Renamed in 2003, the Limpopo town of Mokopane – formerly Potgietersrus – has undergone a major shift in recent years from an economy that was completely dependent on agriculture to one incorporating mining, new industries and tourism.
“Mokopane is no longer just a sleepy banking and shopping centre for a farming community that mostly only comes to “town” on Saturdays, but an increasingly important educational, medical and entertainment centre too, with its own, self-sufficient commercial sector – and many more in-town residents,” says Lizette Conradie, the local franchisee for the Rawson Property Group.
“This is largely due to the growth of local platinum, and granite mining activities, which has been really good for a town that was previously negatively affected whenever there was a drought – and boosted housing demand to such an extent that property prices have almost doubled in the past 10 years.”
According to property data company Lightstone, she notes, the average price for freehold properties in Mokopane central has risen from R568 000 in 2006 to R925 000 currently, and the average for sectional title units from R310 000 to R680 000.
“However, three or four bedroom family homes in the most popular suburbs generally start at around R1,2 million now, and at the upper end of the market, luxury homes in areas such as Chroompark are selling easily at prices between R1,8 million and R2,8 million.”
Located in the Waterberg district, Mokopane lies at the northern end of the Bushveld Mineral Complex, which contains the world’s richest deposits of platinum, chrome and various other metals and minerals. It is the nearest town to Anglo’s huge Mogalakwena Mine, which is the biggest open-cast platinum mine in the world, as well as the massive new Platreef mine currently being developed by Ivanplats under a licence granted in 2014.
Platreef is a platinum-group metals (PGM) mine that will deliver nickel, copper and gold as well as platinum and is due to begin production in 2020, says Conradie. “Its development, meanwhile, is pumping billions of rands into the local economy and has resulted in a new influx of contractors and employees all seeking accommodation.
“In fact, there is currently a shortage of rental accommodation, with tenants snapping up any units that do become available within hours. As a result, rentals have been increasing rapidly and currently start at around R5000 for a two bedroom flat, R6000 for a three bedroom townhouse, and R8000 for three bedroom houses in the newer suburbs”.
“More upmarket options start at around R10 000 a month and range all the way up to around R18 000 a month, and many newcomers are starting to realise that it would actually make better financial sense to buy a home rather than to rent, especially if they are going to live in Mokopane for a few years. This is a major factor driving current demand in the residential sector.”
Meanwhile, she says, it is important to note that the town has lost none of its importance as a support centre for the surrounding maize, wheat, beef, game and citrus farms, with many farmers now preferring to have a home in town where their families live during the week. Accordingly, it has many primary and high schools, two shopping malls and a provincial hospital.
“In addition, Mokopane is steadily gaining a reputation as an eco-tourism centre and draws an increasing number of weekend visitors from Gauteng, which is only a two-hour drive away. The attractions for them include a host of lodges on the surrounding game farms, as well as camping, hiking, birdwatching, fishing and watersports facilities at the Doorndraaidam Nature Reserve”.
“The town also boasts a world-famous biodiversity conservation centre, which is home to a wide variety of endangered wildlife species originating from Africa, South America and South East Asia, while the Makapansgat World Heritage Site, which forms part of the Cradle of Humankind, is just 15km away.”