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Limpopo Province

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Title: Limpopo Province  
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Limpopo Province

This article is about the province in South Africa. For other uses, see Limpopo (disambiguation).
"Northern Transvaal" redirects here. For the rugby union team, see Blue Bulls.

Template:Use South African English

Province of South Africa
Coat of arms of Limpopo
Coat of arms
Motto: Peace, Unity and Prosperity

Location of Limpopo in South Africa
Country South Africa
Established 27 April 1994
Capital Polokwane
 • Type Parliamentary system
 • Premier Stanley Mathabatha (ANC)
 • Total 125,754 km2 (48,554 sq mi)
Area rank 5th in South Africa
Highest elevation 2,126 m (6,975 ft)
Population (2011)[1]:18[2]
 • Total 5,404,868
 • Estimate (2013) 5,518,000
 • Rank 5th in South Africa
 • Density 43/km2 (110/sq mi)
 • Density rank 5th in South Africa
Population groups[1]:21
 • Black African 96.7%
 • White 2.6%
 • Indian or Asian 0.3%
 • Coloured 0.3%
 • Northern Sotho 52.9%
 • Tsonga 17.0%
 • Venda 16.7%
 • Afrikaans 2.6%
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code ZA-LP

Limpopo /lɪmˈpp/ is the northernmost province of South Africa. It is named after the Limpopo River that flows across the province; the name "Limpopo" has its etymological origin from the Sepedi word diphororo tša meetse - meaning strong gushing waterfalls. Sepedi language is spoken by a third of the people in the province. The capital is Polokwane, formerly named Pietersburg.

The province was formed from the northern region of Transvaal Province in 1994, and initially named Northern Transvaal. The following year, it was renamed Northern Province, which remained the name until 2003, when the name of the province was formally changed to the name of its most important river–on the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana–after deliberation by the provincial government and amendment of the Constitution. A notable consideration for the name was Mapungubwe, the area where the most ancient gold-using civilisation of the province was discovered a few years earlier.

Limpopo is the South African province with the highest level of poverty, with 78.9% of the population living below the national poverty line.[3] In 2011, 74.4% of local dwellings were located in a tribal or traditional area, compared to a national average of 27.1%.[4]

Law and government

Main article: Politics of Limpopo

The current premier of Limpopo province is Stanley Mathabatha of the African National Congress.


Limpopo Province shares international borders with districts and provinces of three countries: Botswana's Central and Kgatleng districts to the west and north-west respectively, Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces to the north and northeast respectively, and Mozambique's Gaza Province to the east.[5] The province is the link between South Africa and countries further afield in sub-Saharan Africa. On its southern flank from east to west, the province shares borders with Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and North West. Its border with Gauteng includes that province's Johannesburg-Pretoria axis, the most industrialised metropole on the continent. The province is at the centre of regional, national, and international developing markets.

The province contains much of the Waterberg Biosphere, a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve. The Waterberg Biosphere, a massif of approximately 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi), is the first region in the northern part of South Africa to be named as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The massif was shaped by hundreds of millions of years of riverine erosion to yield diverse bluff and butte landforms.[6] The Waterberg ecosystem can be characterised as a dry deciduous forest or Bushveld. Within the Waterberg, archaeological finds date to the Stone Age. Nearby are early evolutionary finds related to the origin of humans.


Limpopo Province is divided into five municipal districts, subdivided in 24 local municipalities:


The population of Limpopo consists of several ethnic groups distinguished by culture, language and race. 97.3% of the population is Black, 2.4% is White, 0.2% is Coloured, and 0.1% is Indian/Asian. The province has the smallest percentage and second smallest by number of white South Africans in the country. It also has the highest Black percentage out of all the provinces.

The Northern Sotho (of which the Bapedi are part of) make up the largest percentage of the African population, being 52% of the province. The Tsonga (Shangaan) speakers comprise about 17.0% of the province, while the Venda make up about 16.7%. Afrikaners makes up the majority of whites in Limpopo, about 95 000. English-speaking whites are just over 20 000. Vhembe district has the smallest share of white people in Limpopo, about 5 000 whites reside in the Vhembe district, while the Waterberg district has the largest share of whites, more than 60 000 whites reside there. Coloureds and Asians/Indians make up a very small number.

HIV / Aids

At 18.5% (2007) The Limpopo has a fairly high rate of HIV compared to other South African provinces. Although there was slight a fall in cases between 2005 and 2007, cases rose from 14.5% to 21.5% between 2001 and 2005.[7]


The province is a typical developing area, exporting primary products and importing manufactured goods and services. It is also one of the poorest regions of South Africa, especially rural areas.[8] However the Limpopo has shown great improvements in the economy and in standard of living. A recent border shift with the Limpopo's wealthier neighbour, Mpumalanga, was effected to try and bring some wealth into the province.


