Amajuba District Municipality, particularly Newcastle, has been traditionally strong industrially. However, due to changes in the macro-economic environment, there has been stagnation of growth and even decline in some sectors. There are problems such as lack of investment, high levels of unemployment, absence of integrated, focused and pro-active manufacturing strategy, which are all pointers of the fact that the district's comparative advantages with respect to manufacturing development are not optimally utilized, unlocked and capitalized on.
Amajuba is poised for accelerated economic development and offers inward investors a focused, structured and rewarding opportunity in South Africa.
The town of Newcastle serves as the regional centre for most of the economic development taking place within the district and hosts a variety of well developed economic sectors.
The town has become the national textile capital, with some 65% of all South Africaâ€™s textile manufacturing headquartered in the surrounding industrial areas, including the countryâ€™s largest producer of school wear.
Although the Iscor steelworks and the 500 00 m2 Karbochem synthetic rubber plant dominate Newcastleâ€™s industrial portfolio, a diversity of manufacturing and commercial undertakings share in the regionâ€™s success.
Its industrial future is indicated by the new chrome chemical plant. This R700 million joint venture project between Karbochem and the German manufacturing giant, Bayer, makes Newcastle the largest producer of chrome chemicals in Africa.
Other large operations include a diamond-cutting works, heavy engineering concerns, a granite tile factory, steel reinforcement, and a slagment cement factory.
Since January 1988, R439 million has been invested in medium- sized factories employing 9 000 workers. In 2002, Newcastle attracated six new manufacturers from the Far East with a total capital investment of R19 million, creating 523 new jobs.
Newcastle has a fully-serviced modern business industrial estate and sufficient land to accommodate any needs.
A significant factor in an investorâ€™s industrial location assessment is the overall operating cost. In Newcastle all services are available at the most competitive, market-related prices.
Depending on needs, the council will enter into special agreements with industrialists for the bulk supply of services.
Research has shown that Newcastle has a competitive edge for the manufacture of:
- aluminum-based products
- high quality leather goods
- textiles and textile products
- automotive components
- metal products and machinery
Local Economic Development (LED) and job creation has been identified as a priority in the Amajuba Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
The coordination of LED within the District is facilitiate by the Amajuba Forum for Local Economic Development (AFLED) which consists of all LED stakeholders involved within Amajuba District. AFLED has created partnerships between the Public and Private sectors and has committees that focus specifically on Tourism, Agriculture and Industry and Commerce sector of the local economy.
It is the intention of Amajuba to develop and implement the Amajuba LED Agency (ALEDA) as an implementing agent for LED in the District.
Commerce: The central business district of Newcastle, with a variety of shops, restaurants, a cinema complex, retail plaza and convenient and ample parking, makes it a centre of attraction for retail, not only within the Amajuba district, but also for surrounding towns, districts and provinces.
All the countyâ€™s major chain stores, banks and financial institutions are represented and modern conference facilities are offered to the business community.
Amajuba offers significant investment opportunities for tourism development, including several joint venture projects with surrounding districts. The region is close to the majestic Drakensberg mountains and is an integral part of the internationally renowned Battlefields Route, which focuses on the Boer, British and Zulu battles which took place in the area and sculptured the history of South Africa.
Although Amajuba is marketed as the Battlefields destination (Legends of the Zulu Kingdom), other tourism attractions are offered. Adventure tourism includes birding, hunting and annual events, while upmarket conferencing facilities motivate corporate and business tourism.
The Amajuba Birding Meander offers a wide range of activities for the birding enthusiast, with a whole range of species, normally associated with grassveld, bushveld and mountain habitats, found in the district. Other activities include hiking, horse riding, trout fishing, and off-road vehicle trails.
The moderate climate benefits agriculture. Water is readily available and energy costs are low, with high to moderate potential soils found throughout the district. The agriculture related business sector is well developed in the Utrecht and Dannhauser areas.
Source: Amajuba website