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Calitz was born and grew up in the Western Cape Province town of George. After completing his masters in economics at the University of Stellenbosch he first joined the South African Reserve Bank, then the University of Pretoria and Rand Afrikaans University.
He subsequently obtained a Ph.D in Commerce from the University of Stellenbosch, South Arica in 1986.
In 1989, Calitz became the Deputy Director-General at the South African Department of Finance and in 1993 he became the Director-General. He left the government in 1996 to take up the post of Professor of Economics at the University of South Africa. Calitz returned to the University of Stellenbosch in 2001 as the Dean of the faculty at the Economics and Management Sciences.
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