THE SOUL OF THE ZULU KINGDOM
uThukela District Municipality, the soul of the Zulu kingdom, is a region that has an abundance of 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 toKwaZulu-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 that has performed an important developmental and administrative role in the region. Investment into infrastructure and services such as water, sports fields, community halls, roads and creches 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 municipal area is generally characterized 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.
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.
The textile, clothing, footwear and leather industries have historically been themainstay of the regional economy, with food, beverages and tobacco being other significant manufacturing sub-sectors.
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
Nestle, the largest factory of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere; and
Masonite producing hardboard, softboard and related timber products.
Other industries include glassware, nylon goods, maize products, and textiles.
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 ParkWorld 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 is situated in the foothills of the Drakensberg and is the main access point to the Central Drakensberg. Of late the town has become a tourist attraction offering everything from accommodation to adventure activities in the Drakensberg region.
The Royal Natal National Park and the Rugged Glen Nature Reserve boast one of South Africa's most beautiful mountain landscapes, which include the magnificent peaks of Mont-Aux-Sources. The awesome pinnacle is 3 283 mhigh and the flat summit can be reached by means of a chain ladder. The Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest waterfall, is also located in the uThukela region.
Cathkin Park is in the heart of the Drakensberg's Champagne Valley and 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 8 people.
The scenic 980 ha Wagendrift Nature Reserve surrounds the Wagendrift Dam. Boating and fishing are the primary activities around the dam, and a relaxed three kilometre self-guided trailwinds along the Bushman's River providing the opportunity to observe the wildlife and bird life of the reserve The Bushman's River is well suited to the development of eco-adventure tourism.
The Weenen Game Reserve is a KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Services Park that forms the core of theThukela 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 opportunities.
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
Uthukela is well on its way to reach its vision of providing an improved quality of life for all in a globally interconnected, stable and developed region.
Mayor, Cllr DCP Mazibuko
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: DC23 Location of Head Office: Ladysmith Municipal Area (km): 11 329 km Population (estimated): 714 915 Population (Community Survey 2007 - Stats SA) Local Municipalities: Emnambithi/Ladysmith; Imbabazane; Indaka; Okhahlamba; Umtshezi
MEMBERS OF COUNCIL Her Worship the Mayor: Cllr Duduzile Mazibuko Speaker: Cllr J.M.B. Jeebodh
CHIEF OFFICERS Municipal Manager: S.S.B. Nkehli Chief Financial Officer: J.N.Madondo Executive Director Corporate Services: Z.D. Sithole Executive Director Technical & Infrastructural Services: Vacant (B.H. Khoza -acting) Executive Director Health & Environmental Services: B.H. Khoza Acting Executive Director Strategic Planning & Economic Development: W.Viljoen Water Services Manager: B.S. Dladla