The Municipality of uMlalazi covers one of the largest geographical areas of all municipalities in South Africa, with a total area of some 2 300 square km. The municipal area includes a coastline on the Indian Ocean of some 18 km together with a considerable rural hinterland.
By far the largest proportions of services backlogs occur in the rural areas and the provision of these services requires a substantial amount of funding. The area appears to have sufficient sources for the provision of water. A complicating factor is the undulating topography characteristic of the entire municipal area. In some instances it is therefore difficult and expensive to provide these services. Arterial roads through the area are in good condition. In practically all instances district roads and farm roads are in poor condition and in need of upgrading.
Eshowe - 'the place of cool breezes' - has been chosen throughout history for its climate. Birthplace of Cetshwayo, King of the Zulu Nation during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, it is situated near King Shaka's famous KwaBulawayo kraal. Eshowe is now the sub-regional centre and has the most diversified economy. Sporting facilities in Eshowe are unequalled in Zululand. A first-class championship golf course has been established, as well as all-weather tennis courts, a bowling green, rugby and cricket fields and two municipal swimming pools.
Gingindlovu is a small urban area which acts as a service centre for its surrounding area. Mtunzini is basically a dormitory town to the University of Zululand and to a certain extent also to Empangeni and RichardsBay.
The coastal town of Mtunzini, which means 'a place in the shade', is a leafy village, situated on the banks of the uMlalaziRiver bordering the uMlalazi Nature Reserve. Mtunzini is mainly a residential town, offering superb homes in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, within comfortable driving distance of the new N2 highway and the industrial and commercial growth areas of RichardsBay and Empangeni. Mtunzini has all the necessary shopping facilities, doctors, churches, banks, a pre-primary and also a primary school.
The uMlalazi Area is reliant on the Agricultural Sector for its economic well-being. Agricultural production is dominated by sugar cane and some timber production takes place, with citrus farming also found in the NkwaleniValley. There is however a need to diversify into more sustainable products such as dry fruit, juices, wood crafts, citrus oils. Value adding approaches should focus on processing, packaging, marketing and the distribution of farm produce.
Tourism is one of the cornerstones of the local economy and promises to grow in time. There is an influx of tourists into the area as a result of cultural and historical features in the area. The uMlalazi Local Economic Development Plan as well as the uThungulu District Local Economic Development Plan emphasizes the need for improving the tourism component in the local economy. In Eshowe there are very few accommodation establishments (besides the normal bed-and-breakfast facilites) that encourage tourists to overnight in the area. The possible introduction of a Hotel and Conference Centre in Mtunzini may well contribute to reducing this problem.
Eshowe offers a unique window on history as the oldest town in Zululand. It is also unique in having the 250 ha Dlinza indigenous forest within the town, with abundant facilities for walking, picnics and bird-watching. Eshowe has its own 'Beau Geste' - style fort - Nongqayi, now the home of the ZululandHistoricalMuseum, and scene of a siege 20 years before Ladysmith, Kimberley or Mafikeng. The SmallGamePark at the main entrance to the town is another attraction for visitors. Here a variety of animals live in natural surroundings. Also unique to Eshowe is the Vukani Collection, a display of Zulu artwork and handcraft. In addition, the site of the first Zulu martyr is found here. In Eshowe itself and within easy driving distance, a variety of traditional Zulu villages, and Zulu cultural experiences, is available to visitors. Shakaland is situated in the heart of Zululand, between Eshowe and Melmoth, nestling on the top of the Entombeni Hills, overlooking the PhobaneLake. The resort has been built on the set of the movies, Shaka Zulu and John Ross.
Mtunzini is a superb eco-tourism destination, boasting one of only two natural groves of Raphia australis palms in South Africa and the breeding place of the rare Palmnut Vulture. It is believed that there are only 7 or 8 breeding pairs of Palmnut Vultures in South Africa, and four of these are recorded in Mtunzini. A variety of over 350 bird species and approximately 75 waterbird species are found in Mtunzini, making it one of the best bird-watching locations in South Africa. The OngoyeForest situated in Obanjeni is known for the rare Green Barbet.
Amatikulu Reserve is small (2100 ha) and situated about 100km north of Durban. It is one of the few places in southern Africa where wildlife can be viewed feeding on forested dunes overlooking the sea. It occupies a narrow strip along the coast, reaching a maximum width of 3km and a length of 20km. Despite its size, the reserve contains many different habitats (including coastal, riparian and dune forest, grassland, lala palm bushveld, an estuary and a freshwater pan) the variety of which has resulted in a checklist of over 300 birds. The reserve lies at the confluence of the Amatikulu and Nyoni rivers, the latter running uniquely parallel to the Indian Ocean for about 8km.
Activities include: birding, hiking , 4x4 trails, canoeing , surf and lagoon fishing, deep sea fishing , enduro riding and quad bike hire, game viewing.
"To meet the basic needs of all through socio-economic development, within a safe, healthy, sustainable and enabling environment"
Towns within the municipal boundaries: Amatikulu, Bashibisi, Eshowe, Fasinba, Gingindlovu, Magampondo, Mtunzini, Nkwalini, Ntumeni
uMlalazi means 'the place of whetstones'.
Mayor: Mr T B Zulu
Other Members of Council: B P Simelane (Deputy Mayor), C T Dlamini (Speaker), E Z Jaffe (Chief Whip), C M Gamede (LED)
Municipal Manager: Simon Mashabane
Chief Financial Officer: Zakhele Mhlongo
LED Officer: Ms Khonzi Mthiyane
Other Senior Management: K C Zulu (Director: Corporate Services), M Dlamini (Acting Director: Engineering Services), S Nzuza (Director: Community Services), X E Blose (Acting Director: Protection Services