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Thaba Chweu Local Municipality History

Geography, History & Economy

Thaba Chweu Local Municipality is part of Ehlanzeni District Municipality.

MDB code: MP321

Description: The Thaba Chweu Local Municipality is a Category B municipality located in the north-western region of the Mpumalanga Province in the Ehlanzeni District. It is one of four municipalities in the district. It came into being after the December 5th, 2000, local government elections. The escarpment divides the district into eastern and western halves. The western half (Lydenburg district) is dominated by agricultural and farming activities, while forestry is the main economic activity of the eastern half (Sabie/Graskop district). Thaba Chweu is one of the major tourist attraction areas in South Africa. Mashishing (previously Lydenburg) is the oldest town in the province, and a hub of heritage where the famous Lydenburg Heads, which are said to date back to 400AD, were found in the 1950s. Also found here are old stone houses. Most of all, this is the home of trout fishing. Graskop is home to the Three Rondavels, The Blyde Canyon, Potholes, God's Window, The Pinnacle, Berlin, Lisbon, and Graskop Falls, which form part of the renowned Panorama Route. In the Sabie area, when travelling east of Mashishing through the Long Tom Pass, there are hectares of pine plantations. These mountains are part of the Drakensberg Mountain Range.

The municipality comprises of fourteen (14) wards and four main towns namely: Lydenburg which is the main town located in ward fourteen (14), Sabie located in ward seven (07) which is the second largest town, Graskop which is smallest town located in ward ten (10) and Pilgrim's Rest which is a historic monument town located in ward thirteen (13) as well. The town with the largest number of households is Lydenburg at 14 278, followed by Sabie with 5321 households while Graskop is at 1034 households and Pilgrim's Rest with 592 number of households being the lowest of the entire municipal area. The rural communities of TCLM are located in wards 08 and 09 with three main villages i.e. Matibidi, Moremela and Leroro which are semi-formal, other communities are farm rural communities located in ward 04, 05, 11 and 13.

  • Area: 5 719kmĀ²
  • Cities/Towns: Graskop, Lydenburg, Mashishing, Pilgrim's Rest, Sabie
  • Population Size

  • According to Stats SA (2016 Community Survey - CS), Thaba Chweu's population increased from 98 387 in 2011 to 101 895 people in 2016 - 5th smallest population in the province and 5.8% of total population of Ehlanzeni in 2016. Population grew by 3 508 in the relevant period and recorded a population growth rate of 0.8% per annum between 2011 & 2016. The population number for 2030 is estimated at more or less 470 000 people given the historic population growth per annum - can put pressure on the infrastructure and service delivery. The number of households in Thaba Chweu increased from 96 202 in 2011 to 103 965 households (almost 8 000 households increase) in 2016 - this represents 21% of the Ehlanzeni household figure - household size declining from 4.1 to 4.0 in the same period. Youth population (15-34 years) forms 36.0% of the total population. The share of the male population in 2016 according to the CS was 52% and females 48%.
  • Main Economic Sectors: Mining, forestry, agriculture, business services, tourism