|Joe Gqabi District
Area: 4,164 square kilometres
Major towns: Aliwal Burgersdorp, Steynsburg and Venterstad, Aliwal North and Jamestown, Barkly East, Rhodes, Rossouw, Lady Grey and Sterkspruit, Mt Fletcher, Maclear, Ugie
Bordering the Free State and Lesotho, the Joe Gqabi District has the smallest population of the Eastern Cape’s six districts and borders on the Free State and Lesotho.
Its population is largely Black (94%) who speak Xhosa. However, Sesotho is spoken closer to the Lesotho border.
Like many of the other Eastern Cape districts, the Joe Gqabi district relies heavily on agriculture and a small amount of agro-processing. Small-stock farming in the Karoo areas produces wool, mohair and mutton. Cattle, goat and sheep farming are also practiced.
The performance of the district has been satisfactory over the past decade or so, with an average annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010 of 5.2%. In 2010 the growth rate was only 2.3%.
The tertiary sector is the largest contributor to the municipality's economy, with a contribution of 80%. This is followed by the secondary sector (14.9%) and the primary sector (5.1%).
In 2010, its unemployment rate stood at 24.93%.