The bushveld is cattle country, where extensive ranching operations are often supplemented by controlled hunting. About 80% of South Africa's game hunting industry is found in Limpopo.

Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated in the Bela-Bela and Modimolle areas. Modimolle is also known for its table-grape crops.

Tropical fruit–such as bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaws–as well as a variety of nuts, are grown in the Tzaneen and Makhado areas. Tzaneen is also at the centre of extensive citrus, tea and coffee plantations, as well as forestry.


Limpopo's rich mineral deposits include the platinum group metals, iron ore, chromium high- and middle-grade coking coal, diamonds, antimony, phosphate, and copper—as well as mineral reserves like gold, emeralds, scheelite, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon, and mica. Commodities such as black granite, corundum, and feldspar are also found. Mining contributes to over a fifth of the provincial economy. The Waterberg Coalfield, the eastern extension of Botswana's Mmamabula coalfields, is estimated to contain 40% of South Africa's coal resources.[9]


Tourism is one of the three pillars of the Limpopo economy along with mining and agribusiness,.[10] In 2008, the Province accounted for 5% of all foreign tourist bed nights in South Africa, numbers which are showing strong annual growth. The R 93 million Provincial tourism budget for 2010/11 represents 11% of Limpopo's total budget.[10]


Near Limpopo, at Sunland Baobab farms, there is a large Baobab tree which has been fashioned into a rather spacious pub.[12]

Tourism Development

The Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism has targeted the province as a preferred eco-tourism destination. Its Environment and Tourism Programme encompasses tourism, protected areas and community environment development to achieve sustainable economic growth[11]

Whilst Limpopo is one of South Africa's poorest provinces, it is rich in wildlife which gives it an edge in attracting tourism. Both the private and public sectors are investing in tourism development.

Infrastructure and communications

The province has excellent road, rail, and air links. The N1 route from Johannesburg, which extends the length of the province, is the busiest overland route in Africa in terms of cross-border trade in raw materials and beneficiated goods. The port of Durban, Africa’s busiest, is served directly by the province, as are the ports of Richards Bay and Maputo. The Polokwane International Airport is situated in Polokwane, the capital of the province.


The branch is charged with the responsibility of effecting quality education and training for all. It was during this time that the branch had to shape up its direction and co-ordinate all professional developments and support. Policies, systems, and procedures had to be developed. This was not easily achievable due to lack of personnel to effect change.

Hereunder follows a brief description of the activities which the branch carried out.

Curriculum development and education technology

The greater part of this was characterised by a series of workshop on awareness and training on Curriculum 2005. Learning programmes were developed up to the selection of the relevant learning materials for grade 1 for 1998. The new curriculum for Grade 1 was subjected to a trailing phase with few selected pilot schools. This was seen as a breakthrough in breaking with the past in terms of philosophy and methodology of approach to concepts and information.

In order for teaching and learning to be effective workshops were also conducted on Technology Enhanced Learning Initiative. This was seen as a marriage between theory and practice to improvise for the effectiveness of the learning experience. Pilot schools were selected for Technology 2005 which, in spite of the lack of necessary equipment, was seen as a success.

Structural affairs and statistics

There was not much progress realised in this area due to the lack of personnel and necessary equipment. There was almost total dependence on outsourcing which in a way crippled this department in terms of building capacity to the skeleton staff available. The department could not capture all the necessary data. In order to plan properly one should have access to information and also develop management systems for the sake of control and monitoring. Although a number of a strategic planning units is seen as a handicap towards development.

Early childhood development

Much progress was made in this area through the assistance of UNICEF which provided technical assistance towards the development of ECD policy document. All stakeholders participated to produce a policy document.

Projects and funding

There was an advocacy campaign to educate the communities on the delivery of basic educational needs, e.g. classroom provisioning.

The directorate drew proposals for Japan International Cooperation Agency and was instrumental in effecting the Interactive Tele-teaching Programme with funds from Limpopo Education Development Trust. Business plans for the RDP projects were developed and also funding proposal for the Presidential Education Initiative which involved foreign countries. Workshops on ABET were conducted focusing on the implementation of the new policy. Stakeholders were involved with the national department taking the lead towards the development of action plans.

Educational institutions

  • Other educational institutions
    • Southern Africa Wildlife College


See also


External links

  • Limpopo Provincial Government
  • Limpopo Tourism Agency
  1. REDIRECT Template:Administrative divisions of South Africa

Coordinates: 24°S 29°E / 24°S 29°E / -24; 29

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