The Ezinqoleni Local Municipality is located on the south-western boundary of the Ugu District, to the west of Hibiscus Coast and the east of the uMuziwabantu municipalities. It is the smallest of the district municipalities, and has its offices in the Izingolweni settlement, which is some 40 kilometres west of Port Shepstone.
The Ezinqoleni Municipal area covers approximately 649 square kilometres. The major land uses in the area are tribal settlements (the KwaNyuswa, KwaMthimude and KwaVukuzithathe areas, which occupy 47% of the Municipality), smallholdings and commercial farms. The Umtamvuna and Umzimkhulu rivers are the main sources of water for residents of the municipality. The terrain is hilly, and contains extraordinary features such as the Oribi Gorge, which has potential as a tourist attraction. The combination of rivers and valleys does, however, make some parts of the municipality inaccessible, especially during the rainy season.
There is an acute shortage of basic services and facilities, housing, and employment. More specifically, there is an urgent need to supply water, sanitation and electricity, and to address problems of access. Ninety percent of people find access to facilities difficult. This means the construction and repair of roads, bridges and pedestrian crossings is needed. Another urgent requirement is the provision of adequate and accessible health care and educational facilities.
Economic activities in Ezinqoleni are mostly agricultural. Commercial agriculture produces sugar-cane, tea and, more recently, macadamia nuts. There is small-scale mixed farming and susbsistence farming. Commercial activity is limited.
The Municipality intends to develop Ezinqoleni's tourist market. Projects include expanding and promoting the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, developing an eco-tourism trail, and creating an arts and crafts training centre and market, to be called Ezinqoleni Cultural Village.
Local Economic Development
Specific projects are to develop business hives in nodal areas such as Nqabeni and Oribi Gorge for small and medium-sized enterprises such as catering, juice making, panelbeating, baking; and to introduce irrigation schemes along the Mtamvuna River for community gardens.
By 2012, Ezinqoleni community will be enjoying a better quality of life. It will have a well-skilled population involved in sustainable economic activities focusing on agriculture and local economic development- related initiatives, supported by sound physical and social infrastructure.