Lying to the north of RichardsBay, MbonambiMunicipality falls within the jurisdiction of the UthunguluDistrictMunicipality. The biggest proportion of land within the Mbonambi Municipal area is owned by private organizations and IngonyamaTrustLand. This private owned land is located in the centre of the municipal area surrounding Kwambonambi. The second biggest area is Mhlana Traditional Authority followed by the Sokhulu and Mbonambi Traditional Authorities.Mbonambi is located close to the N2 highway, the national artery, which runs from Cape Town to Mozambique carrying investors, business and tourist traffic. Mbonambi is located in close proximity to the harbour and industrial complex of the City of uMhlathuze, comprising the towns of RichardsBay and Empangeni. The MbonambiMunicipality is close to the St Lucia Estuary, a world heritage site, and to the popular fishing spot of Mapelane as well as the world-famous Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game reserves. The Owen Sithole College of Agriculture, which is located in the area, contributes to the advancement of agricultural research and training.
Meaning “Place where the Chiefs gather”, the village of Kwambonambi has importance in the history and culture of the Zulu Nation. KwaMbonambi, with its abundance of land has been as identified as a primary development node. There is potential for residential and an industrial development, as well as the expansion of its well-developed timber industry. Already people working in RichardsBay seek the tranquillity of Mbonambi, with its tree-lined roads and well-built homes. It offers the services of an ABSA mobile Home, superette, bottle store, post office, doctor, and a magistrate court.
Infrastructural provision in the municipal area has historically been provided in a haphazard and unstructured manner, and the majority of the residents do not enjoy access to basic services, even considering minimum requirements. In order to achieve this it is suggested that this be done within the context of a Spatial Development Framework, which will provide a logical and incremental basis for project implementation.
Although the N2, the main link between Durban, the KZN North coast, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, traverse the area. Access to the remainder of the area is poor although distances are generally less than 50 kilometres from the N2. Sandy conditions in the Sokhulu/ Mbonambi area complicates access and many roads are not accessible in the wet season. The improvement of the road infrastructure will remedy the situation to a great extent since service centres such as Empangeni, RichardsBay, Mtubatuba and Kwambonambi are within a reasonable connecting distance i.e. less than an hour or so.
The Uthungulu District Council currently fulfills certain functions on behalf of the municipality such as water and sanitation and waste management due to limited local capacity. A recently constructed water pipeline supplying water from Enseleni has been commissioned and assures the town of a reliable supply. Eskom serves the area with electricity.
The Provincial Government has made available funds for the upgrading of services and prioritised projects have been identified through the IDP process and are being addressed. Mbonambi significant resources have been spent on upgrading facilities and services in the former townships. The municipality is aiming at rejuvenating the area via infrastructure development and private investment. There is an abundance of land which can be made available for industrial purposes
Overall the objective is to provide infrastructure, both physical and social, addressing the backlogs and to ensure balanced growth in an equitable manner with the emphasis being on accessibility to basic services for the residents of the MbonambiMunicipality. It is foreseen that a relatively high level of water, sanitation, electricity, municipal roads, storm water and refuse removal service be provided. Social infrastructure and services such as telecommunication and postal services, community halls, sport and recreational facilities, education facilities, health facilities and emergency call points be provided and finally the provision of business opportunities, safety and security, police service and government offices to ensure local economic development.
This area is primarily rural; agriculture, mining, sugar cane and timber plantations make up the main economic activity. Richards Bay Minerals generates considerable economic activity and revenue. Mondi, SAFCOL and SAPPI do the same on a smaller scale. These companies do not only create direct job opportunities, but also stimulate the development of supporting service industries. RBM especially, has embarked on extensive social upliftment programmes during it history as is evident in the many schools, clinics, and social development programmes.
Commercial timber and sugarcane production dominate the agricultural activity within the Municipality. The Mbonambi and Sokhulu traditional areas have a high agricultural potential, but due to traditional settlement patterns, customs, and the forced relocation of some communities, the agricultural activity remains at a low intensity. Agricultural production in the traditional areas are limited with the absence of finance, skills, land availability, access to markets, and training programmes limiting factors. Rural Mbonambi boasts 39 mayoral development projects which range from chicken farms to block-making.
The tourism sector is being promoted as a leading sector in KwaZulu-Natal, and it certainly can be an important potential generator of economic growth. The Municipality is blessed with some fine potential tourism sites such as: NineMileBeach, in the Mbonambi area, Dawson’s Rock development in Sokhulu, and Lake Eteza Nature Reserve, north of Kwambonambi.
Local Economic Development
The following strategies have been identified
To develop a strong, dynamic and balanced economy with the emphasis on maintaining existing strongholds such as RBM, Mondi, and Sappi, but expanding tourist opportunities along the coastal zone,
Enhancing the traditional economy through the establishment of opportunities, training, and marketing ;
To develop the human resources capacity of all residents within the Mbonambi municipal area by offering information and training;
To create an effective and productive municipal area through the growth and development of the local economy, especially in the agricultural and tourism sectors;
To assist small and medium sized development and the implementation of various programmes and initiatives to give effect to this strategy, especially programmes offered by the Departments of Agriculture and Land Affairs;
Focus on specific economic sectors to promote tourism, agro-based industries and processing industries;
Encourage private investment, by offering incentives and opportunities to outside investors to assist in uplifting traditional economics;
Mobilizing public, private and community resources;
To expand the local tourism industry in recognition of the potential of major draw cards such as the N2 transportation corridor and the Mbonambi, Sokhulu coast as sources of income generation and investment;
The support of emerging small farmers by technical and financial assistance to ensure greater productivity, more in a coordination role;
The development of markets at appropriate nodes as identified in the Mbonambi Spatial Development Framework
Historical & Other Places of Interest
Marché Guest House & Dungeon Bar (underground conference facility, bar and pool area)
Africa Curios (outside Enseleni) - Bar area, pool tables, curios
To improve the quality of life of all the people of MbonambiMunicipality by creating an economically viable development.
MbonambiMunicipality will strive towards providing services that will meet the needs of all people by:
Promoting social and economic development;
Providing and maintaining affordable services;
Efficient and effective utilization of resources;
Marketing the Municipality locally and globally; and
Establishing the Municipality as a tourist destination.
Mayor, Cllr Simangaliso Wonder Mgenge
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: KZ281
Location of Head Office: KwaMbonambi is 30 km north from Richards Bay