By Fiona Wakelin
Northern Cape is, at the same time, the biggest and the smallest province in South Africa – biggest in terms of area, covering more than 372 000 kms and smallest in terms of population, which totals just over 1.3 million. The economy relies heavily on mining and agriculture, with the Big Hole in Kimberley, the provincial capital, recalling the 1870s diamond rush.
The remoteness of its location resulted in the Northern Cape being selected as the setting of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project – an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a collecting area that will eventually cover a square kilometre (one million square metres). Both South Africa’s Karoo region and Western Australia’s Murchison Shire were chosen as co-hosting locations for many scientific and technical reasons, from the atmospherics above the sites, through to the radio quietness, which comes from being some of the most remote locations on Earth. The radio telescopes will be able to provide information about the origin and evolution of the Universe.
Places to visit
Tankwa Karoo – think AfrikaBurn
Orange River – kayaking
Witsand – home to the roaring Sands of the Kalahari
Augrabies Falls National Park
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Kleinzee – oysters and abalone
On the ground
In November last year the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr. Zamani Saul, together with the MEC for Roads and Public Works, Ms. Fufe Makatong, welcomed 98 learners from the Pixley Ka Seme District into the Construction Road Maintenance Short Skills Programme. The Premier and MEC were accompanied by the MEC for Sports Arts and Culture, Ms. Desery Finies, as they tackled employment head on. This forms part of the Construction Road Maintenance Short Skills Programme which was launched in Keimoes by the Premier. The main objective of this programme is to train unemployed youth which will meaningfully contribute towards the maintenance of road infrastructure in the Pixley Ka Seme District and in the Province.
This is a 3-month programme, in partnership with the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA). The Accredited Training Provider and the Department of Roads and Public Roads have entered into a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which will ensure that quality training is delivered and to clearly outline the obligations of all role players to this agreement. Learners will receive credits towards achieving a qualification. After concluding the 3-month programme, learners will be enrolled into a 12-month learnership and a 36-month apprenticeship.
In his address to the learners assembled at the town hall in Phillipstown, the Premier Dr. Zamani Saul urged the learners to take up the opportunity and not take it for granted because the aim is to take young people out of the pool of unemployment.
The Northern Cape achieved a 71.4% pass rate in the 2021 National Senior Certificate exams, an increase of 5.4% from 2020, making it the most-improved province in terms of its percentage increase.
Experience Northern Cape