Geography, History & Economy
Merafong City Local Municipality is part of West Rand District Municipality.
MDB code: GT484
Description: The Merafong City Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the West Rand District in the Gauteng Province. It is the largest of three municipalities in the district, making up almost half of its geographical area. It is situated about 65km from Johannesburg and is serviced by a number of major roads, including the N12 from Johannesburg to Cape Town and the N14, which is the main road between Gauteng and Mahikeng (previously Mafikeng) via Ventersdorp. Its boundaries enclose some of the richest gold mines in the world.
Formerly a cross-border municipality, the entire municipality was transferred to the North West Province following the abolition of cross-border municipalities by an amendment to the South African Constitution in 2005. The municipality was part of the North West Province from 2005 to 2009, when it was reincorporated into the Gauteng Province by another amendment to the Constitution, following often violent protests in the township of Khutsong.
Merafong’s historical development is closely knit with the discovery of rich gold deposits in the early 1930s. Fochville is the oldest town in the region, and was declared a town in 1951. The town Carletonville was named after Guy Carleton Jones, an engineer from the Gold Fields Ltd mining company, who played a prominent role in the discovery of the West Wits gold field, of which Carletonville forms a part. The mining company decided, in November 1946, to establish the town. Carletonville was proclaimed in 1948 and attained Town Council Status on 1 July 1959.
Wedela is situated between Western Deep Levels and Elandsrand mine. The town’s name is derived from the prefixes of the two mines: the ‘Wed-‘ from Western Deep Levels and the ‘-ela’ from Elandsrand. Wedela was established as a mining village in December 1978 by Harry Oppenheimer, and municipal status was granted to the town on 1 January 1990.
Area: 1 631km²
Cities/Towns: Carletonville, Fochville, Wedela
Main Economic Sectors: Mining (50.7%), trade (9.7%), finance and business services (9.9%), community services (9.2%), general government (9.1%)