Amajuba District Municipality is situated within the north western corner of the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. The district has abundant water, a reliable labour force, well developed transport infrastructure, first world educational, medical and community services, internationallyacclaimed tourism attractions, and an enviable lifestyle.
Newcastle is the district seat and the town has long been an important hub of agricultural and industrial development as well as trade for this region and the province. Newcastle is also an important transport route for goods and services between Durban and Gauteng and other inland provinces. The region is linked to Johannesburg and the port cities of Richards Bay and Durban by road, rail and an airport with tarred runways and night landing systems. This town will continue to influence development of surrounding towns and villages in both KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.
The vibrant central business district of Newcastle contains all of the county's major banks and financial institutions, as well as modern conference facilities. The Newcastle Regional Mall was officially opened in April 2012 by President Zuma as a onestop shopping destination that will service the entire region. The centre is anchored by Checkers, Pick n Pay, Game, Edgars, and Woolworths and will strengthen the role of Newcastle as an economic hub.
The ArcelorMittal steelworks and the 500 00m2 Karbochem synthetic rubber plant dominate Newcastle's industrial portfolio. A joint venture project between Karbochem and German manufacturing giant Bayer has made Newcastle the largest producer of chrome chemicals in Africa. However, a diversity of manufacturing and commercial undertakings share in the region's success. Other large operations include heavy engineering concerns, a granite tile factory, steel reinforcement, and a slagment cement factory.
The KwaZulu-Natal Clothing and Textile Cluster (KZNCTC) has established a Sector Business Support Centre in Newcastle, aimed at regenerating the area's clothing and textile industry. Amongst other manufacturers, Allwear the country's largest producer of school wear operates in the town.
The fully-serviced modern business industrial estate and other open land will accommodate any needs. A significant factor in an investor's industrial location assessment is the overall operating cost and all services are available at competitive, market- related prices.
There is potential for future growth and research has shown that Amajuba has advantages for the manufacture of:
High quality leather goods
Textiles and textile products
Metal products and machinery
The economy in Amajuba was historically focused on coal mining but many collieries have closed. There are opportunities for small scale mining of coal, clays or reworking coal dumps.
Amajuba has a competitive advantage in its agricultural sector and can be described as one of the most fertile regions in KZN. The local agricultural sector will play a critical role in the district's and province's economies for some years to come, especially in terms of production value and employment. Agricultural activities include subsistence farming, forestry, game, cattle, sheep, wheat, soya and, maize. The district is the most important wool producing area in KwaZulu-Natal.
Government entities such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Empowerment Fund, the KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Economic Development and Agriculture, and relevant District Municipalities have been working with communities in the uMzinyathi, Amajuba and Zululand Districts to supply a variety of produce such as fruit, vegetable, and livestock. Over 70 co-operatives are now active across the surrounding districts with a variety of produce.
Agricultural opportunities identified are:
The development of an Agric Hub which will be linked to the Dube TradePort
Dairy farming focussing on the export of milk, cheese, powdered milk, yogurt and fruit juices
The processing of soya to create bio-diesel and soya meal
Vegetable tunnel farming
Beef: Feedlot development
Amajuba offers significant opportunities for tourism investment, including several joint ventures with surrounding districts. The region is close to the majestic Drakensberg mountains and is an integral part of the internationally renowned Battlefields Route, which focuses on the battles that have sculptured the history of South Africa.
The Amajuba Birding Meander with its grassveld, bushveld and mountain habitats, offers an associated range of bird species.
The Chelmsford Nature Reserve has white rhino, wildebeest, zebra, blesbok, springbok and numerous bird species. Within the reserve, Ntshingwayo Dam, the third largest dam in KwaZulu-Natal is an excellent venue for a variety of water sports. The dam is renowned for carp and bass fishing.
The town of Utrecht lies within the confines of the Balele Game Park and the Utrecht Community Game Farm. The long-term plan is to open the whole area to the town which creates many opportunities for rural tourism and for the manufacturing of arts and crafts in the more remote areas.
The mountainous regions to the north of Utrecht are ideally suited to trout fishing. Several land owners in the area have fully advanced trout fishing routes, which are in the process of being linked to the District's Midway Meander initiative.
Other activities in Amajuba include hiking, horse riding, off-road vehicle trails, and hunting.
Amajuba is poised for accelerated economic development and offers investors a focused, structured and rewarding opportunity in KwaZulu-Natal.