Districts of South Africa

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The nine provinces of South Africa are divided into 52 districts (sing. district, Tswana : kgaolo; Sotho : setereke; Northern Sotho : selete; Afrikaans : distrikte; Zulu : isifunda; Southern Ndebele : isiyingi; Xhosa : isithili; Swazi : sigodzi; Venda : tshiṱiriki; Tsonga : xifundza), which are either metropolitan or district municipalities. They are the second level of administrative division, below the provinces and (in the case of district municipalities) above the local municipalities.


As a consequence of the 12th amendment of the Constitution in December 2005, which altered provincial boundaries, the number of districts was reduced from 53. Another effect of the amendment is that each district is now completely contained within a single province, thus eliminating cross-border districts. The districts also cover the entire area of the continental republic.

Types of district

There are two types of municipality at the district level. Most of the country is covered by the 44 district municipalities, which are divided into local municipalities and share responsibilities with them. The eight largest urban agglomerations are governed by metropolitan municipalities, which act as both local and district municipalities.

District municipality

A district municipality or Category C municipality is a municipality which executes some of the functions of local government for a district. The district municipality will in turn comprise several local municipalities, with which it shares the functions of local government. Although the word county is not used in legislation, district municipalities are regularly referred to as such informally. The equivalent is also used in other South African languages such as "kontrei" in Afrikaans. District municipalities are seen as successors to former Regional Services Councils (RSC). [1]

The Constitution, section 155.1.a, [2] defines "Category C" municipalities. The Municipal Structures Act [3] states that areas not eligible to have a metropolitan municipality must have a district municipality.

District municipalities have a municipality code that consists of the letters "DC" followed by a number from 1 to 48. The "DC" reflects the fact that they were originally named "District Councils".

District management areas

Currently all district municipalities are completely divided into local municipalities. However, before the alteration of municipal boundaries which occurred at the 2011 elections, some areas of the country did not fall within any local municipality. This usually occurred in areas with a very low population density, for example national parks and nature reserves. In these areas, which were known as District Management Areas, all local government services were provided by the district municipality.


The following map depicts the provinces and districts of South Africa. The district municipalities are labelled with numbers that correspond to their district code, while the metropolitan municipalities are labelled with letters that correspond to their names. Further details of the districts are listed in the table that follows the image.

