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Prior to 1994, the term "city" was reserved for certain municipalities that formally achieved city status from government. Following South Africa's first universal suffrage election in 1994, and following the redivision of South Africa from 4 provinces into 9 provinces, the municipalities prior to 1994 ceased to exist and new demarcations were established. Currently, the term "city" has no official definition in South Africa and the word means different things to different people.



South Africa has nine metropolitan municipalities. They are:

  • Buffalo City (East London and surrounds)
  • Cape Town (the Cape peninsula)
  • Ekurhuleni (in the east of Gauteng, East Rand)
  • eThekwini (Durban and surrounds)
  • Johannesburg (in the centre of Gauteng)
  • Mangaung (Bloemfontein and surrounds)
  • Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg and surrounds)
  • Nelson Mandela Metropole (Port Elizabeth and surrounds)
  • Tshwane (North Gauteng, mainly Pretoria).[1]

The metropoles of Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane are not distinct but form a single conurbation. The metropoles of eThekwini and Msunduzi are distinct but in close proximity of each other.

Municipalities by population

In 2007, there were six (6) municipalities with more than 1 million inhabitants (in 2001 there were 6) [2], and 8 with between 500 000 and 1 million inhabitants (in 2001 there were 6).

In 2007, the 30 municipalities with more than 300 000 inhabitants were[3]:

Code[A] Name 2007 population 2007 households Main settlement(s) Province
JHB City of Johannesburg 3888180 1165014 Johannesburg Gauteng
CPT City of Cape Town 3497097 902278 Cape Town Western Cape
ETH eThekwini 3468086 833859 Durban KwaZulu-Natal
EKU Ekurhuleni 2724229 849349 Germiston Gauteng
TSH City of Tshwane 2345908 686640 Pretoria Gauteng
NMA Nelson Mandela Bay Metro 1050930 276881 Port Elizabeth Eastern Cape
FS172 Mangaung [1] 752906 202762 Bloemfontein Free State
EC125 Buffalo City 724312 208389 East London Eastern Cape
GT421 Emfuleni 650867 196480 Vanderbijlpark Gauteng
KZN225 Msunduzi 616730 134390 Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal
LIM343 Thulamela [2] 602819 137852 Thohoyandou Limpopo
LIM354 Polokwane 561772 130361 Polokwane Limpopo
MP322 Mbombela 527203 137353 Nelspruit Mpumalanga
MP325 Bushbuckridge [3] 509970 124595 Bushbuckridge Mpumalanga
LIM344 Makhado [4] 471805 114060 Louis Trichardt Limpopo
NW373 Rustenburg 449776 146542 Rustenburg North West
EC157 King Sabata Dalindyebo [5] 444830 93383 Mthatha Eastern Cape
MP312 Emalahleni 435217 105592 Witbank Mpumalanga
FS184 Matjhabeng [6] 405031 131622 Welkom Free State
NW403 City of Matlosana [7] 385782 115969 Klerksdorp North West
FS194 Maluti a Phofung 385413 97172 QwaQwa Free State
NW372 Madibeng [8] 371197 96361 Brits North West
LIM333 Greater Tzaneen 349087 89831 Tzaneen Limpopo
LIM475 Greater Tubatse [9] 343468 66611 Ohrigstad, Burgersfort Limpopo
MP324 Nkomazi [10] 338095 78254 KaNgwane Mpumalanga
KZN282 uMhlathuze [11] 332156 81005 Richards Bay, Empangeni KwaZulu-Natal
LIM367 Mogalakwena [12] 330649 75313 Mokopane Limpopo
KZN252 Newcastle [13] 327637 77786 Newcastle KwaZulu-Natal
GT481 Mogale City [14] 319641 94288 Krugersdorp, Kagiso Gauteng
EC155 Nyandeni [15] 314273 56851 Libode Eastern Cape

A^  Each municipality is assigned a unique Municipal Code. District municipality codes have a DC prefix followed by one or two digits. Local municipality codes have a two or three character prefix related to the Province the municipality is located in, i.e. GT for Gauteng, EC for the Eastern Cape. This prefix is followed by three digits, the first two corresponding to the numeric portion of the code for the district municipality it is located in. The six metropolitan municipalities each has a three character code based on the name of the municipality.

Municipalities in the above list may include several towns. Some of them consist of hundreds of tiny settlements in very close proximity to each other. This is particarly true of municipalities made up of former Bantustans, eg KaNgwane and QwaQwa, and Libode in Transkei, where distributed, non-Western settlement models are practised.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^


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