Mthonjaneni Local Municipality falls within the northern coastal region of KwaZulu Natal, and is part of the uThungulu District Municipality. It is approximately 170km north of Durban.
The area has a backlog of social services and facilities, particularly in the rural areas. The need for and provision of social services in this area was identified as the community’ s first priority especially; water and sanitation, electricity, housing, roads, schools, and clinics The existing services to these areas were provided by the former Joint Services Board and Regional/District Councils. In terms of the Powers and Functions, the District Council is responsible for most of the bulk services in these areas such as water and sanitation.
The picturesque town of Melmoth was founded in 1888 as a ‘gold-rush’ town on a portion of the farm Golden Reef, when the British government annexed Zululand in 1887 and established several magisterial districts. It was decided to administer that of Mthonjaneni from a town named after the resident commissioner - Sir Melmoth Osborn. The former Melmoth TLC area is the only town that was incorporated by the Mthonjaneni Municipality. In the past the town performed the function of a dormitory town (and still does to some extent) for those who work in the neighbouring town of Ulundi.
Apart from a scenic golf course, the town offers a variety of sporting clubs, namely cricket, rugby, bowls, soccer, squash, tennis, korfbal and a pony club. The spiritual side of the community is well catered for with more than 8 different churches. The area embraces one of the largest conservancies in KwaZulu-Natal, plus a major bird sanctuary of the Zululand Birding Route.
Melmoth is a long established trading and agricultural centre, primarily farming sugar-cane, timber and cattle. The area produces about 300 000 tons of sugar cane and 470 000 tons of timber per year, as well as delicate cut flowers for export.
The municipality incorporates large tracts of commercial farming land with most
communities practicing small-scale farming for domestic purposes. Agriculture employs about 75% of the labour force.
The expansion of the local economy focuses on increasing timber and cane production, expanding the cut flower industry, the production of essential oils and establishment of apiaries.
The tourism sector is well represented with the area drawing a large number of visitors, which has the potential to be developed further. Melmoth is well situated as a base for travellers wanting to visit the many places of interest within an hour’s drive of Melmoth.
- uMgungundlovu: the historic royal homestead of Dingaan.
- eMakhosini: the sacred burial ground of the Zulu kings.
- Cengeni Gate: entrance to the world-renowned Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Reserve where the white rhino was brought back from the verge of extinction.
- Nkandla Forest: where metal workers secretly crafted King Shaka’s dreaded short-shafted stabbing assegais, and home to the endangered rare Karkloof Blue butterfly.
- Zululand Birding Route: in excess of 400 bird species including a number of rare ‘specials’ The Zululand Birding Route is the first of its kind to be established in South Africa. This route is located in Southern Zululand, meanders from the Babanango Highlands through the rolling Hills of Melmoth to the forests of Eshowe, on the edge of the escarpment. The route drops down to the coast at Mtunzini and ends in Richards Bay, a distance of 200 km, which encompasses 10 different habitat species.
- Ongoye Forest: a unique indigenous forest.
- Mtunzini: gem of the Tuzi Gazi coast with its natural tidal lagoon and sun-drenched beaches.
- Ntingwe Tea Plantations.
- Kwanzimela: a popular site for walks and bird watching.
- Matatane Crocodile Ranch: a popular place for hikers and those interested in crocodiles and small animals.
- Simunye Zulu Lodge: an authenitic Zulu Cultural Village showing daily lifestyles. 10 kms east of Melmoth.Tel: (035) 4503111. The Biyela Memorial was put up at the request of the Biyela clan to show their area of origin. It is beyond the Katazo store on the road from Melmoth to Babanango, not far from Dingaan’s spring. Katazo located on the southern road from Mtonjaneni to Babanango.
- Mthonjaneni Site. This hill overlooks the Ulundi plain. Dingaan’s drinking water was brought from it and the Voortrekker laager was situated on it prior to the incident at the Opathe Gorge. The British laagered here during the closing stages of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
Our vision is an economically sound municipality with effective infrastructure and a municipality that empowers people: protects the environment and demonstrates leadership excellence.