According to the 2007 estimates Gert Sibande is home to 981 561 people and accounts for 26.7% of the Mpumalanga population. The Gert Sibande District is a sparsely populated area of about 31 people per square km in comparison with Johannesburg, the rest of Mpumalanga, Gauteng and South Africa. The district has shown a slightly larger population growth than provincial and national averages – 1.7% per annum on average from 1996 to about 2007 compared to 1.6% in the province and 1.3% nationally. In the same period, Mkhondo grew at an annual average rate of 3.2% making it the fastest growing municipal population followed by Pixley ka Seme (2.3%), Msukaligwa (2.3%), Lekwa (2.1%) and Govan Mbeki (1.7%) while the Dipaleseng (0.2%) and Albert Luthuli (0.3%) rates were the only municipalities below the provincial average.
More than half of the district’s population namely 52,76% and almost two thirds of the households (62,04%) live in urbanized areas. With nearly a third of the households namely 29,67% residing on farmland, a lot of pressure has been put on local municipalities in the region to collaborate with farm owners in providing land, a challenge that has been faced to a greater or lesser extent in most parts of South Africa. Furthermore, people residing in rural areas (more than 8% of the district population) do not own the land on which they live, which means they do not qualify to receive housing subsidies, which come with proper services.
In 2008, blacks accounted for the majority (90.7%) of the Gert Sibande population while Whites, Coloureds and Asians comprised 8.2%; 0.5% and 0.7% of the population respectively. This variable is consistent with both the provincial and national population characteristics. In case of the constituent local municipalities Albert Luthuli which is a more rural municipality has the highest number of blacks contributing 97, 8% while Govan Mbeki LM has the lowest number of black population in the entire GSDM area. In contrast to all the municipalities Govan Mbeki and Lekwa have over 10% of their population being white 0.15% and 0.11% respectively while Albert Luthuli has the lowest number of the white population. The trend throughout GSDM is that there are more blacks followed by whites, coloureds, then the population of the Asian origin with the exception of Lekwa where there are more coloureds than white.
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