The Eastern Cape Community Education and Training College as a beacon of hope and light will serve to educate and skill the diverse community of the Eastern Cape Province It is constituted of 30 Community Learning Centres with 249 satellites which are scattered all over the province.  These CLCs are situated in six District Municipalities and two Metropolitans where some are within the reach of approximately 20 km apart while others are approximately 40 km apart from one another. Eastern Cape Province is mostly rural with minimal mineral base. It depends on agriculture, automotive industry, government, civil society organisations and informal economy (hawkers) as drivers of the local economy.

The Eastern Cape has six district municipalities and two metropolitan municipalities, briefly explained here under.

Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality

Towns: East London, King Williams Town

The Port of East London is South Africa’s only river port. The airport, rail links and the East London Special Economic Zone contribute to making this an important regional centre. Buffalo City hosts a variety of manufacturers from vehicles to batteries and cotton textiles. There are many opportunities for agri-processing because of the fertile hinterland and as part of the Sunshine Coast, tourism is an important contributor to the local economy.

Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality

Towns: Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch

With two ports, a large airport and a concentration of manufacturing concerns, the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole is one of the province’s key economic drivers. Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford are all located within the municipality, as are several automotive supplier companies. Aspen, a pharmaceutical company, and South African Breweries are examples of other large concerns. Nelson Mandela Bay has population of 1.1-million and many educational institutions. Superb beaches and plentiful outdoor options make the area a popular tourist stop. The Addo Elephant National Park is less than an hour’s drive from the Port Elizabeth city centre.

Alfred Nzo District Municipality

Towns: Matatiele, Mount Frere, Mount Ayliff

The smallest district is in the mountainous north-east, with hiking trails for tourists. There is scope for expansion of tourist activities, and a transfrontier park between South Africa and Lesotho could boost the area’s economy. Subsistence agriculture and forestry are the major economic activities.

Amathole District Municipality

Towns: Cathcart, Stutterheim, Morgans Bay, Willowvale, Butterworth, Alice, Bedford

The rural Amathole District surrounds the metropolitan area of Buffalo City. Pineapple and forestry are two of the most important agricultural activities. Popular resorts on the Wild Coast attract many tourists to the area. Hogsback and other towns near the Amatole Mountains offer beautiful scenery and popular beaches. Alice hosts the main campus of the University of Fort Hare.

Chris Hani District Municipality

Towns: Middelburg, Molteno, Dordrecht, Cradock, Queenstown, Lady Frere, Elliot

Sheep farming is an important part of the economy. Some coal is found in the north and tourist activities include fly-fishing. The Foodcorp factory in Molteno manufactures Ouma rusks. Queenstown is a centre for cattle farming and has some manufacturing activities. The Mountain Zebra National Park is near Cradock. The Grootfontein Agricultural College and Research Station is in Middelburg, and the Marlow Agricultural College is near Cradock.

Joe Gqabi District Municipality

Towns: Aliwal North, Burgersdorp, Lady Grey, Rhodes, Barkly East, Ugie

Cattle and sheep farming make up 80% of land use, while commercial forestry is a big contributor to employment. There are large forestry plantations at Ugie and Mount Fletcher. Maize is grown along the Orange River and wheat in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains. Tiffindell has been revived as a ski resort.

OR Tambo District Municipality

Towns: Mthatha, Coffee Bay, Port St Johns, Qumbu, Bizana, Flagstaff

OR Tambo District Municipality encompasses some of the province’s least-developed areas and contains one of South Africa’s most important ecological areas, the Pondoland Centre of Plant Endemism. Mining is already pursued in some areas but plans for titanium mining on seaside dunes are being contested. A Wild Coast Spatial Development Initiative exists to plot further development. Forestry is a big employer.

Sarah Baartman District Municipality

Towns: Graaff-Reinet, Humansdorp, Jeffreys Bay, Makana (Grahamstown)

The western part of the province contains the biggest municipality and is one of the biggest contributors to provincial GDP. Large commercial farms in the Karoo produce high-quality meat, wool and mohair, while the coastal belt has dairy farming and some forestry. The Kouga Valley is a big deciduous fruit producer, while the Kirkwood/Addo area is known for its citrus. Sarah Baartman has three of the region’s national parks and several private game farms. Makana hosts the National Arts Festival, Rhodes University and several fine schools.

The east and north east part of the Eastern Cape is made up of OR Tambo, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani, Joe Gqabi and part of Amathole municipalities.  These are generally high density, poverty- stricken rural areas, with underdeveloped towns that largely serve as trading hubs. Despite the fact that this region accounts for bulk of arable land and has high rainfall pattern and water to sustain agriculture and forestry, the area focuses on consumption, with very little production.  Alfred Nzo and Joe Gqabi districts also have development potential, with strong contribution from forestry and livestock production. The college programmes in this region should be much agricultural and ago processing based.

The two metropolitans have townships that are mostly populated with out of school youth who lacks relevant entrepreneurial skills that will enable them if properly trained in tapping into local township economy. The local economy faces high levels of unemployment (that includes adults, youth and people with disability), poverty, lack of relevant skills, and lack of entrepreneurial skills. The automotive and manufacturing sectors in the province are located in these metros. The community college should therefore offer skills that will enable the participants to take part in economic activities in the mentioned sectors.