Abaqulusi Local Municipality

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Local municipality
Official seal of Abaqulusi
Location of Abaqulusi Local Municipality within KwaZulu-Natal
Location of Abaqulusi Local Municipality within KwaZulu-Natal
Coordinates: 27°46′S 30°48′E / 27.767°S 30.800°E / -27.767; 30.800Coordinates: 27°46′S 30°48′E / 27.767°S 30.800°E / -27.767; 30.800
Country South Africa
Province KwaZulu-Natal
District Zululand
Seat Vryheid
Wards 22
 • Type Municipal council
 • Mayor G.M. Dlamini (IFP)
 • Total 4,185 km2 (1,616 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 211,060
 • Density 50/km2 (130/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 95.4%
 • Coloured 0.5%
 • Indian/Asian 0.4%
 • White 3.5%
First languages (2011)[3]
 • Zulu 91.2%
 • Afrikaans 3.0%
 • English 2.5%
 • Southern Ndebele 1.0%
 • Other 2.3%
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
Municipal code KZN263

AbaQulusi Local Municipality is a local municipality in Zululand in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. It is named after the AbaQulusi, a Zulu clan whose descendants live in the vicinities of Vryheid, Utrecht, eDumbe and eNgoje. They hailed from different origins but were unified by their allegiance to local Zulu royal homesteads. Historically they were not drafted into ordinary "amabutho" regiments but rather into a royal section, and no "umnumzane" chief presented them in the Zulu king's council.[4]

Towns and settlements[edit]

63% of the population of the AbaQulusi municipal area live in rural areas, most of which live in scattered homesteads known as imizi in tribal areas. Homesteads are of a mixed nature, including both modern dwellings and traditional thatched huts. The remainder of the population lives as tenants on farm or in towns, dormitory townships and shacks in the settlements around towns.

Vryheid is Zululand's main commercial, industrial and business centre, with a reasonably well-developed physical, social and institutional infrastructure. It is located at the intersection of the major transport routes (R34 and R69) that traverse the region.

Other towns and settlements within the municipal boundaries include: Alpha, Calvert, Emondlo, Esigodini, Gluckstadt, Hlobane, Kandaspunt, Lenjanedrif, Louwsburg, Ngobeni, Ngome, Scheepersnek, Steilrand, Stilwater, Swart Umfolozi, Thakazele, and Zungwini.[5]

The main nodal points of the AbaQulusi Municipal area are:[6]

  • Vryheid with its central business district and surrounding residential area, together with its former black township Bhekuzulu;
  • Louwsburg, an independent settlement area some 67 km northeast of Vryheid and at the entrance to the Ithala Game Reserve;
  • Hlobane and Coronation, which have become ghost towns due to decline of the coal mining, and other similar settlements 25 km to the east of Vryheid;
  • eMondlo and the surrounding Tribal Area of Hlahlindlela southwest of Vryheid;
  • Khambi Tribal Area and surrounding settlements in the southeastern part of the Municipal area;
  • Glückstadt and surrounding settlements in the southern part of the Municipal area;
  • Boschhoek and surrounding settlements in the central part of the Municipal area;
  • and a number of rural settlement areas around Brakfontein between eMondlo and Vryheid in the western part of the Municipal area.


Currently the agricultural sector provides the highest proportion of the Gross Geographic Product (GGP) of the AbaQulusi area, even though the area is classified as having low agricultural potential. According to a land potential analysis of the area, only 15% of agricultural land can be described as having high agricultural potential. There is extensive, but not intensive agriculture. Very few farms are irrigated.[6]

Products produced are timber, field crops and livestock. Current products farmed include maize, groundnuts, soya beans, sunflowers, fruits and sorghum.

Coal mining historically provided a major force in the local economy of Northern KwaZulu Natal. However, over the past 15 years a number of mines in the area ceased operation, negatively impacting the regional economy. The AbaQulusi Municipality was particularly affected by the closure of the Coronation, Mnyathi, and Hlobane mines in 1997 and 1998. Recently, the coal mining sector seems to have regained some momentum and it is coming back to dominate the economic sector.[6]

Manufacturing in the municipal area includes food and beverages, clothing and textiles, leather products, paper and paper products, printing and publishing, metal products, machinery and equipment.

