The uMlalazi Municipality is a local Municipality, within the uThungulu District, KwaZulu-Natal Province in the Republic of South Africa. The uMlalazi Municipality is characterised by an undulating topography causing a certain amount of difficulties in respect of the delivery of engineering services. In addition the municipal area covers some 2 217km², one of the largest local authority areas in South Africa. The municipality borders on the Indian Ocean and has a coastline of approximately 17km.
The municipal area is characterised by commercial farming areas in a broad continuous band from the west of Eshowe to Gingindlovu and to the north of Mtunzini. The rest of the area consists of tribal authority land, where land management has been poor. The uMlalazi Municipality is crossed by a number of important transportation routes, such as the N2 Motorway between Durban and Richards Bay, the R34 between Richards Bay/Empangeni and Nkwaleni valley to the north of Eshowe, and the R66 from the N2 Motorway to Gingindlovu, Eshowe, Melmoth, Ulundi and Vryheid. The R66 and the R34 are both routes in need of maintenance as a result of heavy duty vehicles using the routes on a regular basis. Some upgrading is being done to the R66 to the east of Eshowe.
The uMlalazi Municipality is reliant on the Agricultural Sector for its economic well-being. This sector contributes 33% of the gross geographic product of the area and employs the majority of the workforce. The importance of Eshowe town in the Municipal area, is evident in that it is contribution to gross geographic product, in terms of the Government Sector which is mainly within Eshowe town, is 21%. Agricultural production is dominated by sugar cane and some timber production takes place, with citrus farming also found in the Nkwaleni Valley.
The population distribution in the municipal area is characterized by relatively high population densities within urban nodes, and low densities in rural areas. The municipal area is dominated by tribal areas and 14 Tribal Authorities exist within the area.
Eshowe, Mtunzini and Gingindlovu form the three main towns of uMlalazi Municipality. The town of Eshowe is of great historical significance in that it is the birthplace of Cetshwayo, who was king of the Zulu’s during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. There are several traditional Zulu villages open to tourists within an easy drive of the town. The Dlinza Forest is a beautiful forest which is an ideal tourist destination. Eshowe Town is also considered as the administrative and service centre of the uMlalazi Municipality.
The coastal town of Mtunzini, is a greenbelt situated on the North Coast of Natal, on the banks of the uMlalazi River and bordering on the uMlalazi Nature Reserve. Mtunzini is mainly a residential town, offering superb homes in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, within comfortable driving distance of the N2 highway and the industrial and commercial growth areas of Richards Bay and Empangeni. Mtunzini has all the basic shopping facilities, doctors and churches. Mtunzini is a quality residential and eco-tourist destination in South Africa.
Mining rights have been granted to an area south of Mtunzini. By far the largest proportions of service backlogs occur in the rural areas and the provision of these services requires a substantial amount of funding. The complicating factor is however the undulating topography that is characteristic of the entire municipal area.
In some instances it therefore becomes difficult and expensive to provide these services. The national route (N2 Motorway) between Durban and Richards Bay is located to the south-east of the municipal area and is aligned parallel to the coastline and to the immediate west of Mtunzini. Arterial roads through the area are in good condition. There are various district roads in the area together with smaller farm or agricultural roads. In practically all instances these roads are in a poor condition and in need of upgrading. The Municipal area is 2 214 km². A and majority can be classified as predominately rural.
THE MUNICIPAL VISION
The Vision is seen as the ultimate destination in terms of the IDP Process, with the Key Performance Areas, Development Strategies and Objectives, and projects being the steps required to reach the vision or destination. The vision is the overall developmental aim for the municipality for up the year 2030, as this is also the vision period with in the KZN PGDS. The long-term vision for the uMlalazi is as follows :
The Municipal Vision
“A model Municipality for community empowerment and provision of services by a transformed institution in an area where everyone lives in harmony by 2035”
The Municipal Mission
The uMlalazi municipality in partnership with its community will strive to:
Create sustainable and better services for all;
Ensure a skilled, motivated and committed workforce;
Create mutual trust and understanding between the municipality and the community through effective communication
Emphasize better usage of resources;
Provide infrastructure and build investor confidence;
Enhance Batho – Pele principles and B2B pillars;
Create a safe environment for all;
Improve the Green Economy of our community by partnering with all stakeholders to create clean & safe place where people live and work;
Ensure effective land use management that take cognizance of sound environmental practices;
Enhance good governance through leadership excellence & community participation;
Facilitate institutional transformation;
Ensure continued sound financial management;
Provide services to the entire community with diligence and empathy;
Apply good and transparent corporate governance to promote community prosperity