The Districts of the Eastern Cape
Just as the climate and terrain of the Eastern Cape varies tremendously from the dry Karoo to the rolling hills of Transkei, so the economy of the province changes between its different districts. Each district has its own strengths, challenges and opportunities.
Local government elections in December 2000 heralded a new system of district and local municipalities nationally and in the province. The new municipal boundaries were deliberately drawn to include the diverse conditions and economies of the province. Local municipalities cover towns and surrounding rural areas. Five out of the six district municipalities of the Eastern Cape include areas that are in the former Transkei or Ciskei. The districts of the Eastern Cape are: Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani, Amathole, OR Tambo, Ukhahlamba and Cacadu. The province also has one metropole (metropolitan area or city), the Nelson Mandela Metropole.
District and local municipalities will play an important role in local economic development (LED) through provision of public services and through development projects, especially in the poorest areas. They have drawn up Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) to identify their priorities for supporting economic and social development. The larger district municipalities are taking on growing responsibilities for infrastructure, including rural roads, water and sanitation, and housing. The 38 local municipalities will in time become the main point of delivery for social services, including education, health and welfare.