uMzinyathi District Municipality is located in the northern central areas of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. The district lies between the main N3 corridor from Durban to Gauteng and the coastal corridor, running along the east coast.
uMzinyathi includes some of the poorest and most under developed rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, most notable the Msinga and Nquthu Municipalities. In Nquthu and Msinga there is a dominance of the three peri-urban settlements of Tugela Ferry, Pomeroy and Keate's Drift. The population densities of these three areas are higher than those of the rest of the district.
Important towns are Dundee in Endumeni, which is the service centre and the geographical and administrative heart of northern KwaZulu-Natal, and Greytown in Umvoti, a strong regional centre with substantial commercial and agricultural activity. Nquthu is strategically located on the crossroad of provincial roads, placing the node as an economic powerhouse, with the potential to grow as a service support hub. Economic sectors include manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.
The temperate climate, which only receives some frost in parts of the region in winter, allows for a range of agricultural activities. The area has extensive grasslands in the north supporting the primary agricultural sector based on cattle ranching for beef, small scale sheep and mixed farming as well as maize cultivation. Orange Grove Dairy has one of South Africa's largest pedigree Jersey herds and manufactures and distributes over 200 dairy products throughout KwaZulu-Natal.
In the southern areas substantial forestry is prevalent. Sugar cane and smaller scale fruit farming such as avocado and kiwi fruit cultivation also occur.
Potential exists in the:
Growth of maize, soybean and sugar cane production
Expanding informal agricultural activities to larger operations with more commercial value
Broadening rural livelihoods through targeted agricultural production
Mineral deposits found in the district include coal and metal ores. There is interest in the small scale regeneration of the coal belt. uMzinyathi, in conjunction with Amajuba Municipality, are branded as the custodians of the Battlefields region of the Zulu Kingdom, which play a vital role in the economy of KwaZulu-Natal.
Isandlwana where the Zulu army attacked a British regiment is a well known tourist destination worldwide. Rorke's Drift is the site of one of the most famous battles of the Anglo-Zulu War where 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded, the most ever to be won in a single battle.
Visitors to the area are mainly domestic tourists, although some foreign tourists pass through the region en route to other attractions outside the node such as the Drakensberg, Swaziland or the Kruger National Park. The key challenge is to upgrade the economic node's tourism attractions and improve its accommodation facilities in order to retain a greater share of tourism activity.
The unique destination also offers Zulu cultural experiences, craft and birding routes, 13 private game reserves, fishing in dams and rivers, white-water rafting, horseback safaris and a host of other adventures.
A number of gracious old homes in the towns and on farms have been converted into tourist accommodation. Authentic battlefield hotels, like the Royal Country Inn in Dundee, guest lodges, self-catering cottages and caravan parks offer visitors a wide range of quality accommodation.
The following projects have potential for investors:
Ngome Community Game Reserve
Kwashushu Hot Springs
uMzinyathi Community Education Centre
The area is home to a number of skilled crafts people. Pottery, wood work, hand knotted carpets, woven grass baskets, and Zulu beadwork, are all produced here and the artists and crafts people can be seen at work in their own environment. The strong traditional culture present is a valuable asset that provides support mechanisms for the local communities, and is a living custodian of the Zulu culture.
Dundee and Glencoe have well established and serviced areas for light to medium industry.
In addition to the inducement of being in a rural environment, away from city life but with all amenities available, the local authority offers various incentives to industrial investors. These incentives relating to land price, municipal rates and taxes and electricity charges are fully negotiable, depending upon the level of investment.