The UlundiLocalMunicipality is located in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. The UlundiLocalMunicipality area is approximately 4 185 km². It includes the Traditional Authorities of Buthelezi, Hlatswayo, Jama, Lukwazi Ntuli, Mbatha, Mpungose, Ndebele, Ntombele, Usustu, Ximba, Zondo.
Approximately half the Municipal area consists of commercial farms and the area supports a substantial agricultural community. Ulundi town represents the only urban area in the municipal area and therefore plays an important role in the provision of social and economic facilities to the total population of Ulundi. This places an enormous pressure on the urban area for the delivery of services. A significant number of households in the rural area are headed by females, who are usually more disadvantaged in terms of resources and education.
The modern Ulundi was established on the site of the capital chosen by Cetshwayo when he succeeded his father, King Mpande, in 1873. The relocation of a number of government departments to Pietermaritzburg has resulted in a move of employees out of Ulundi. This move has been detrimental to Ulundi's economy and efforts should be made to diversify Ulundi's economic base.
Large wholesale stores dominate the commercial and retail sector, which distribute goods to villages in the hinterland through the "bakkie" market. The trade sector has potential for further growth but this will depend upon greater levels of diversification.
It is estimated that the informal sector and the SMME sector adds another 12% to the formal economy with activities occurring throughout the Municipal area. The main concentration is, however, within the Ulundi CBD and at modal transfer points.
The construction sector has grown only minimally and remains underdeveloped. Growth in this sector will depend on providing emerging contractors with the necessary technical and managerial skills and assisting them to gain access to bridging finance.
Access to Business and Finance services in the CBD of Ulundi is one of the main reasons for people visiting the CBD.
Ulundi has embarked on strategic planning for meaningful development in respect of economic growth and the establishment of educational and training, recreation and sports facilities. Ulundi is ideally situated for office, industrial, commercial and tourism development and has set its target on becoming a major investment-friendly destination in the region. Many of the criteria by which the potential of a city is judged are already in place. A plus point is that it will serve a market for a million people in the region.
The city lists as positive investment potential, a large and stable labour force, stable political environment, low crime rate, competitive land prices and service charges, accessibility to export markets via Richards Bay, accessibility to the rest of South Africa by rail, road and air, a good local infrastructure, excellent primary, secondary and tertiary educational facilities and good hotel and conference facilities.
Forestry, sugar cane, sub-tropical fruit, livestock and farming are the dominant agricultural activities in the area. Most commercial farming occurs within the Babanango area to the west of the Babanango town. This area is considered to be an excellent farming area. Very little commercial farming occurs in the tribal authority areas and the usual technical weaknesses of subsistence farming are evident. Promotion of agriculture creates downstream investment opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
Ulundi lies at the hub of the old ZuluKingdom and the sector is considered to be hugely underdeveloped with many of the cultural resources not being capitalised on. A number of tourism activities are located in and around Ulundi. These include game reserves, historical/cultural sites, cultural events and guest lodges. Game reserves in the area include the Hluhluwe-UmfoloziPark, the Ophathe Game Reserve, and the ThakaZulu Game Reserve. Historical/cultural sites include Nodwengu (King Mpande's residence and grave), Ulundi Battlefield, and Piet Retief's grave.
The KwaZuluCulturalMuseum houses interesting displays relating to Zulu history and archaeology. The beehive huts and the layout of the original Zulu village have been reproduced.
The eMakhosini Conservancy (Valley of the Zulu Kings), birthplace of King Shaka, is the venue for a new tourism- and economic development project, which includes a number of historical sites. The joint public-private sector project aims to preserve the culture and history of the Zulu people.
By 2030 Ulundi will be the gateway to the core of the Zulu cultural heritage.
The Ulundi Local Municipality forms part of the Zululand District Municipality Towns within the municipal boundaries: Babanango, Komvoorhoogte, KwaMahlathi, Mahlabathini, Mkhazane, Munganhlophe, Nhlazatshe, Schoonstroom, Ulundi
Political Management Mayor: W M Ntshangase
Other Members of Council: T G Madela (Deputy Mayor), N J Manana (Speaker)
Municipal Manager: P S A Buthelezi / N G Zulu
Chief Financial Officer: Mr J H Mhlongo