With a population of over 56,000, Matzikama is the northernmost of the local municipalities within the West Coast District Municipality. The Municipality has recently been selected by the National Government as a pilot project for economic development.
Matzikama Municipality is characterized by an arid environment, served by a lifegiving arterial namely the Olifants River. The river, with its associated canal systems, supports a flourishing agricultural sector that is mainly built on viniculture (the cultivation of grapes for wine production). The majority of the population of Matzikama is concentrated along the river with only the villages of Vanrhynsdorp, Doring Bay, Strandfontein and all of the villages in ward 8 not concentrated along the river. Doring Bay and Strandfontein are coastal towns, Doring Bay largely dependent on fishing (lobster) and Strandfontein a holiday destination respectively. All of the other villages in ward 8 are largely dependent on live stock farming. Vredendal, by far the largest town in the area, is centrally located and also serves as the
administrative centre for the municipal area. Vanrhynsdorp, Klawer and Lutzville are secondary towns with established business districts. Smaller villages include Ebenaeser, Koekenaap, Papendorp and Lutzville-West.
Agriculture and tourism (mainly in the Namaqualand) are the main sectors in terms of GDP and employment.
Source: Matzikama IDP 2012-17