The Theewaterskloof Local Municipality (TWK LM), located in the Western Cape, is an agricultural region covering the towns of Grabouw, Villiersdorp, Botrivier, Genadendal, Greyton, Caledon, Tesselaarsdal, and Riversonderend plus a few small centres, and large tracts of agricultural land. The economy is primarily agrarian (almost 50% including the agro-processing activities in the region) with a growing tourism, construction, financial and business services sectors. Grabouw is the largest economic centre, followed by Caledon.
In spite of the agricultural sector’s limited growth, the sector has outperformed the national agricultural sector. Given the dominance of agriculture and the sector’s limited expansion potential, a multi-pronged strategy that both diversifies and stimulates the local economy was recently agreed to. This is a long term programme and will require increased bulk infrastructure capacity and land release to be implemented. The development of the tourism sector will offer a secondary income base for farmers. It will also attract investment into the restaurants, retail and services sectors all of which will in turn improve the attractiveness of the area as a residential destination for people seeking a quieter and better quality life. The area has a wealth of natural resources and excellent agri-tourism offerings.
Historically, Theewaterskloof has been economically stagnant, with population growth exceeding economic growth rates. There are high levels of inequality in the area with a big divide between farmers, most of who have lived and farmed in the area for generations, and the large pool of unskilled migrants from the Eastern Cape who flock into the area in search of work and a better life. Consequently, the number of unemployed people has grown.