Also known as the place of coal or eMalahleni, Witbank City can be found in Highveld which is in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Roughly translated, Witbank in Afrikaans means “white ridge”. This refers to the sandstone commonly found in Witbank where years before travelers and drivers would sit to rest on.
From a larger view, Witbank is east of Pretoria and was established way back in the 1890s. Then, about 20 underground mines or colleries were operating, all of them looking for coal. From coal mines, it became a town and soon progressed to being named a city. Their progress moved forward almost by magic because the coals that were mined were used to put up a power station and steel mill. The more investors came to Witbank because of the coal, the faster the town grew into a city. Real estate property began to be in demand – all because of the growth of the heavy industry.
With rapid progress came a multitude of problems like the poor roads which were damaged from heavy rains in 2008, and the amount of debris one finds along the roadside. Also, because of the massive coal mining in the area, the problem became how to transport coal in large and increasing quantities to other parts of South Africa and Mpumalanga. This issue was resolved when the government decided to put up the railway system in 1984. After this, the progress shot up dramatically with more investors, businesses, and a jump in the population. The railway system also lead to Witbank becoming the energy capital of South Africa.
To give you a fair idea of how fast the growth of Witbank is, in 2001, the estimated population was a little over 60,000. In 2006, this population grew to 262,491 which is an incredulous jump in the span of just 6 years. (These figures are based on the database of GeoNames.) Due to the town’s proximity to the big cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg, goods that cannot be obtained locally, specialist computer hardware, for example, can easily be obtained through online shopping.
The population is also diverse like most of South Africa with more majority or 54% Whites, 40.3% Blacks, almost 5% Coloured, and less than 1% Asians. Most of the residents know how to speak Afrikaans and English. The Blacks like to speak Zulu, and the Asians prefer English.
Like the rest of South Africa, the weather in Witbank is humid and hot. Average rainfall in a year is 533 mm and rain comes during the summer months peaking during the months of November to January. It is coldest usually in the month of July when the temperature drops to 17 degrees Celsius during the day and much colder at night.
Unfortunately, Witbank property isn’t as in demand as, for example, Goodwood property is, but this shouldn’t deter either investors or home-makers looking for a place to settle down and rear a happy family from buying property. This town’s long history and economic importance means that is still a vital and growing area.
Currently, with the rate the city is growing again there are new problems cropping up. This time Witbank has to figure out how to sustain its growth by having adequate supply of potable water, power, garbage and sewage systems, and road maintenance. The problem with the infrastructure is that the private sector is growing faster than the pace of the government and this has the potential to affect the growth of Witbank unless something is done soon.