eMadlangeni Local Municipality, previously known as Utrecht Local Municipality, is located some 52 km east of Newcastle and 68 km west of Vryheid on the R34. The Local Municipality has through demarcation inherited a large rural area, 3 235 sq km in extent. It is however the smallest in terms of people in the Amajuba District, with just 6% of the population. Only 10% of people live in urban areas.
Established in 1854, Utrecht is one of the oldest towns in KwaZulu-Natal. The land was bought from the Zulu chief, Panda. At the foot of the northern end of the Drakensberg, known as the Balele Mountains, this small valley, with the Encuba River (Schoonstroom), running through it, was chosen by the then settlers for its beauty, peace and tranquillity. Current Situation
The developed area of town is 100% serviced but large backlogs exist in the rural and land reform areas. The larger, more important services, such as provision of water, sanitation, health and electricity, where the lack of capacity was known, are carried out by, or in partnerships with the District Council and others. Water and sanitation provision has been placed with the District Council. Economy
Economic development is the biggest requirement. Diversification of the local economy requires immediate attention. Limited mining occurs while sectors making a notable contribution to the economy of the area include trade, finance and government services.
Agriculture is the most important economic sector with excellent potential. The District as a whole has been well developed, with emphasis on commercial stock farming and the region is the most important wool producing area in KwaZulu-Natal. Dry land crop production occurs on a small scale, and just 1 000 ha is under irrigation. Various small scale (emerging) farmers, of whom very few have land of their own, are scattered throughout the district. About 300 have claimed land through the Labour Tenant Act.
The opportunities identified for the Emadlangeni Municipality are:
Game farming; and
The skills base available for economic development in the municipality is limited. Effort should be made to ensure that new opportunities are created in the agricultural sector to ensure future sustainable employment for workers related to this sector; and the identification of focus areas for economic development should consider the training requirements to ensure that an appropriate skills base is developed. A range of funding, as well as extensive economic development expertise, is available for income generation and job creation activities in Emadlangeni Municipality. Tourism
The town of Utrecht lies within the confines of the Balele Game Park and the Utrecht Community Game Farm, with a total Game Park area of 2500 ha. All the mountains that surround the town are part of the Game Park and have been stocked with no fewer than 11 species of game including Impala, Blesbuck, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Nyala, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Burchell's Zebra, Warthog and Giraffe. The long-term plan is to open the whole area to the town, so that we may see game animals frequenting the outskirts of town, parks and gardens as is already happening with species such as Grey Duiker, Genet and the odd Impala.
This is an initiative by the local Town Council in conjunction with the Balele Conservancy and motivated by individual residents in the District. It has, in the last 5 years, brought about a greater awareness of the magnificent natural surroundings of the town and has shifted the focus of the town from industry to tourism.
The Utrecht Community Game Farm must be seen as the core of tourism development in the area. It creates many opportunities for rural tourism and for the manufacturing of arts and crafts in the more remote areas. To promote economic development it is essential that strategic relationships be established, with both the funding sources and sources of specific expertise that may be required. The conservancy and district offers a variety of experiences that include hiking and horse trails, trout fishing in dams of the pristine Bivane River, birding as well as water sport at the recreation resort. Major tourism projects are in the implementation stage, which includes the development of the game farm as such as well as the Arts and Crafts Village, both aiming at the creation of job opportunities for the local community. This tourism venture aims at decreasing the unemployment ratio.
A further area of tourism potential is the recently emerging trout fishing route in the mountainous regions to the north of Utrecht. Several land owners in the area have fully advanced trout fishing routes, which are in the process of being linked to the District's Midway Meander initiative.
Utrecht does not only offer an historical experience to the tourist but has tranquil Caravan Park, Bushcamps, Game Drives, & Birding Tours and Country Club with all Sport facilities. Development Opportunities
Potential economic development opportunities have been identified based on an integration of the resources available for economic development, the skills base of the area and the external resources potentially available. The opportunities were identified within the framework of six basic strategies for future economic development, which include: Increasing the rates base of the area; Drawing private public partnership sector investment capital to the area; Creating sustainable job opportunities; Developing the skills of the community; Ensuring sustainability of existing development projects.
Specific resources to be considered include:
The potential for forestry and related development;
Balele Conservancy and various activities linked thereto;
Utrecht town which is marketed as " The Town Within A Game Park"; and
The potential re-opening of the mines in the municipality.
Historical & Other Places of Interest Dutch Reformed Church, a national monument built of sandstone; Utrecht Community Game Farm; Mangosuthu Arts and Crafts Centre; Wakkerstroom wetlands;Utrecht Museum; Old Parsonage Museum.
Long term vision
Emadlangeni Municipality will provide social and economic upliftment on a continuously improving basis
Like the IDP process, the PGDS develops a Vision, Mission and strategies. Of key important to the Municipal IDP's, however, are Provincial Priorities. The Provincial Priorities drive the PGDS programmes, and are derived from the key developmental challenges related to economic and social needs of the province. The PGDS goals are as follows:
• Job creation;
• Human Resources Development;
• Human and Community Development;
• Strategic Infrastructure;
• Response to climate change;
• Governance and Policy; and
• Spatial Equity
Municipal Motto: "Laudate Dominimum ob Omnia Bona."
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: KZ253
Location of Head Office: Emadlangeni is 52 km east of Newcastle and 65 km west of Vryheid (R34
Municipal Area (km2): 3 534.71 km2
Population (estimated): 35 962
Contributes To: Amajuba District Municipality
Main Towns: Bloedrivier, Groenvlei, Kingsley, Utrecht.
Mayor: L Y Mhulungu
Other Members of Council: N Ndlovu (Deputy Mayor and Exco), Z H Madi (Speaker and Exco), H M Mthethwa (Exco), T S Buthelezi, M M Booysen, M J Mthethwa, V C Ndlovu, N A Madida, F Mlambo, F G S Smook
Municipal Manager: Mr S F Mtshali (Acting)
Chief Financial Officer: Mr W Mtusva
Communications Officer: Mr S B Sikhakhane
LED Officer: Mr T P Zondi (Manager: LED)
Other Senior Management: S B Sikhakhane (Director: Corporate Services), A R Reynard (Chief Protection Services), Mr S F Mtshali (Director: Planning and Economic Development)