The Mtubatuba Local Municipality is situated along the northern coastal belt of KwaZulu-Natal. Mtubatuba is located roughly 200 kms north of Durban and 55 kms north of the Richards Bay/Empangeni metropole along National Route N2. The town is ideally located as a base from which to explore the rich culture of the Zulu Nation and world renowned game reserves and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - about 25 km away.
Mtubatuba has developed from a humble railway siding into a strong sub-regional commercial, service, transport and administrative centre for the entire North Eastern Zululand region. In the past few years there has been substantial commercial growth in Mtubatuba with retail and wholesale outlets opening. Mtubatuba's status as an economic hub of northern KwaZulu-Natal needs to be maintained by upgrading of the town and its amenities through provision of residential land and shopping facilities.
The Umfolozi Sugar Mill, part of Illovo Sugar Limited is the industrial flagship of Mtubatuba and a number of service orientated light industrial concerns are located within the industrial area of Mtubatuba.
St. Lucia has a long history with seafarers, hunters, Governments, travellers fisherman and holiday makers. St. Lucia, the town, is the most southern entrance to the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park World Heritage Site. The town is approximately 30 km to the east of the N2 north south main tourist route.
Current Situation More than half of the households in the municipality live in tribal villages or on rural farms. In addition, there is considerable overcrowding in the formal town of Kwamsane. Consequently, the municipality has initiated two projects to provide additional housing for the people. The national Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has purchased two farms, adjoining and north of Monzi, to provide alternative land for settlement by families residing in the sensitive indigenous forests, and has allocated a portion of state forest land to accommodate 750 families in an agri-village layout.
Access to the farming and rural communities within the municipal area is provided by a network of low-order local roads.
The municipal area is well supplied with natural water bodies, wetland areas and indigenous forests, as well as good quality ground water.
Economy The largest employment sector is the agricultural sector. Timber is provided for pulp, poles, firewood and veneer. The mill at Riverview is the focus of the sugarcane activities.
Natural resources provide the focus for the eco-tourism industry, which extends beyond the municipal area into adjoining municipalities, formal game and nature reserves and private game lodges. Various accommodation establishments are located in the greater Mtubatuba area along with restaurants and sporting facilities.
Tourism St Lucia Estuary is the gateway to the eastern shores of LakeSt Lucia. Extensive conservation programmes have been undertaken since a game reserve was established on the estuarine system fed by the Mkuze, Nyalazi and Hluhluwe rivers.
The iSimangaliso WetlandPark, is a World Heritage Site encompassing five different ecosystems. Its wetlands, swamps, mangroves and lagoons attract many eco-tourists and nature lovers. The region contains the highest vegetated dunes in the world, extensive and diverse wetland systems, as well as coastal grasslands with an associated fauna which includes the Africa's highest density of common reedbuck. Numerous waterfowl, grassland, forest and sea birds provide an attraction to birdwatchers from around the world.
In February 2002 the National Environmental Management Act of 1998 came into effect, banning the use of vehicles within the coastal zone. This has curtailed the use of St Lucia beach for recreational and boating purposes.
The concerns of the St Lucia community arise from the impact which such banning will have on the economic future and stability of the town. The Mtubatuba municipality has made application for the formal designation of a recreational use area at St Lucia.
Tourist amenities include fishing, the St Lucia Crocodile Centre, and a short self-guided trail through the coastal forest along the edge of the estuary. Caution is necessary when surfing or swimming in the sea as there are no shark nets. Swimming in the lake is prohibited due the presence of crocodiles. Malaria precautions are necessary. Accommodation is provided at St Lucia Estuary in three camping and caravan grounds.
Turtle breading season starts October the one year until April the next year while whale watching season is from June until December. For the sport fishermen St. Lucia offers game fishing, rock and surf fishing, fly fishing and spear fishing.
St. Lucia also offers hippo cruises, walking trials, kayak safaris, night safaris, and game safaris. The wide open beaches with the high sand dunes are perfect for sun bathing, volley ball, picnics and relaxing walks
Nearby CapeVidal is a gorgeous stretch of beach where one can swim, snorkel, fish and sail.
Local Economic Development A number of strategies have been outlined:
To market Mtubatuba aggressively as the service centre and gateway to the ecotourism gem of the District and the Park.
To plan for and identify and make sufficient, optimally located, land available for the establishment of tourist facilities, businesses, services and low impact industry.
To set in place the necessary co-operative structures and mechanisms to ensure appropriate safety and security measures.
Mtubatuba with its people, for its people, the vibrant, prosperous eco-tourist and development heartland of Umkhanyakude, KwaZulu-Natal
Towns within the municipal boundaries: KwaMsane, Mtubatuba, River View, St Lucia
Inkosi Mtubatuba was king of the Mkhwanazi tribe in 1912.
Mayor: Q Mkhwanazi
Other Members of Council: M S Gumede (Deputy Mayor), M Davies (Speaker)
Administrative Management Municipal Manager: Mrs N H M Dladla (Acting)
Chief Financial Officer: Ms Z Soji
Communications Officer: Mr Mduduzi Mahlinza
Other Senior Management: Ningi Dladla (General Manager: Corporate Services),
Acting GM: Community Services - Mr. K Mkhwanazi, Acting GM: Technical Services - Mr. Mkhumbuzi