Municipality: eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality


eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality is located on the east coast of South Africa in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). eThekwini is the Zulu name for Durban. 

The Municipality spans an area of approximately 2297km2 and is home to some 3.5 million people. It consists of a diverse society which faces various social, economic, environmental and governance challenges. As a result it strives to address these challenges which mean meeting the needs of an ever increasing population.

The City is governed by a 205-member city council, which elects the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Speaker. The City administration is led by the City Manager, supported by an Executive Management Team.

The City spends billions of rands yearly in providing services for its residents, and investing in its Municipal Infrastructure Investment Framework (MIIF). Its functions, service delivery and growth are not possible without effective revenue collection and expenditure, excellent financial management and reporting, and viable and sustainable budgeting.

eThekwini Municipality is funded by public money, and is therefore expected to exercise the highest levels of corporate governance.

The City’s service delivery sectors are divided into 7 Clusters, each with focused and clear roles and responsibilities. They provide organisational support, services and infrastructure to residents across eThekwini. Each is responsible for its own planning and budget in accordance with the City’s overall plan.


“By 2020, eThekwini Municipality will enjoy the reputation of being Africa‟s most caring and liveable City, where all citizens live in harmony.”

To realise this vision, we believe there are basic elements that all citizens, the business community and visitors must enjoy:

  • Ease of movement in the Municipality;
  • A safe environment in all parts of the municipal area;
  • Access to economic opportunities;
  • Resources to afford what the Municipality offers;
  • A clean and green Municipality, capable of delivering a range of ecosystem goods and services;
  • Homely neighbourhoods;
  • Access to services, in particular municipal, health and education services.

With the delivery of these, the people of eThekwini should be able to:

  • Live in harmony;
  • Be proud of their Municipality;
  • Feel protected;
  • Feel their basic needs are being met.

Economic Development Unit

The Economic Development Unit (EDU) is mandated to promote economic development; job creation, economic transformation and economic intelligence within the municipal region.

It is guided by policies established by National and Provincial Government and articulates the approach to economic development through the Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and an Economic Development Strategy (EDS) from which all activities are guided by, but not restricted to, as the Unit also responds to the broader challenges facing the greater region by endorsing other initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals.

Durban is South Africa's major port city with a diverse and vibrant local economy. It is South Africa's second largest industrial hub (after Gauteng) and has a large concentration of manufacturing activity directly and indirectly linked to it's status as a port city. Durban is also the countries key trading gateway with access to important trading routes to the east, and its proximity to the Gauteng mineral-industrial complex.

With the four major sectors of the economy being manufacturing, tourism, finance and transport, we have a strong presence in advanced sectors of the economy. Manufacturing, which contributes about 30% of the local economy, has historically been located to the south of the CBD in the South Industrial Basin. More recently, this has been spreading to the west and to a lesser extent, to the north.

Tourism, another important sector adds 24% to the local economy and is concentrated along the coast.

Commercial services such as banking, insurance and other financial activities are well developed. Transport and communication is the fourth biggest sector contributing about 14% to the economy of the EMA. We have a substantial and fast growing less formal economy although much of it¹s current growth is focussed in lower income jobs.

Business Profile

Durban’s Super 7 are the seven key reasons Durban is attractive to Business  and Leisure visitors. The acronym, ‘ALL HITS’ has been coined for easy recall. 

1.  Award winning Municipality.  We have the best run and financially strongest local government on the continent. Awards are bestowed through the likes of the Vuna awards – recognising Durban as being the best-run city in South Africa, with 18 500 employees. International credit rating agencies have given us investment grade credit ratings of AA+ off a budget of over R17Bn ($2,5Bn) p.a..  We have a huge, expanding fibre optic system to really make Durban THE Smart City, etc. We also have the lowest cost basket of rates and services levies across any of the major centres in South Africa.

