2. ^ Mid-year population estimates, 2018 (PDF) (Report). Statistics South Africa. 31 July 2018. p. 2. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ Statistics South Africa, 2018. Mid- year population estimates. Available: http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0302/P03022018.pdf
  5. ^ Compton, J.S. (2004).The Rocks and Mountains of Cape Town. p. 24-26, 44–70. Double Storey Books, Cape Town.
  6. ^ a b c d McCarthy, T., Rubridge, B. (2005). The Story of Earth and Life. pp. 188–195,262–266. Struik Publishers, Cape Town
  7. ^ a b Truswell, J.F. (1977). The Geological Evolution of South Africa. pp. 93–96, 114–159. Purnell, Cape Town.
  8. ^ Atlas of Southern Africa. (1984). p. 13. Readers Digest Association, Cape Town
  9. ^ McCarthy, T.S. (2013) The Okavango delta and its place in the geomorphological evolution of Southern Africa. South African Journal of Geology 116: 1–54.
  10. ^ Norman, n. & Whitfield, G. (2006). Geological Journeys. p.290-300. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  11. ^ a b c d Manning, John (2007). "The World of Fynbos". Field Guide to Fynbos. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pp. 8–23. ISBN 9781770072657.
  12. ^ a b c d Trinder-Smith, Terry (2006). "Introduction". Wild Flowers of the Table Mountain National Park. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. pp. 19–35. ISBN 1874999600.
  13. ^ Manning, John (2007). "Cone Bush, Tolbos". Field Guide to Fynbos. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. p. 258. ISBN 9781770072657.
  14. ^ Branch, M & Branch G. (1981). The Living Shores of Southern Africa. pp. 14–18. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  15. ^ Tyson, P.D., Preston-Whyte, R.A. (2000) The Weather and Climate of Southern Africa. pp. 221–223. Oxford University Press, Cape Town
  16. ^ "Black Consciousness and Student Revolt in the Cape". South African History Online. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Black consciousness and student revolt in Cape Town". South African History Online. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  18. ^ Cilliers, Charles. "Khoi-San king declares that the Cape has seceded from SA".
  19. ^ "Khoisan Nation serves Cape Town parliament with eviction notice". 18 July 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Western Cape Economic Overview". Westgro. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Western Cape unemployment rate drops to below 20% - StatsSA". www.iol.co.za. Cape Argus. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  22. ^ Western Cape Government (2017). "SEP Socio-Economic Profile: City of Cape Town" (PDF). www.westerncape.gov.za.
  23. ^ "A profile of the Western Cape province: Demographics, poverty, inequality and unemployment" (PDF). Elsenburg. August 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  24. ^ Adelzadeh, Asghar; et al. South Africa Human Development Report 2003 (PDF). Cape Town: Oxford University Press. p. 282. ISBN 978-0-19-578418-3.
  25. ^ a b "Fast Facts: April–May 2007, Provincial Profile, Western Cape". South African Institute of Race Relations, pg 20. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  26. ^ "Cape Town outshines rest of SA in entrepreneurship". University of Cape Town. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  27. ^ a b c Barnes, Clayton (14 February 2013). "Cape's population by the numbers". Cape Argus. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  28. ^ a b c Census 2011: Statistical release (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 30 October 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  29. ^ Quarterly Labour Force Survey: Quarter 3, 2012 (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 1 November 2012.
  30. ^ "The most racist provinces in South Africa". BusinessTech. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  31. ^ "Skilled Workforce reference". South African Department of Sport And Recreation.
  32. ^ Hurt, J.; Ehlers, S. (2008). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheeses of the World. THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE. DK Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-4406-3618-9.

External links

Coordinates: 34°S 20°E / 34°S 20°E

Beaufort West

Beaufort West (Afrikaans: Beaufort-Wes) is a town in the Western Cape province in South Africa. It is the largest town in the arid Great Karoo region, and is known as the "Capital of the Karoo". It forms part of the Beaufort West Local Municipality, with 34 085 inhabitants in 2011.It is the centre of an agricultural district based mainly on sheep farming, and is a significant town on the N1 national road.

