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Mitchell's Plain

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Mitchell's Plain

Mitchells Plain
Aerial view of Mitchell's Plain
Aerial view of Mitchell's Plain
Mitchells Plain is located in South Africa
Mitchells Plain
Mitchells Plain
 Mitchells Plain shown within South Africa
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Municipality City of Cape Town
 • Total 43.76 km2 (16.90 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 310,485
 • Density 7,100/km2 (18,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 7.3%
 • Coloured 90.8%
 • Indian/Asian 0.6%
 • White 0.2%
 • Other 1.1%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • English 47.4%
 • Afrikaans 46.9%
 • Xhosa 3.3%
 • Other 2.4%
Postal code (street) 7785
PO box 7789
School children at Mitchells Plain school. They draw learners from Khayelitsha and Philippi as well.
Taxis from Cape Town station to Mitchells Plain

Mitchells Plain is a largely coloured township about 32 km from the city of Cape Town. It is one of South Africa's largest townships. It is located on the Cape Flats on the False Bay coast between Muizenberg and Khayelitsha. Conceived of as a "model township" by the apartheid government, it was built during the 1970s to provide housing for coloured victims of forced removal due to the implementation of the Group Areas Act. Though Mitchells Plain is no longer officially a "coloured township," the overwhelming majority of its residents are still Coloured.

At an estimated population of 290,000 - 305,000[2] people, it comprises a number of sub-sections which reflect the diverse class backgrounds of the population. Once a major stronghold of the United Democratic Front, the broad-based ANC-sponsored anti-apartheid body, it is now known more for gangsterism and tik (methamphatemine) addiction among the youth. It also has one of Cape Town's biggest shopping centres, the Liberty Promenade.


Mitchells Plain was created by the Apartheid government in the early 1970s as a Coloured township for middle-income families. The township was laid out in terms of the neighbourhood unit concept with large open spaces, localised public facilities and wide arterial routes. Various forms of housing were provided including, freestanding, semi-detached and duplex housing. However, by the late 80's and 90's, major areas of Mitchells Plain have deteriorated into urban ghettos. Gangsterism and drug abuse has increased and a number of informal settlements has sprung up in several areas.[3]


According 2011 census data compiled by Statistics South Africa, Mitchells Plain comprises the following in terms of demographics:[4]

Group Male Percentage Female Percentage Total Percentage
Black African 12,692 4.48 14,021 4.95 22,723 7.32
Coloured 122,360 43.17 131,485 46.43 281,829 90.77
Indian/Asian 902 0.32 861 0.30 1,926 0.62
White 274 0.09 307 0.10 581 0.19
Total 151,033 48.64 159,453 51.36 310,485 100

Mitchells Plain Today

Today Mitchells Plain is one of Cape Town's and South Africa's largest townships with a population of about 290,000 people.[5]

In terms of economic activity, investment is primarily in retail development with Mitchell's Plain being considered as having the strongest level of investment on the [6] Informal economic activity is a significant part of the local economy. Such activity reflects a dominance of retail functions with informal trading responding to market and thus concentrated around the main public transport interchanges and along heavily utilised pedestrian routes.

Public Transport

Mitchells Plain is reasonably well served by public transport services comprising commuter rail, bus and mini-bus taxi services. There are 3 Cape Metrorail commuter rail stations within the area at Kapteinsklip, Mitchell's Plain and Lentegeur. The rail line extends northwards towards Philippi, Cape Town's CBD and the industrial areas at Epping. The commuter rail service is commonly characterised by overcrowding during morning and afternoon peak periods as well as being unsafe during off-peak periods.

The Mitchell's Plain Public Transport Interchange at the Mitchell's Plain Station include a major bus terminus and taxi rank which provides public transport services to every major employment area within the City of Cape Town during the morning peak period. There is regular scheduled bus and unscheduled mini-bus taxi services to Cape Town CBD, Claremont, Bellville, Wynberg, and other areas. At more than 30 000 passenger trips per weekday and more than 90,000 passengers daily, it is one of the busiest transport interchanges in the city.[7] Recent years have seen significant investment by the local authority in improving and upgrading public transport infrastructure and facilities at the Mitchell's Plain Interchange.[8]

Sub Sections

Like the townships of Soweto, Khayelitsha and Delft, Mitchells Plain, believed to be South Africa's 3rd largest township, is split into a number of sub-sections. The western half of the township is home to the more wealthier population while the eastern half to the poorer communities.

  • Rocklands
  • Westridge
  • Portlands
  • Tafelsig
  • Eastridge
  • Beacon Valley
  • Lentegeur
  • Woodlands
  • Weltevreden Valley
  • Colorado Park


Mitchells Plain is home to 85 schools,[9] Some of these schools include, Meadowridge Primary School, Aloe, Lentegeur, Beacon Hill, Oval North, Cedar, Glendale, Rocklands, Spine Road, Mondale, Portland, Princeton, Woodlands, Tafelsig and Westridge.

Social Movements

In the latter years of apartheid Mitchell's Plain became the seat of the launch of the apartheid. It was launched in August 1983 with such leaders of the people as Dr. Allan Boesak, Albertina Sisulu, Helen Joseph, Joe Marks, Trevor Manuel, Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota and many others present.

The most active social movements and activist organisations in Mitchell's Plain after apartheid have been the Mitchell's Plain Land Occupation in 2011.[10]

Prominent Residents

  • Athol Williams is a poet who writes under the pseudonym, AE Ballakisten; he has held senior executive positions globally and holds degrees from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and London Business School. He is the founder of Taurus School Solutions which works with Mitchells Plain schools to improve performance and Read to Rise, an NGO that promotes literacy among Mitchells Plain's primary school learners. He is 1 of 12 people inducted into the Mitchells Plain Heroes Walk by the City of Cape Town.
  • Nizaam Carr is a South African rugby union footballer who grew up in Mitchell's Plain.

See also


  • Mitchells Plain Profile
  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Mitchells Plain". Census 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Gebhardt, Max. Business Day . Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Census 2001, Mitchells Plain - Cape Town. "None". City of Cape Town. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  5. ^ City Of Cape Town, Strategic Planning. "Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain District Plan". City Of Cape Town. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Promenade, Liberty. "About Promenade". Liberty. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Cape Town, CITP. "Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan". City of Cape Town. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Distric Plan, Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain. "Mitchells Plain Settlement Patterns". City of Cape Town. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ A Collection of articles on the Association and the occupation it organised
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