uThukela District Municipality, the soul of the Zulu kingdom, is a region that has abundant natural resources and opportunities.
uThukela is highly accessible and linked to both the provincial and national economic centres by well established provincial and national road networks. The N3 and N11 make uThukela an important entry point to KwaZulu-Natal. The R74 is an alternative route from the Free State, and is an important tourist route linking the Drakensberg with the north coast of the province.
uThukela has a strong district council which performs an important developmental and administrative role in the region. Investment into infrastructure and services such as water, sports fields, community halls, roads and crèches has benefited many rural communities.
The key economic sectors within uThukela include agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, while freight and logistics are a growing sector. The textile, clothing, footwear and leather industries have historically been the mainstay of the regional economy, with food, beverages and tobacco being other significant manufacturing sub-sectors.
Ladysmith, a thriving, friendly town on the banks of the Klip River, is the major service and retail centre for the region. Ladysmith is centrally located with respect to important corridor development and transport routes in the region, which increases the economic opportunities in and around the town. Due to this location the establishment of an inland cargo terminal container handling facility, intermodal exchange point, refuelling depot, warehousing, storage, clearing and forwarding facilities have been proposed. Ladysmith offers several industrial areas, the largest being the Ithala Industrial Estate located a short distance from the central business district.
uMtshezi, adjacent to the N3 national highway, and on the Johannesburg-Durban electrified main railway line, occupies the ideal spot for any manufacturing industry. uMtshezi has a highly efficient, reliable and cost effective electrical infrastructure, which supplies its large industries with all the power they need to run their plants. An abundance of water, from the nearby Wagendrift Dam, ensures that the industrialists are suitably served at reasonable costs.
Estcourt serves as a regional shopping and service centre. The town is well known for some of its industries such as:
The Eskort Bacon Factory which produces sausages and other meat products known throughout many parts of the world
Nestle, the largest factory of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere
Masonite producing hardboard, softboard and related timber products
The municipal area is generally characterised by good potential agricultural land. The commercial farming sector is dominated by forestry plantations, and field crops including maize, dry beans and potatoes. The extensive livestock production focuses primarily on beef, dairy and sheep.
Prospective agricultural projects include: deciduous, berry and citrus fruit plantations, large-scale production of vegetables, sunflowers and peanuts, aloe and Berg tea project, poultry farming, goat farming, bee keeping and game farms.
uThukela with its scenic Ukhahlamba Drakensberg mountains and historic battlefields is one of South Africa's prime tourist destinations. Annually, approximately half a million tourists are attracted to the Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site from as far afield as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Holland and North America, as well as domestic tourists primarily from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Winterton, situated in the foothills of the Drakensberg, is the main access point to the Central Drakensberg region. Of late the town has become a tourist attraction offering everything from accommodation to adventure activities.
The Royal Natal National Park and the Rugged Glen Nature Reserve boast some of South Africa's most beautiful mountain landscapes, which include the magnificent peaks of Mont-Aux-Sources. The flat summit of the awesome 3 283 m high pinnacle can be reached by means of a chain ladder. The Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest waterfall, is also located in the region.
Cathkin Park in the heart of the Drakensberg's Champagne Valley contains a number of fine hotels, restaurants and golf courses. Between Bergville and the Royal Natal National Park is the Zulu handicraft centre of Thandanani that sells a variety of traditional beadwork, woodwork and baskets.
Van Reenen is located at the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Orange Free State on the main N 3 highway. The little village is famous for having the Llandaff Oratory, the smallest church in the world - capable of a full house of eight people.
The scenic 980 ha Wagendrift Nature Reserve surrounds the Wagendrift Dam. Boating and fishing are the primary activities and a relaxed three kilometre self-guided trail winds along the Bushman's River, where the wildlife and bird life of the reserve can be observed. The Bushman's River is well suited to the development of eco-adventure tourism.
The Weenen Game Reserve forms the core of the Thukela Biosphere. Consisting of some 100 000 hectares of valley bushveld, the Thukela Biosphere is a unique concept that promotes conservation and community upliftment, through the sustainable utilisation of the area's natural resources.
uThukela has a number of project proposals available for investment
The Mnweni Valley Cableway
Umsuluzi Game Park
Weenen Cultural Theme Park
The Zulu Gateway
The development of the Woodstock Dam Adventure Resort
The Cannibal Route
Mountain of Remembrance
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: DC23
Location of Head Office: Ladysmith
Municipal Area (km²): 11 329 km²
Population (estimated): ± 714 915 Population (Community Survey 2007 - Stats SA)
Local Municipalities: Emnambithi/Ladysmith; Imbabazane; Indaka; Okhahlamba; Umtshezi
A stable, and prosperous district with caring leaders who serve with excellence in government, service
delivery and economic development.
We promote a people-centred environment with emphasis on communication, integrity, economy,
effectiveness and efficiency.