Situated on the south-western tip of the African continent, the Western Cape with its wide beaches and breathtaking
scenery, complemented by a rich variety of cultures, historical landmarks, world-class restaurants and entertainment, is a world-famous tourist destination.

Cape Town, often referred to as the “Mother City”, houses Parliament and is South Africa’s legislative capital. The province has a strong network of higher education institutions including the universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Western Cape. The Western Cape has the highest adult education level in the country. Visitors to the province can disembark at one of the province’s two main airports, Cape Town International or George Airport. It is also possible to enter at the seaports of Cape Town, Mossel Bay and Saldanha. Table Mountain, the Cape winelands, Robben Island as well as  the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are among the province’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Western Cape is also known for its floral diversity. The Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site, comprising eight separate protected areas, covers an area of more than 553 000 ha stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape. The Knysna-Tsitsikamma region has the country’s biggest indigenous forests. The cold Atlantic Ocean along the West Coast is a rich fishing area. While the warmer Indian Ocean skirts the province’s southern beaches.

Western Cape Agriculture and fisheries

The Western Cape’s sheltered valleys between mountains are ideal for the cultivation of export-grade fruit such as apples, table grapes, olives, peaches and oranges. A variety of vegetables are cultivated in the eastern part of the Western Cape. While the Swartland and Overberg districts are well-known as the country’s prime wheat-growing areas. The agricultural sector is critical to the Western Cape economy, accounting for 60% of regional exports. The Western Cape is also well known for its wine production.

According to a study, commissioned by the SA Wine Industry Information & Systems, published in 2015, some
300 000 people were employed both directly and indirectly in the wine industry in 2015, including farm labourers, those involved in packaging, retailing and wine tourism. The study also concluded that of the R36,1 billion gross
domestic product (GDP) contributed by the wine industry to the regional economy, about R19,3 billion eventually would remain in the Western Cape.

Some 75% of all South African fishing takes place along the Western Cape coastline. The rich fishing grounds on the west coast are also protected from exploitation by a 200 km commercial fishing zone. There is also a strict quota system implemented. Delicacies found in these waters are Snoek, Cape lobster, abalone, calamari, octopus, oysters as well as mussels. Other exports include fruit, wine, wool and ostrich. The high quality of exports, combined with the relative weakness of the local currency, makes the products therefore some of the most affordable high-quality exports in the world.

Western Cape Industry

The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) is drawing strong international interest. The SBIDZ Licencing Company had signed six lease agreements with international as well as South African oil and gas companies. These include firms specialising in oilfield services, oil rig operations, logistics operators, ship repair, engineering as well as  market support.
A feasibility study conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry found that Saldanha Bay is strategically located to serve as a service, maintenance, fabrication and supply hub for the booming African oil and gas sector. Therefore  due to the increasing number of oil rigs requiring maintenance, and their traffic flow passing from the west to the east coast of Africa. The Western Cape government has invested 25 million Rand over five years in setting up the SBIDZ.

Western Cape Population

Capital: Cape Town
Principal languages:

  • Afrikaans 46,6%
  • IsiXhosa 31,1%
  • English 19,6%

Population: 6 279 730
Percentage share of the total South African population: 11,3%
Area: 129 462 km2
Source: Stats SA’s Mid-year population estimates 2017 and Community Survey 2016

Vision, Mission and Western Cape Provincial Strategic Objectives


The Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s vision is a Western Cape that has a vibrant, innovative, and sustainable economy, characterised by growth, employment and equitable opportunities, and built on the full potential of all.


To achieve the vision statement as noted above, the Department is required to provide a facilitative and leadership role to the Western Cape economy through the Department’s understanding of the regional economy, its ability to identify economic opportunities and potential, and its contribution to government economic priorities. The leadership role encompasses a vertical and horizontal alignment function as this will ensure economic development is the concerted effort of national, local and regional government; the private and not-for profit sectors as well as communities.

In terms of vertical alignment, the department will strive for a “whole of government” approach to economic outcomes by aligning efforts of national, provincial and City of Cape Town and other municipalities. A facilitative role is also required in aligning economic activities within the horizontal space. The Department will intensify its role as horizontal aligner with business, institutions, and others around a common agenda for economic development. Here again it is intended that the Department`s role is viewed as the critical link between the external stakeholders in the economy and government.

In essence the Department’s role changed from that of being an implementer of projects and programs to that of also being an influencer for economic growth, development and inclusion. The above approach gives credence to the achievements envisaged by the Provincial Strategic Objective (PSO1) which includes the creation of opportunities for growth and jobs, the creation of an enabling environment for business and citizens to grow and the creation of a competitive and productive economic region.


Our goal is to create the opportunities for businesses and citizens to grow the economy and employment. This will be achieved by embracing five key focus areas:

Five Building Blocks

It is recognised that in order to fully operationalise the Strategic Agenda it is necessary for all provincial departments to work together across departmental boundaries and disciplines. The Department of Economic Development and Tourism is the Custodian Department of PSO 1: Creating opportunities for growth and jobs. This also constitutes the goal statement of this Department. The Figure below provides a graphical representation of the five building blocks (also referred to as objective statements) of PSO1. It is believed that achievement in these five areas will support the obtainment of the PSO1.

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