Next door to Beaufort West is the Karoo National Park. Important fossils have been found in the area, initially by David Baird, son of the local magistrate in 1827.

As part of a drive to create employment opportunities, a hydroponics project was started and used to supply premium herbs and vegetables nationally. Despite receiving awards and rescue funding, the project was not sustainable and has been defunct since 2010.

The old Town Hall and the Dutch Reformed Church have been declared national monuments.

Cape Town

Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad [ˈkɑːpstat]; Xhosa: iKapa; Dutch: Kaapstad; South Sotho: Motse Kapa) is the oldest city in South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa and primate city of the Western Cape province. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.

The Parliament of South Africa sits in Cape Town. The other two capitals are located in Pretoria (the executive capital where the Presidency is based) and Bloemfontein (the judicial capital where the Supreme Court of Appeal is located). The city is known for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is home to 64% of the Western Cape's population. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph.Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established Dutch Cape Colony, the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.

George, Western Cape

George is the second largest city in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The city is a popular holiday and conference centre and the administrative, commercial hub and the capital city of the Garden Route.

The city is situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on the Garden Route It is situated on a 10-kilometre plateau between the Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south. The township of Pacaltsdorp lies to the south.


Knysna (; probably from a Khoisan word meaning "place of wood" or roughly "fern leaves") is a town with 68,659 inhabitants as of 2011 in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is part of the Garden Route. It lies 34 degrees south of the equator, and is 55 kilometres east from the city of George on the N2 highway, and 33 kilometres west of the town of Plettenberg Bay on the same road.

List of postal codes in South Africa

Post Codes were introduced in South Africa on 8 October 1973, with the introduction of automated sorting.

List of rivers of South Africa

This is a list of rivers in South Africa.

It is quite common to find the Afrikaans word -rivier as part of the name. Another common suffix is "-kamma", from the Khoisan term for "river"

(often tautologically the English term "river" is added to the name). The Zulu word amanzi (water) also forms part of some river names.

The Afrikaans term spruit (compare spring) often labels small rivers.

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is a harbour town of about 130,000 people on the Southern Cape (or Garden Route) of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province. Mossel Bay lies 400 kilometres east of the country's seat of parliament, Cape Town (which is also the capital city of the Western Cape Province), and 400 km west of Port Elizabeth, the largest city in the Eastern Cape Province. The older parts of the town occupy the north-facing side of the Cape St Blaize Peninsula, whilst the newer suburbs straddle the Peninsula and have spread eastwards along the sandy shore of the Bay.

The town's economy relied heavily on farming, fishing and its commercial harbour (the smallest in the Transnet Port Authority's stable of South African commercial harbours), until the 1969 discovery of natural offshore gas fields led to the development of the gas-to-liquids refinery operated by PetroSA. Tourism is another driver of Mossel Bay's economy.


Oudtshoorn (, Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈɵʊtsˌɦʊərən]), the "ostrich capital of the world", is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, located between the Swartberg mountains to the north and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south. Two ostrich-feather booms, during 1865–1870 and 1900–1914, truly established the settlement. With approximately 60,000 inhabitants, it is the largest town in the Little Karoo region. The town's economy is primarily reliant on the ostrich farming and tourism industries. Oudtshoorn is home to the world's largest ostrich population, with a number of specialized ostrich breeding farms, such as the Safari Show Farm and the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm.

Bhongolethu is a township 10 km (6 mi) east of Oudtshoorn. Derived from Xhosa, its name means "our pride".


Paarl (; Afrikaans: [ˈpɑːrəl] or more commonly [ˈpæːrəl] ; derived from Parel, meaning Pearl in Dutch) is a city with 191,013 inhabitants in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is the third oldest town and European settlement in the Republic of South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch) and the largest town in the Cape Winelands. Due to the growth of the Mbekweni township, it is now a de facto urban unit with Wellington. It is situated about 60 kilometres (37 mi) northeast of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province and is renowned for its haunting scenic beauty and deep viticulture and fruit growing heritage.