Wetlands of national importance abound in the district, with Blood River Vlei being the most important. Over 370 species of birds and many animals, reptiles, insects, amphibians and plants can be seen here, creating a significant potential for ecotourism in the area.


The municipal council consists of forty-four members elected by mixed-member proportional representation. Twenty-two councillors are elected by first-past-the-post voting in twenty-two wards, while the remaining twenty-two are chosen from party lists so that the total number of party representatives is proportional to the number of votes received. In the election of 3 August 2016 no party obtained a majority. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) formed a government with the support of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The following table shows the results of the election.[7][8]

Party Votes Seats
Ward List Total  % Ward List Total
African National Congress 24,663 25,517 50,180 46.2 11 10 21
Inkatha Freedom Party 22,546 23,202 45,748 42.1 9 10 19
Democratic Alliance 3,990 4,183 8,173 7.5 2 1 3
Economic Freedom Fighters 851 920 1,771 1.6 0 1 1
Independent 1,657 1,657 1.5 0 0
Freedom Front Plus 500 545 1,045 1.0 0 0 0
Total 54,207 55,367 108,574 100.0 22 22 44
Spoilt votes 739 665 1,404


The number of individuals infected with HIV/AIDS continues to be a major challenge. HIV/AIDS infections in Abaqulusi grew from 3.97% in 1995 to 19% in 2007. There was a substantial increase (49.89%) in deaths that were due to HIV/AIDS between 1995 and 2007. In 1995, 160 deaths were due to HIV/AIDS and in 2007 there were 2383 HIV/AIDS deaths. Thus in 2007, 41.13% of all reported deaths were due to HIV/AIDS (Abaqulusi Municipality LED Sector Plan, 2009). The HIV and AIDS prevalence rate for the KwaZulu-Natal province as a whole is estimated at 39%.[9] As a result, without proper nutrition, health care and medicine that is available in developed countries, large numbers of people suffer and die from AIDS-related complications. In some areas, the epidemic has left behind many orphans cared for by elderly grandparents. HIV/AIDS also severely retards economic growth by destroying human capital.[10]

Education levels in the area are very low, with 22% of the population having no formal education. 60.15% of the population has some form of primary or secondary education, but only 2.54% have had any further education. Consequently, one of the key challenges facing AbaQulusi Municipality is a relatively high rate of functional illiteracy. This has a significant impact on employability, the type of job opportunities that can be sought and the vocational distribution of the economically active population. The urban centres within AbaQulusi present a slightly better picture with regard to education levels, but generally the skills base remains low.[6]

Main places[edit]

The 2001 census divided the municipality into the following main places:[11]

Place Code Area (km2) Population
Bhekuzulu 52902 3.67 20,336
Coronation 52903 3.02 2,430
eMondlo 52904 5.78 22,085
Enyati Anthracide Mine 52905 2.60 879
Hlahlindlela 52906 265.13 59,601
Hlobane 52907 24.17 6,042
Kandas Prison 52908 1.08 1,860
Khambi 52909 194.23 1,693
Louwsburg 52910 12.70 3,117
Ndebele 52911 4.49 516
Ngotshe 52912 183.77 1,433
Vryheid 52913 16.74 15,021
Vulindlela 52914 16.12 2,366
Zulu/Khambi 52915 60.70 6,261
Remainder of the municipality 52901 3,389.45 47,386


  1. ^ "Contact list: Executive Mayors". Government Communication & Information System. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Statistics by place". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Statistics by place". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Khumalo, Dr. Ben F. "abaQulusi of ebaQulusini" (PDF). Rulpsa. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.kzntopbusiness.co.za/site/abaqulusi
  6. ^ a b c d Integrated Development Plan Review 2009/2010 — May 2009. Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Abaqulusi Municipality. Retrieved on 10 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Results Summary – All Ballots: Abaqulusi" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "Seat Calculation Detail: Abaqulusi" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Dugger, Celia W. (19 July 2009). "South Africa Is Seen to Lag in H.I.V. Fight". New York Times. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  10. ^ Bell C, Devarajan S, Gersbach H (2003). "The long-run economic costs of AIDS: theory and an application to South Africa" (PDF). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3152. Retrieved 28 April 2008. 
  11. ^ Lookup Tables – Statistics South Africa

External links[edit]