Municipality: Cape Agulhas Local Municipality

Motto

Cape Agulhas - The Most Southern Tip Of Africa

Address

1 Dirkie Uys Street
7280 Bredasdorp , Western Cape
South Africa
Phone: 028 425 5500
Fax: 028 425 1019
34° 32' 6.2016" S, 20° 2' 39.1632" E
Western Cape ZA

Description

Cape Agulhas Municipality is one of four local municipalities, which form part of the bigger Overberg District. The Cape Agulhas municipal area is the third biggest geographical area of the district and comprises a radius of approximately 2411 km². A distinct geographical feature of the Municipality is that is located at the southern-most tip of the Western Cape Province, South Africa and the African continent and it is also located at the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. 

The area includes a number of big rural areas, as well as the following towns:

  • Bredasdorp is situated at the crossing of the N2 and the R316 route from Caledon to Arniston and on the R319 route from Struisbaai / L’Agulhas to Swellendam. Although it has a typical rural atmosphere, it has healthy business core with all the important services, such as a hospital, clinic, police station and others. Bredasdorp is the main economic centre of the Municipality and is also the town where the main office of the Cape Agulhas Municipality is situated.
  • Napier is situated between Caledon and Bredasdorp on the R316 route. The town consists of a number of small businesses with agriculture as the dominant economic activity in the areas.
  • Waenhuiskrans/Arniston is probably the only town in South Africa with two acknowledged names. This fisherman’s town is situated approximately 24km from Bredasdorp on the R316 route.
  • Struisbaai is known for its 14km white sand beach. This is the longest uninterrupted beach in the southern hemisphere. This beach town is a popular holiday destination that attracts visitors throughout the year.
  • L’Agulhas is the most southern town in Africa. The legendary point of Africa is surrounded by both the warm Indian and the cold Atlantic Oceans that meet at the most southern point.
  • Suiderstrand is a beach town situated approximately 5km from L’Agulhas. It is also a holiday town and was established as a result of a need for holiday houses with a rural character.
  • Elim is a historical Moravian missionary station world heritage site.

Population

Cape Agulhas Municipality had a total population of 26 474 in 2006 which constitute 12,8% of the total population of the Overberg district. This actually confirms that Cape Agulhas is the smallest municipality in the district in terms of population size.

Economy

Similar to other rural municipalities, Cape Agulhas also experiences common challenges such as skew patterns of wealth distribution, relatively high levels of unemployment and crime. The economy of Cape Agulhas Municipality grew at an average growth rate of 5.46 % between 2004 and 2005 but despite this relatively positive economic growth it is quite evident that not all sectors of society share in the benefit resulting from this. In fact it seems that the gap between rich and poor is actually widening. One of the objectives of the LED strategy is particularly aimed at increasing the participation of emerging entrepreneurs in the mainstream economy and to bring the first and second economy closer together.

Sources: Cape Agulhas LM website & LED Strategy 2009.

Strengths

The economy is well diversified with wholesale and retail trade, primary agriculture and agro-processing, fishing and aquaculture, and financial and business services making significant contributions to the local economy. The leading sectors in Cape Agulhas are agriculture and agro-processing, eco-tourism, fishing and mari-culture, financial and professional services and the construction industry.

Diversification of the agricultural sector has led to substantial improvement and growth in exports of wine products, olives, and cut flowers in Cape Agulhas. Overall, the tourism industry is taking a strong lead in the various sectors in Cape Agulhas. The preservation of the natural resources and conservation of sensitive areas plays a key role in eco-tourism and includes places like De Hoop Nature Reserve, the coastline, Agulhas Plains and various nature conservancies. 

Mari-culture and the processing of marine products like abalone, mussels, and seaweed, has the potential to become a very lucrative industry for the area. This provides valuable natural resources which can be harvested and processed for commercial use and can be converted into a financially viable economic opportunity with multiple business ventures. The relatively slow-paced Cape Agulhas economy still has a lot of potential for further expansion of the agro-processing sector, eco-tourism, and small-scale manufacturing businesses to contribute to the growth of bigger businesses and the leading sectors. Unemployment is fortunately not highly dependent on seasonality compared to other regions in the Overberg and stays fairly stable through out the year and is estimated between 14-18%. According to the socio-economic survey that has been conducted randomly by Urban Econ in 2008, 15.8% of households in Cape Agulhas have no income and a significant 48% of households survive only on social grants from the Department of Social Development and SASSA.

In general, the strengths for the development of the local economy are:

  • One of the biggest producers of agricultural products in the country and the continent; 
  • Sought after Tourism destination; 
  • Abundance of natural resources and picturesque natural features; 
  • Relatively stable political environment; 
  • Strong entrepreneurial culture; 
  • Good infrastructure; 
  • Availability of bulk basic services.

Weaknesses

Similar to most other rural towns there also exist a big gap between the rich and the poor in the Cape Agulhas region and this also contributes to a relatively limited skills resource in particular industries. This fact is also pertinent along racial lines with the white population earning approximately seven times more than the poorest household amongst the black population.

Challenges affecting the local economy are:

  • Unemployment; 
  • Largely dependent on agriculture; 
  • Limited available natural resources; 
  • Not situated on major national routes (N2); 
  • Relatively high skills shortages; 
  • Lack of tertiary training institutions; 
  • Limited access for marginalized communities to enter the main stream economic opportunities; 
  • Spatial segregation of communities where marginalized communities are normally located away from central business districts.