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North West (South African province)

North West
Bokone Bophirima (Tswana)
Noordwes (Afrikaans)
Province of South Africa
Coat of arms of North West
Coat of arms
Motto: Kagiso le Tswelelopele (Peace and Prosperity)
Map showing the location of the North West province in South Africa
Location of North West in South Africa
Country South Africa
Established 27 April 1994
Capital Mafikeng
Largest city Rustenburg
 • Type Parliamentary system
 • Premier Supra Mahumapelo (ANC)
 • Total 104,882 km2 (40,495 sq mi)
Area rank 6th in South Africa
Highest elevation 1,805 m (5,922 ft)
Population (2011)[1]:18[2]
 • Total 3,509,953
 • Estimate (2014) 3,676,300
 • Rank 7th in South Africa
 • Density 33/km2 (87/sq mi)
 • Density rank 7th in South Africa
Population groups[1]:21
 • Black African 89.8%
 • White 7.3%
 • Coloured 2.0%
 • Indian or Asian 0.6%
 • Tswana 63.4%
 • Afrikaans 9.0%
 • Sotho 5.8%
 • Xhosa 5.5%
 • Tsonga 3.7%
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code ZA-NW

North West is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Mahikeng. The province is located to the west of the major population centre of Gauteng.


  • History 1
  • Law and government 2
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
    • Borders 3.2
  • Municipalities 4
    • Cities and towns 4.1
  • Economy 5
  • Demographics 6
  • Education 7
  • Sports 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


North West was created after the end of Apartheid in 1994, and includes parts of the former Transvaal Province and Cape Province, as well as most of the former Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. It was the scene of political violence in Khutsong, Merafong City Local Municipality in 2006 and 2007, after cross-province municipalities were abolished and Merafong Municipality was transferred entirely to North West. Merafong has since been transferred to Gauteng province in 2009.

Law and government

The provincial government consists of a premier, an executive council of ten ministers, and a legislature. The provincial assembly and premier are elected for five-year terms, or until the next national election. Political parties are awarded assembly seats based on the percentage of votes each party receives in the province during the national elections. The assembly elects a premier, who then appoints the members of the executive council.

The premier of North West Province as of 21 May 2014 is Supra Mahumapelo[3] of the African National Congress. He replaced Thandi Modise as premier after the 2014 general election.


Hamerkop Kloof between Rustenburg and Pretoria on north-facing slopes of Magaliesberg

Much of the province consists of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the northeast extends about 130 km (about 80 miles) from Pretoria to Rustenburg. The Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province.


Temperatures range from 17° to 31 °C (62° to 88 °F) in the summer and from 3° to 21 °C (37° to 70 °F) in the winter. Annual rainfall totals about 360 mm (about 14 in), with almost all of it falling during the summer months, between October and April.


North West borders the following districts of Botswana:

Domestically, it borders the following provinces:

North West Province is traversed by the northwesterly line of equal latitude and longitude.


The North West province has 4 district municipalities and 19 local municipalities, listed below.

Cities and towns

Population 100,000+
Population 50,000+
Population 10,000+
Population < 10,000


The Bridge of Time facing the Entertainment Centre

The mainstay of the economy of North West Province is mining, which generates more than half of the province's gross domestic product and provides jobs for a quarter of its workforce. The chief minerals are gold, mined at Orkney and Klerksdorp; uranium, mined at Klerksdorp; platinum, mined at Rustenburg and Brits; and diamonds, mined at Lichtenburg, Christiana, and Bloemhof. The northern and western parts of the province have many sheep farms and cattle and game ranches. The eastern and southern parts are crop-growing regions that produce maize (corn), sunflowers, tobacco, cotton, and citrus fruits. The entertainment and casino complex at Sun City and Lost City also contributes to the provincial economy.


Population density in the North West
Dominant home languages in the North West

The majority of the province's residents are the Tswana people who speak Tswana. Smaller groups include Afrikaans, Sotho, and Xhosa speaking people. English is spoken primarily as a second language. Most of the population belong to Christian denominations. (Figures according to Census 2001 released in July 2003).

According to the 2007 community survey 90.8% of the province's population was Black (mostly Tswana-speaking), 7.2% as White (mostly Afrikaans speaking), 1.6% as Coloured and 0.4% as Asian. The 2007 community survey showed the province had a population of just over 3 million. The province's white population is very unevenly distributed. In the southern and eastern municipalities, the white percentage in double figures such as the Tlokwe and Matlosana where the white percentages were 27% and 12% respectively.

The province has the lowest number of people aged 35 years and older (5,9%) who have received higher education.Since 1994 the number of people receiving higher education has increased. After the disbanding of the bantustans, many people migrated to the economic centres of Cape Town and Gauteng.


The province had two universities: the University of North West, which was formerly called the University of Bophuthatswana (founded in 1979), in Mmabatho; and Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (founded in 1869; became a constituent college of the University of South Africa in 1921 and an independent university in 1951). These two universities have now merged and the new institution is called North-West University.

There is also a private university found in Klerksdorp: Centurion Akademie Klerksdorp, which caters mainly to Afrikaans students. Because it its a private institution classes may be in Afrikaans and the foundation of education gained at Centurion Akademie is based on the Christian faith. It is also the largest institution of its kind in existence.

As part of the Department of Education's proposed plans for higher education, the existing four higher learning institutions will be merged to form two. During 2003, as part of the Year of Further Education and Training project, three mega institutions, Taletso, ORBIT and Vuselela, were established to provide technical and vocational training to the youth. These institutions have been incorporated into many of the former education and technical colleges and manpower centres.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d Census 2011: Census in brief. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012.  
  2. ^ Mid-year population estimates, 2014 (Report). Statistics South Africa. 31 July 2014. p. 3. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  3. ^ North West Provincial Government Official Website

External links

  • North West Provincial Government
  • North West Parks and Tourism Board

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