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BCRM Overview

Blue Crane Route Local Municipality is a Category B Municipality in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province. Blue Crane Route Municipality is named after the South African national bird, the Blue Crane.

Blue Crane Route is the second largest municipality of seven in the Sarah Baartman District, accounting 19% of the geographical area. The municipality covers an area of approximately 11,068 square kilometres with a population of nearly 40 000 people in the three (3) towns of Cookhouse, Pearston and Somerset East. Somerset East is the administrative centre of the Blue Crane Route Municipal Area and it is situated at the foot of the Boschberg Mountains.

The area is characterized by a small population, low populations density, concentration of employment in agriculture, disinvestment in rural areas, the dominance of one urban centre in the region and the resultant disparity between rural and urban areas. In addition to this, the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality has a high prevalence of poverty and declining employment levels.

An analysis of the contribution of the various economic sectors to the Blue Crane economy may be summarised as follows:

  • The transport and communication is the largest contributor to GGP with 22.8% contribution;
  • The government sector (particularly health and education) contributes significantly 18.8% to the GGP;
  • Finance, business services (12.2) and the manufacturing sector (12%) also contributes significantly to the GGP;
  • The contribution of Agriculture (11.3%) has declined in recent years;
  • There has been a significant decline in the contribution of the wholesale and retail trade sector; and
  • The contribution of community services (9%) and construction (2%) to the GGP has increased over the years.

The construction industry has also experienced growth due to the initiation of renewable energy (Wind Farms) in this area. The manufacturing and government sectors have been consistent contributors to employment in the area. The highest levels of employment in the formal sector are in the agricultural sector and the community services sector. The agricultural sector employs the highest percentage of people therefore it plays a fairly big economic role.

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