By 2017 to be a Globally Competitive Metropolitan City of Choice which Capitalizes on its Strategic Location, Environment, Cultural Heritage and Educational Facilities Creating a Choice Quality of Life for All.
Pietermaritzburg: The City of Choice
Pietermaritzburg situated in the Msunduzi Municipality, is the second largest city within KwaZulu-Natal and the fifth largest city in South Africa. Pietermaritzburg is the capital city of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and the main economic hub within Umgungundlovu District Municipality. Set amidst forested hills and the rolling countryside of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and steeped in history, Pietermaritzburg is a vibrant African city with isiZulu, Afrikaans, English and Indian influences. The city is a cultural treasure-trove brimming with diversity and colour.
Msunduzi’s location has a strong influence on regional channels of investment, movement and the structuring of the provincial spatial framework for growth and development. The city boasts a viable infrastructure necessary for the needs of a diverse range of stakeholders, from government to big business to small enterprises. Comparative advantages for economic development of communities and business include:
- Strategic location on the country’s busiest highway, the N3
- 45 minutes from the Durban Port
- Close proximity to air, rail and road infrastructure
- Five direct flights a day between Johannesburg Inter national Airport and the city’s Oribi Airport
Pietermaritzburg has a diverse economy with a robust manufacturing sector that is excelling in exports to markets as diverse as aluminium products, cut flowers, automotive components and furniture.
The declaration of the city as both the administrative and legislative capital of KwaZulu-Natal has boosted both external and internal investor confidence, resulting in the growth of the city’s economy. Since the declaration, government departments have been moving into the city, which has led to the rejuvenation of the CBD. Major recent developments include the Liberty Midlands Mall, the Golden Horse Casino and Hotel, Motor City- a zone of all the established motor dealerships, the Victoria Country Club Golf Estate, the new Easy Stay Hotel, and the 30 000m2 Unilever distribution facility. There are also plans afoot to improve the airport, hotels and conference facilities to respond to the growing numbers of people travelling to the city to do business.
Tourism has been identified as a crucial means to develop the economies of the township and rural areas. Proposals to capitalize on the area’s rich history are under consideration and form part of the city’s economic development strategic plan.
Logistics and services too are becoming key sectors and there is much room for growth as the knowledge economy takes hold in the city.
In addition to the positive economic environment, the city has the first fully integrated Chamber of Business in the country. The municipality has a multi-disciplinary Investment Facilitation Team, a one-stop shop for investors, and the result is a city well positioned to do business.
Quality of Life
Pietermaritzburg is more than just a favourable investment destination. Considered one of South Africa’s most desirable residential cities, the verdant greenery, leafy suburbs and wealth of colonial architecture make Pietermaritzburg a beautiful place to live in. The well laid out suburbs are exemplified by some of the best schools in the country and the internationally acclaimed University of KwaZulu-Natal. The city boasts a proud sporting legacy and is internationally renowned as the home of the Comrades Marathon, Duzi Canoe Marathon and the Midmar Mile. The city is fast becoming known as Africa’s “Bike City” with the hosting of World Cup and World Championship international events in Mountain Biking and BMX. These events, in conjunction with attractions such as the Royal Agricultural Show, Art in the Park and Cars in the Park, make Pietermaritzburg a burgeoning events city.
Historical & Other Places of Interest include the:
- City Hall, one of the largest all-brick buildings in the southern hemisphere, declared a national monument in 1996.
- Church of the Vow, now part of a Voortrekker Museum, built by the Voortrekkers in 1840 to commemorate their victory at Blood River in 1838.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s striking statue in the Church Street Mall depicts him forever striding forward in commemoration of the incident in 1893 when he was evicted from a first class railway carriage at Pietermaritzburg railway station.
- “Mandela Memorial” outside the Manaye Hall in FJ Sithole Road, Imbali commemorates the speech made by Nelson Mandela at the All In Africa Conference in March 1961, when the call for “one man one vote” was made for the first time.
- Tatham Art Gallery situated in the handsome Old Supreme Court building displays beautiful beadwork and intricate basketry, wood and bronze sculptures as well as powerful lino-cuts and oil paintings.
- . There is also an impressive collection of British and French 19th and early 20th century English and French paintings, as well as a Henry Moore maquette and china and glassware.
- Natal Museum, located at 237 Jabu Ndlovu (formerly Loop) Street.
- . KwaZulu-Natal Railway Museum and the Pietermaritzburg station, which is a national monument.
- National Botanical Gardens.