8 PIXLEY KA SEME DISTRICT NATURAL RESOURCES AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES The Orange River and its dams provide a bounty for farmers and fishers. The sun and the skies give Pixley ka Seme a competitive edge. Old mining sites are being revisited. The Pixley ka Seme District is well-placed to benefit from two of the greatest and most abundant resources that exist, the sun and the sky. With solar power growing as a global phenomenon at a rapid rate, the wide open spaces and excellent sunshine that beams down in this part of the Northern Cape Province make the district a perfect destination for solar farms. Many major companies and consortiums have already made this investment decision. The Northern Cape is the natural home for the generation of solar power. Long-term annual direct normal irradiance (DNI) at Upington is 2 816kWh/m2, according to a survey done for Stellenbosch University by Slovakian company GeoModal Solar. Approximately 60% of the projects so far allocated in the national Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) have been in the nation’s sunniest province. While the province has rightly been called the home of solar power, some early wind farm investments will celebrate a decade of operations next year. The District lends itself to further investments in solar and wind power, a fact noted in the regional Spatial Development Framework. The central and eastern Karoo also has clear skies like very few other places. This has made it a destination for stargazing for many years and Sutherland to the south-west of the district is the home of South Africa’s optical telescopes. In more recent times Sutherland in the Pixley ka Seme District has been the centre of attention as the site of a global radio telescope project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The amount of data that will be generated by this project is difficult for most people to comprehend. One of the results of that is that young people in the Northern Cape are now being exposed to data science and the possibilities of astronomy like never before. Mathematics teachers at Carnarvon High School are sponsored by SKA. The Pixley ka Seme District Municipality is aware that developing and maintaining infrastructure around the Carnarvon area will help to drive further investment and the creation of jobs. Hopetown is where South Africa’s mineral revolution began. The discovery of a diamond in 1867 was the beginning of the modern era. An old zinc mine at Prieska that produced a million tons of zinc and 430 000 tons of copper before it closed in 1991 is being revived by Australian miner Orion Minerals. A major advantage for the project is that Prieska already has established infrastructure. Another of the great advantages enjoyed by the Pixley ka Seme District is access to water. A visitor driving through some parts of the region might find that an ironic statement, and much of the district is indeed dry which makes it ideal for sheep farming but the Orange River runs along the edge of the district and through it, making irrigation possible and providing for wonderful opportunities for holiday activities too.
9 LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES THE TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE KAROO HAVE A SPECIAL CHARM Visitors are attracted to the peace and quiet of streets where donkey carts are still a common site and walking is not the extreme sport that it is in the big city. The Karoo is also known for its friendly welcome. Many towns in the District were founded because of access to water and they continue to serve as focal points for farming communities, trade and worship. Attractions in towns range from the house where Olive Schreiner lived during the Anglo-Boer War (Hanover) to San rock paintings and water recreation on the banks of the Orange River. Eight local municipalities fall under the Pixley ka Seme District Municipality: EMTHANJENI LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Towns: Britstown, De Aar, Hanover De Aar is the seat of the District Municipality and the location of the district’s tertiary college, the Northern Cape Rural TVET College, above. Olive Schreiner once lived in Hanover and the old Magistrates’ Court, pictured right, is well preserved. The Vanderkloof Dam is a major attraction and the Rolfontein Nature Reserve is a popular destination. SIYANCUMA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Campbell, Douglas, Griekwastad, Schmidtsdrif Both Campbell and Griekwastad played important roles in the history of the Griqua people and famous missionaries visited. Douglas is the home of the large agricultural enterprise, GWK. SIYATHEMBA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Copperton, Marydale, Niekerkshoop, Prieska The area is again the site of mining activity for copper and zinc. There was a time when the Koegas asbestos mine near Marydale was the biggest asbestos mine in the world. The Orange River runs through this area. THEMBELIHLE LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Hopetown, Strydenburg Hopetown is famous as the place where the first diamond was found in South Africa. UBUNTU LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Hutchinson, Loxton, Richmond, Victoria West Famous anti-apartheid priest Beyers Naude started out as a young minister in Loxton. Richmond is a Book Town and consequently has at least two festivals every year, one of which is called Boekbedonnerd. KAREEBERG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Carnarvon, Vanwyksvlei, Vosburg Carnarvon, pictured, has won new prominence because of the location just outside the town of the SKA radio telescope facility. RENOSTERBERG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Petrusville, Philipstown, Van der Kloof Marks of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) can be found in this area. UMSOBOMVU LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Colesberg, Norvalspont, Noupoort Colesberg is at an important intersection on the N1 and has several outstanding examples of architecture that blends Georgian elements with the Cape Dutch style.