Agency Development and Support

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Thaba Chweu Local Economic Development Agency


Project Involvement

The people of Thaba Chweu Local Municipality are sitting on a gold mine, with plenty of economic opportunities just waiting to be tapped.

Located in the northwestern region of Mpumalanga, the area is one of the country's leading tourist attractions. It also has lots of potential in forestry, mining, and cattle and crop farming, according to Sindiswa Mathebula, the programme manager of the Thaba Chweu Local Economic Development Agency, also known as Thaleda.

Officially launched in October this year, Thaleda is one of the agencies established by the Industrial Development Corporation to drive economic expansion and job creation at a local level. It is located in Sabie, one of three towns that serve as the main administrative units in the Thaba Chweu Local Municipality. The other towns are Lydenburg and Graskop.

"We have identified a number of projects that we think will benefit local communities in terms of job creation. These projects span tourism, agriculture and mining sectors and are in different stages of implementation," says Mathebula. They include:

  • Sabie Caravan Park upgrade;
  • Graskop Holiday Resort;
  • Trout fishing;
  • Waste management;
  • Hotel; and
  • An industrial park

Thaleda has identified the first three as key to unlocking the economic potential of Thaba Chweu.

"There are other scoped projects scattered around Thaba Chweu that have the potential to generate employment for locals. These include upgrading Coromandale Farm in Lydenburg, which has the potential to produce maize, wheat and blueberries. There is also good potential for communities to enter the forestry industry," she adds.

"We are also looking into establishing a waste management project that will generate income for the community and for the municipality through recycling of solid and organic waste."

There are other projects of "good potential" Thaleda is investigating. Mathebula explains that there are plans to attract more tourists to the scenic village of Pilgrim's Rest. The historic mining town dates back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered alluvial gold on the farm Ponieskrantz. "We are in talks with the national Department of Arts and Culture for the area to be declared a national heritage site."

When all the projects are operational, Mathebula says, between 350 and 500 jobs will be created. "Our main objective is to create sustainable employment for local people. Thaba Chweu has been losing skills to Nelspruit and our idea is to stem this brain drain, focus on skills development and skills transfer."

The agency
Thaleda was established in 2010 under section 84 of the Municipal Finance Management Act and is wholly owned by the Thaba Chweu Local Municipality. It was set up following an agreement between the IDC and Thaba Chweu to advance and leverage the development of the area and its job creation potential.

Thaleda's vision is to be an effective and sustainable organisation for the economic development of Thaba Chweu Local Municipality.

Thaleda's mission is to identify, initiate and facilitate funding of appropriate projects and implement the local development strategy.

Its objectives are to be the vehicle to facilitate economic development within the parent municipality's jurisdiction through the initiation and/or facilitation and implementation of high impact and catalytic projects.

Thaba Chweu Local Municipality
Located in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality in Mpumalanga Province, Thaba Chweu covers Sabie, Lydenburg, Graskop, Simile, Mashishing, Henriksdaal, Leroro, Matibidi, Moremela, Badfontein, Blyde, Brondal, Buffelsvlei, Goedewil, Graan, Klein-Sabie, Klipskool, Krugerspos, Maartenshoop, Mauchberg, Pilgrim's Rest, The Berg and Vermont.

It population is estimated at 119 510 people, living in 33 593 households. The main economic drivers in the municipality are:

  • Agriculture and forestry

This includes the production of subtropical and deciduous fruits, crop farming, livestock rearing, game farming and timber production.

  • Mining

There are more than 30 mines operating in Lydenburg and Steelpoort, producing mainly platinum.

  • Tourism

Thaba Chweu is home to and is in close proximity to some of South Africa's prime tourist attractions. These include God's Window, The Three Rondavels, Pilgrim's Rest, Blyde Canyon, Mac Mac Falls and Kruger National Park.

A significant number of people are employed in the agriculture and forestry sector, where jobs are seasonal. According to Mathebula, places like Sabie are experiencing a huge influx of people from outside the town looking for employment, adding to competition for jobs.


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