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Grade 5

Population: distribution and density

Module 29

Sasol and technology

The development of technology also played an important role in the settlement of people at the coal mines of Mpumalanga.

SASOL was established in the middle of the previous century to manufacture, amongst other things, petroleum from coal. Petroleum and other chemical substances, like artificial fertilizers, have been manufactured in the Northern Free State since 1955.

Further developments in this technology over the next 50 years have had an enormous influence on the settling of people in the Northern Free State and in southwest Mpumalanga. If it had not been possible to manufacture chemical substances from coal, this region would have had a stretch of coal mines now, with only the employment opportunities that these mines can offer. Technology, however, makes drastic changes possible. In addition to the mines, there now are large factories that provide employment to thousands of people in the region.

Industries and industrial areas

South Africa is a fairly prosperous country compared to the rest of Africa. Minerals , fishing , agriculture and forestry provide the foundation of our prosperity.

The products obtained from the above are processed in factories to add value to the primary products and thereby ensure prosperity. Numerous employment opportunities created in the factories, and salaries and wages earned by factory workers create prosperity amongst the people.

The four primary industries are

  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Fishing
  • Forestry

The secondary industries where the processing of primary products take place, are:

  • Baking
  • Fuel
  • Canned fruit
  • Jewellery
  • Clothing
  • Fertilizer
  • Furniture
  • Motor industry
  • Shipbuilding
  • Steel
  • Dairy products
  • Processing of fish
  • Armaments

People can do nothing about the location of mines, but many issues are considered with regard to the location of the factories in which the products (of the mines) are processed.

A furniture factory will not necessarily be erected near plantations or a steel factory near the mine where the iron ore is mined. People and their interests play an important part in decisions about where factories should be erected. That is why we have to learn about industries when we study human settlement.

Activity 1:

To investigate the location of industrial areas

[lo 2.2]

What would be an ideal location for a fish-processing factory?

What would be an ideal location for an automobile factory?

The most important industrial areas in South Africa

The most important industrial areas in South Africa are in the following urban areas:

At the coast In the interior
Cape Town and environment
  1. Pretoria and environment
Port Elizabeth
  1. The whole of the Witwatersrand area
East London
  1. Vereeniging / Vanderbijlpark / Sasolburg
  1. Bloemfontein
Richards Bay 5. Kimberley

Activity 2:

To indicate the location of industrial areas in south africa on a map

[lo 1.1]

Write the numbers allocated to the most important industrial areas where the relevant urban areas are on the following map.

The urban areas of the Republic of South Africa

Activity 3:

To recognise the relationship between population distribution and the location of industries

[lo 2.2]

Do you notice any connection between the population density and the concentration of industrial areas? Motivate your answer.


LO 1


The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate geographical and environmental concepts and processes.

We know this when the learner:

1.1 with guidance, selects and uses sources of useful geographical information [finds sources];

1.2 distinguishes between facts and opinions [works with sources];

1.3 categorises information [works with sources];

1.4 uses an index to find places on global atlas maps [works with sources];

1.6 identifies and explores possible solutions to problems [answers the question];

1.7 demonstrates knowledge and under-standing of the issue through projects, discussion, debate and charts [communicates the answer].

LO 2


The learner will be able to demonstrate geographical and environmental knowledge and understanding.

We know this when the learner:

2.1 identifies and describes major physical features of South Africa, including those of the home province [people and places];

2.2 identifies links between natural resources and economic activities in South Africa [people and resources];

2.3 describes ways in which the physical environment influences human activity and how human activity is influenced by the physical environment [people and the environment



Where fish resources are

Close to transport network and labour source


Yes, where industries are established, population is denser


- Employment

- Income

- Further training

- More opportunities


- Poor living conditions

- Transport problems

- Perhaps unemployed

- Violence

- Crime

Poorer – desperate for food and clothing and living accommodation

No support






Housing supplied

Medical services supplied

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Source:  OpenStax, Social sciences: geography grade 5. OpenStax CNX. Sep 23, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10986/1.2
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