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Butterworth Profile

Butterworth or Gcuwa was established in 1905 and gained independence in 1976 under the Transkei government. Gcuwa’s Regeneration involves the town and the surrounding Ibika and Umsobomvu townships. This area has a population of more than 50,000 people in over 7,500 households. About a third of the households have no income and a further 37% earn less than R1,600 per month.

Butterworth is the main service area for Mnquma municipality, contributing 77% of the GDP in the municipality.

The only other towns in the municipality are Centane (30km) and Ngqamakhwe (25km), which together contribute 23% to the GDP. These two neighbouring towns are merely shops and buildings and cannot provide for the needs of the residents.

Gcuwa’s town area is relatively small, including a small business district of middle to high income housing. The town, established exclusively “white” before 1976 has since been occupied most entirely by black middle and high income groups. White occupancy has not re-established post-1994. The townships are located a few kilometers away and are stretched out along the N2 highway. These areas represent the larger extent settlement, with each township accommodating more people than the town area. The townships are mostly formally laid-out and have predominantly low cost housing, but there are also very attractive middle income areas. A number of informal settlements have grown around these townships.

Development in Gcuwa has followed the line of the N2 and thus resulted in a long, narrow settlement east of town towards Walter Sisulu University (WSU), about 5km away. The N2 also runs through the CBD, which results in a clash of uses and congestion, with high speed transport movements using the same space as pedestrians, hawkers and public services functions.


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