Paarl is the seat of the Drakenstein Local Municipality; although not part of the Cape Town metropolitan area, it falls within its economic catchment. Paarl is unusual in South Africa in that the name of the place is pronounced differently in English and Afrikaans. An unusual feature of the name of the town is that Afrikaners customarily attach the definite article to it: people say in die Paarl or in die Pêrel ("in the Paarl"), rather than in Paarl.

Paarl gained international attention when, on 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Correctional Centre (now known as Drakenstein Correctional Centre) in Paarl ending 27 years of imprisonment and beginning the march to South Africa's post-apartheid era and multi-racial elections. Mandela spent three years in prison here living in a private house within the walls. Today, a bronze statue of Mandela stands outside the prison.

Paarl hosted a match from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003. The headquarters of Ceres Fruit Juices are located in the city, although its namesake, Ceres valley and source of much of the fruit, is around one hour's drive to the northeast.

The district is particularly well known for its Pearl Mountain or "Paarl Rock". This huge granite rock is formed by three rounded outcrops that make up Paarl Mountain and has been compared in majesty to Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) in Australia. (However, they are not geologically similar. Paarl Rock consists of intrusive igneous rock, while Uluru is a sedimentary remnant).

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay, nicknamed Plet or Plett, is the primary town of the Bitou Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. As of the census of 2001, there were 29,149 population. It was originally named Bahia Formosa ("beautiful bay") by early Portuguese explorers and lies on South Africa's Garden Route 210 km from Port Elizabeth and about 600 km from Cape Town.

Politics of the Western Cape

The politics of the Western Cape are more complex than in most other provinces of South Africa, because, unlike the other provinces, the African National Congress (ANC) does not dominate the political landscape.

In the election of 2004, no party achieved an absolute majority in the province, with the ANC having a plurality of 45% of the votes. However, the ANC was in an alliance with the New National Party (NNP), which had 11% of the votes, which allowed the ANC-NNP coalition to form a provincial government. During the 2005 floor crossing period all of the NNP members of the Provincial Parliament moved to the ANC, giving the ANC an absolute majority in the province. The ANC chose Ebrahim Rasool as Premier; in 2008 he was replaced by Lynne Brown. The provincial leader of the ANC is Mcebisi Skwatsha.

The official opposition in the Western Cape after the 2004 elections was the Democratic Alliance (DA), which received 27% of the vote in the provincial ballot. The City of Cape Town, the most populous municipality in the province, was governed by a multi-party coalition led by the DA after the 2006 municipal elections. The DA increased its share of the vote during the 2011 municipal elections to 61.09%, giving them a firm majority and allowing them to govern the City of Cape Town without their former coalition partners In the election of 22 April 2009 the ANC was unseated by the DA, which took 51.46% of the vote. This election marked the first time since the end of apartheid that a party scored an overall majority in the province. The DA leader Helen Zille replaced Lynne Brown as Premier on 6 May 2009.In the election of 7 May 2014 the DA maintained its hold on the province, increasing its majority to 59.4%.


Stellenbosch (; Afrikaans: [ˈstɛlənbɔs]) is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, situated about 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of Cape Town, along the banks of the Eerste River at the foot of the Stellenbosch Mountain. It is the second oldest European settlement in the province, after Cape Town. The town became known as the City of Oaks or Eikestad in Afrikaans and Dutch due to the large number of oak trees that were planted by its founder, Simon van der Stel, to grace the streets and homesteads.Stellenbosch has its own municipality (incorporating the neighbouring towns of Pniel and Franschhoek), adjoining the metropolitan area of the City of Cape Town. The town is home to Stellenbosch University. Technopark is a modern science park situated on the southern side of the town near the Stellenbosch Golf Course.


Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch), a town with 17,537 inhabitants situated in the Western Cape province. The town has over 50 provincial heritage sites, most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture. Swellendam is situated on the N2, approximately 220 km from both Cape Town and George.

University of the Western Cape

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a public university located in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. The University of the Western Cape has a history of creative struggle against oppression, discrimination and disadvantage. Among academic institutions it has been in the vanguard of South Africa's historic change, playing a distinctive academic role in helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation. UWC's key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalised participate fully in the life of the nation. The university was established in 1960 by the South African government as a university for Coloured people only. Other universities near Cape Town are the University of Cape Town, (UCT, originally for English speaking whites) and the Stellenbosch University (originally for Afrikaans speaking whites). The establishing of UWC was a direct effect of the Extension of University Education Act, 1959. This law accomplished the segregation of higher education in South Africa. Coloured students were only allowed at a few non-white universities. In this period, other "ethnical" universities, such as the University of Zululand and the University of the North, were founded as well. Since well before the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994, it has been an integrated and multiracial institution.

Wellington, Western Cape

Wellington is a town in the Western Cape Winelands, a 45-minute drive from Cape Town, in South Africa with a population of approximately 62,000. Wellington's economy is centered on agriculture such as wine, table grapes, deciduous fruit and a brandy industry. The town is located 75 km north-east of Cape Town, reached by the N1 motorway and R44. Due to the growth of the Mbekweni township south of the town, it now forms a de facto urban unit with Paarl, just 10 km to the south. Wellington now officially falls under the Drakenstein Local Municipality, which also covers Saron and Paarl.

Western Cape 2012 Farm Workers' strike

The Western Cape 2012 Farm Workers' strike was a wave of strikes and protests by agricultural workers in the Western Cape from 27 August 2012 to the 22 January 2013. The events led the deaths of 3 workers, R160 million in damages as well as a 52% increase in the official minimum wage. The protests mostly took place the towns of De Doorns and Worcester with smaller protests in Ceres, Robertson, Grabouw, Wolseley and Villiersdorp. The main cause of the strikes was low worker pay of R69 (roughly US$8.54 in 2012) per day and high unemployment.

Western Province cricket team (South Africa)

Western Province is the team representing Western Cape province in domestic first-class cricket in South Africa. The team began playing in January 1890 and its main venue has always been Newlands in Cape Town.

Worcester, Western Cape

Worcester ( (listen) WUUS-tər) is a town in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is located 120 kilometres (75 mi) north-east of Cape Town on the N1 highway north to Johannesburg.

Being the largest town in the Western Cape's interior region, it serves as the administrative capital of the Breede Valley Local Municipality and as regional headquarters for most central and Provincial Government Departments. The town also serves as the hub of the Western Cape's interior commercial, distribution and retail activity with a shopping mall, well developed central business district and infrastructure.

Worcester is located at an elevation of 220 metres (720 ft) and can be reached by road either travelling on the N1 highway through the Huguenot Tunnel or by driving through spectacular Mountain passes. From Cape Town Du Toitskloof, from Wellington Bainskloof, from Malmesbury, Western Cape Nieuwekloof, from Ceres Mitchells, from Robertson Goree, from Hermanus Rooihoogte and from Johannesburg Hex River, with vistas over the Hex River Valley.

Geographically, the district is delimited mainly by mountains; to the southwest lies the massive Stettyns mountain range with an annual rainfall in excess of 2000 mm. To the west lie the Du Toitskloof Mountains and northwest lies the Slanghoek, Little Drakenstein, Elandskloof and Lemiet mountain ranges. To the north rises the Hex River Mountains which include the towering peaks of Chavonness, Brandwacht, Fonteintjiesberg and Audensberg. Northeast of the town the colourful Keerom Mountain runs into the Langeberg range.

Worcester and its surroundings form part of the Breede River catchment area, which is fed by a number of smaller rivers supplemented by the run-off from the winter snows in the mountains. The district also includes the Hex River Valley.

Province of the Western Cape
Cities and
major towns


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