2.  Lifestyle of business and pleasure together. This is a place to live, work and play. You might have other centres that are dominated by the business side, but perhaps not as blessed as we are with the sustainable lifestyle and sense of pleasure. You might have other places that dominate on lifestyle and pleasure, but don’t have a huge business side to them, in terms of manufacturing or infrastructure profile. The emphasis for us is on the word ‘together’, it’s the two complementary halves, the business or career half and the social and lifestyle-family side.

3.  Large Human Resources base.  At the heart of the most populace Province of Kwa Zulu-Natal, we have large pools of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour, plus some of the best and fastest Skills Development taking place amongst our 3,2M cosmopolitan population.  E.G., we have Africa’s largest direct contact University based in Durban, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with over 45,000 direct contact tertiary students of Black African, Asian and European decent.

4.  Highest growth rates.  Our economic growth rates are higher than the country’s average, and that of the other major centres, in the region of 6%-6.5 %. We’re targeting in the range of 7.5%-9%. This impacts positively on Business Confidence Levels, fixed capital formation, etc. “The trend is our friend”

5.  Infrastructure Leader.  We have the continent’s leading infrastructure base.  This includes virtual infrastructure like globalised financial services, plus the physical infrastructure base.  We have the best electricity distribution on the continent, a vast roads network, best & biggest water treatment & supply base, telecommunications via expanding fibre optics, and land. We have reasonable amounts of available vacant land at realistic prices across our 2 300 km2 City. At our heart specifically, Durban leads the continent in terms of port infrastructure, with Africa’s busiest harbour.

6.  Tourism Crown.  We are the largest domestic tourism destination in South Africa by a healthy margin, plus concrete projects in place to become one of the largest international tourism destinations.  This is done through an ‘event-led’ tourism drive across both business and pleasure tourism.  Our International Convention Centre is rated by the global trade as Africa’s best convention centre for the last 6 years running.  We have just spent nearly half a Billion Rand in terms of further expanding it’s footprint.  On the leisure front, we have recently hosted high profile events such as the A1 Grand Prix where the global organisers & competitors rated Durban as the best host City.  This event-led tourism build up is clearly focusing on our 2010 Soccer World Cup event, with the associated infrastructure upgrades (R6Bn+.), the build-up events such as FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, and the life after 2010 with our eyes on the Commonwealth Games and also the Olympics.

7. Substantial, successful, growing business base already in place across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. It’s a case of functional magnetism – companies like to be located synergistically, with over 60% of the Provinces GGP produced in Durban.  Business is clustered around the manufacturing, tourism, services, maritime and logistics industries. Having the second largest business & industrial base in SA provides many options for suppliers, support services, customers, and employees which are all important elements of production.

These are the ALL HITS Super 7 that make Durban attractive to business & leisure residents and visitors.

The Future

By 2020, the eThekwini   Municipality plans to make Durban Africa’s most caring and livable city, where all citizens live in harmony. This vision will be achieved by growing the economy, and meeting people’s needs, so that all citizens can enjoy a high quality of life with equal opportunities, in a city of which they are truly proud

Source: eThekwini Metro Website


With 90 kilometres of coastline and 320 days of sunshine a year, it is South Africa’s favourite holiday destination. It also contains Durban harbour, Africa’s premier port, and a vital cog in the South African economic engine. It is the economic centre of KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa’s second most populous province, and sits on the south eastern coast of Southern Africa where it meets the Indian Ocean. 

A young democracy

Durban has a progressive Municipality which celebrates diversity. This diversity is at the heart of Durban’s cultural and economic life and gradually, as the legacy of the past begins to fade, the various racial groupings separated under apartheid are coming together in a new and exciting collective culture.

Dominating economic sectors

Include tourism, food and beverages, automobile and automobile components, non- ferrous metal, and pulp and paper. Major trading partners include Asia, North America and Europe.

Creative Durban

Durban is home to some world-famous artists, writers and performers. It is a city famed for its creativity where collaborations, both local and international, are the order of day, and some see Durban as the future culture centre of the South.