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uPhongolo Local Municipality, is a local municipality in the northern area of Zululand, in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Official seal of uPhongolo
Location of UPhongolo Local Municipality within KwaZulu-Natal
Location of UPhongolo Local Municipality within KwaZulu-Natal
Coordinates: 27°23′S 31°37′E / 27.383°S 31.617°E / -27.383; 31.617Coordinates: 27°23′S 31°37′E / 27.383°S 31.617°E / -27.383; 31.617
CountrySouth Africa
 • TypeMunicipal council
 • MayorMs. BC Nhlabathi (2016)
 • Total3,239 km2 (1,251 sq mi)
 • Total127,238
 • Density39/km2 (100/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African98.1%
 • Coloured0.1%
 • Indian/Asian0.1%
 • White1.5%
First languages (2011)
 • Zulu94.0%
 • Afrikaans1.5%
 • Southern Ndebele1.2%
 • English1.1%
 • Other2.2%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Municipal codeKZN262

In 2007, the uPhongolo Municipality contained 154 rural shops, 124 schools, 27 hotels, resorts or conference facilities, 15 clinics, 12 recreational facilities, 6 community halls, 4 post offices, 2 police stations, and 2 law courts. The municipality is largely composed of traditional areas, with tribal land patterns and high density rural settlements. 82% of the population lives in rural areas.[4]



The N2 national road corridor passes through the uPhongolo area as a national link between Gauteng and the Richards Bay complex, and on to Durban in the south. It also connects with Swaziland just to the north of the uPhongolo Municipal area. This is the primary development corridor in uPhongolo.

The two main rivers in the municipality are the Mkuze River in the south and the Phongolo River in the north, the latter feeding the Pongolapoort Dam, located on the eastern boundary of the municipality.

The Phongolo River rises just east of Wakkerstroom and drains an area of nearly 8,000 km² where the rainfall often exceeds 1,000 mm a year. Because the irrigation weir at Pongola could not fully regulate the river's erratic water flow, the 89-meter-high Pongolapoort Dam wall was built in 1972 in a narrow gorge in the Lebombo Mountains. Phongolo is the Zulu word for "trough," referring to the many deep pools with steep sides along the river's course.[5]


Agriculture and tourism form the basis for the municipality’s economy. Major development components consist of game and nature reserves, agricultural activities, traditional settlement areas and some urban nodes.

The public sector is the dominant provider of employment opportunities. However, the informal sector is expanding, primarily based on the taxi industry, informal financial services and taverns.[4]

Large areas of sugarcane and citrus are cultivated in the region.

The uPhongolo Municipality provides regional access to a wide range of tourist activities outside its own boundaries. It has within its area of jurisdiction two key tourist attractions: the Ithala Game Reserve and the Pongolapoort Dam. These attractions are complemented by a large number of private game farms and game reserves, on which a number of lodges and other tourist facilities are located.[6]

Average income levels are low, with 66% of households receiving no income or less than R2400 per month. The traditional and rural areas are the most poverty stricken. Unemployment levels are relatively high; only 13.43% of the population are formally employed. Close to half of the population are children, placing pressure on the need for educational and social facilities. Many of these children are orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS.[4]


The municipal council consists of twenty-nine members elected by mixed-member proportional representation. Fifteen councillors are elected by first-past-the-post voting in fifteen wards, while the remaining fourteen 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 the African National Congress (ANC) won a majority of fifteen seats on the council. The following table shows the results of the election.[7][8]

Party Votes Seats
Ward List Total % Ward List Total
African National Congress 18,608 19,035 37,643 54.4 12 3 15
Inkatha Freedom Party 12,123 12,429 24,552 35.5 2 8 10
Democratic Alliance 2,070 2,140 4,210 6.1 0 2 2
Economic Freedom Fighters 665 796 1,461 2.1 0 1 1
Independent 977 977 1.4 1 1
African Christian Democratic Party 183 175 358 0.5 0 0 0
Total 34,626 34,575 69,201 100.0 15 14 29
Spoilt votes 668 665 1,333

Main placesEdit

The 2001 census divided the municipality into the following main places:[9]

Place Code Area (km2) Population
Dlamini 52801 59.89 2,073
Itala Nature Reserve 52802 251.71 149
Msibi 52803 140.19 6,728
Ntshangase 52804 258.14 49,672
Pongola 52805 4.66 2,562
Sibiya/Masidla 52806 258.68 24,908
Simelane 52807 67.64 10,813
Remainder of the municipality 52808 2,190.35 22,865


  1. ^ "Contact list: Executive Mayors". Government Communication & Information System. Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. 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. ^ a b c Integrated Development Plan 2009/2010. uPhongolo Municipality. Retrieved on Oct 10, 2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Results Summary – All Ballots: Uphongolo" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Seat Calculation Detail: Uphongolo" (PDF). Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  9. ^ Lookup Tables - Statistics South Africa

External linksEdit