Map of South Africa with provinces shaded and districts numbered (2016).svg

(km²) [4]
(2016) [5]
Pop. density
(per km2)
44 Alfred Nzo District Municipality DC44 Eastern Cape Mount Ayliff 10,731867,86480.9
25 Amajuba District Municipality DC25 KwaZulu-Natal Newcastle 7,102531,32774.8
12 Amathole District Municipality DC12 Eastern Cape East London 21,117880,79041.7
37 Bojanala Platinum District Municipality DC37 North West Rustenburg 18,3331,657,14890.4
B Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality BUF Eastern Cape East London 2,750834,997303.6
2 Cape Winelands District Municipality DC2 Western Cape Worcester 21,473866,00140.3
35 Capricorn District Municipality DC35 Limpopo Polokwane 21,7051,330,43661.3
5 Central Karoo District Municipality DC5 Western Cape Beaufort West 38,85474,2471.9
13 Chris Hani District Municipality DC13 Eastern Cape Komani 36,407840,05523.1
C City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality CPT Western Cape Cape Town 2,4464,005,0161,637.6
J City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality JHB Gauteng Johannesburg 1,6454,949,3473,008.8
T City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality TSH Gauteng Pretoria 6,2983,275,152520.0
40 Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality DC40 North West Klerksdorp 14,671742,82150.6
39 Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality DC39 North West Vryburg 43,764459,35710.5
32 Ehlanzeni District Municipality DC32 Mpumalanga Mbombela 27,8961,754,93162.9
Ek Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality EKU Gauteng Germiston 1,9753,379,1041,710.6
Et eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality ETH KwaZulu-Natal Durban 2,5563,702,2311,448.5
20 Fezile Dabi District Municipality DC20 Free State Sasolburg 20,668494,77723.9
9 Frances Baard District Municipality DC9 Northern Cape Kimberley 12,836387,74130.2
4 Garden Route District Municipality DC4 Western Cape George 23,331611,27826.2
30 Gert Sibande District Municipality DC30 Mpumalanga Ermelo 31,8411,135,40935.7
43 Harry Gwala District Municipality DC43 KwaZulu-Natal Ixopo 10,386510,86549.2
29 iLembe District Municipality DC29 KwaZulu-Natal KwaDukuza 3,269657,612201.2
14 Joe Gqabi District Municipality DC14 Eastern Cape Barkly East 25,617372,91214.6
45 John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality DC45 Northern Cape Kuruman 27,322242,2648.9
28 King Cetshwayo District Municipality DC28 KwaZulu-Natal Richards Bay 8,213971,135118.2
18 Lejweleputswa District Municipality DC18 Free State Welkom 32,287646,92020.0
M Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality MAN Free State Bloemfontein 9,886787,80379.7
33 Mopani District Municipality DC33 Limpopo Giyani 20,0111,159,18557.9
6 Namakwa District Municipality DC6 Northern Cape Springbok 126,836115,4880.9
N Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality NMA Eastern Cape Port Elizabeth 1,9571,263,051645.4
38 Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality DC38 North West Mahikeng 28,114889,10831.6
31 Nkangala District Municipality DC31 Mpumalanga Middelburg 16,7581,445,62486.3
15 OR Tambo District Municipality DC15 Eastern Cape Mthatha 12,1411,457,384120.0
3 Overberg District Municipality DC3 Western Cape Bredasdorp 12,239286,78623.4
7 Pixley ka Seme District Municipality DC7 Northern Cape De Aar 103,411195,5951.9
10 Sarah Baartman District Municipality DC10 Eastern Cape Port Elizabeth 58,245479,9238.2
42 Sedibeng District Municipality DC42 Gauteng Vereeniging 4,173957,528229.5
47 Sekhukhune District Municipality DC47 Limpopo Groblersdal 13,5281,169,76286.5
19 Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality DC19 Free State Phuthaditjhaba 32,734779,33023.8
21 Ugu District Municipality DC21 KwaZulu-Natal Port Shepstone 4,791753,336157.2
22 uMgungundlovu District Municipality DC22 KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg 9,6021,095,865114.1
27 uMkhanyakude District Municipality DC27 KwaZulu-Natal Mkuze 13,855689,09049.7
24 uMzinyathi District Municipality DC24 KwaZulu-Natal Dundee 8,652554,88264.1
23 uThukela District Municipality DC23 KwaZulu-Natal Ladysmith 11,134706,58863.5
34 Vhembe District Municipality DC34 Limpopo Thohoyandou 25,5961,393,94954.5
36 Waterberg District Municipality DC36 Limpopo Modimolle 44,913745,75816.6
1 West Coast District Municipality DC1 Western Cape Moorreesburg 31,119436,40314.0
48 West Rand District Municipality DC48 Gauteng Randfontein 4,087838,594205.2
16 Xhariep District Municipality DC16 Free State Trompsburg 34,250125,8843.7
8 ZF Mgcawu District Municipality DC8 Northern Cape Upington 102,484252,6922.5
26 Zululand District Municipality DC26 KwaZulu-Natal Ulundi 14,799892,31060.3

Boundary alignment

Several projects are underway to align various services with the district boundaries. [6] These include:


South Africa's official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, believes that the districts add an unnecessary fourth layer of government (between provinces and municipalities) and has called for them to be eliminated. [7]

See also

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  1. "Towards Co-Operative Relations Between District And Local Municipalities" (PDF). Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  2. "Documents - Constitution - 1996 - Chapter 7 - Local Government". Info.gov.za. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  3. "Local Government: Municipal Structures Act [No. 117 of 1998] G 19614 GoN 1650" (PDF). gov.za. 18 December 1998. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  4. "2016 Boundaries". Municipal Demarcation Board (Shapefile). 2016.
  5. "Community Survey 2016". Statistics South Africa (Data file). 2016. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  6. Service Delivery Boundary Alignment Archived 15 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "The Arms Deal Scandal". 3 May 2006. Archived from the original on 3 May 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2018.