By ITU Admin on 24/05/06 at 12:00 am
The uThungulu District Municipality is the umbrella body for six local municipalities in the uThungulu region, which stretches from Gingindlovu in the south, to KwaMbonambi in the north and inland to Nkandla. The six local municipalities are as follows:
• KwaMbonambi (KZ 281)
• Mhlathuze (KZ 282)
• Ntambanana (KZ 283)
• uMlalazi (KZ 284)
• Mthonjaneni (KZ 285)
• Nkandla (KZ 286).
uThungulu has the third highest population in the province after the eThekweni Metro and the uMgungundlovu District, with an estimated 855 000 residents scattered across an area of 8200 square kilometres.
The significant economic centres in the district are Richards Bay and Empangeni. The harbour facilities at Richards Bay (the largest deepwater port in Southern Africa) are world-class and there is tremendous potential for further expansion. This has been the prime attraction for large scale industrialization in the district which has resulted in Richards Bay becoming the fastest growing urban centre in South Africa.
Manufacturing is the largest contributor to the economy of the district, followed by the transport sector and agriculture. The most important agricultural sectors are sugar cane and timber. Tourism is a significant income provider and has the potential to become even more so into the future. This is largely due to the fact that the uThungulu region is home to the great Zulu nation with its rich history and culture. There is a growing demand for Zulu handcrafts and cultural items both domestically and on overseas markets, a demand which is creating much-needed employment. Other attractions to foreign and domestic tourists are the game parks, the St Lucia Wetlands (a World Heritage Site) and the warm Indian Ocean coastline.
The uThungulu District Municipality has an important role to play in bringing investment into the region and in uplifting the rural areas for which it is responsible by providing basic services such as water and sanitation. Although the municipality’s primary aim is to provide municipal infrastructure and services, it is also very serious about kick starting and facilitating economic development in the region. For this reason, it pursues partnerships with the private and public sectors, as well as international investors, to provide equitable and sustainable services.
The bulk of the municipality’s annual expenditure is spent on water and sanitation services as uThungulu is the designated water services authority and water services provider for five of the six local municipalities in the district.