Municipality: Mbombela Local Municipality

Description

Mbombela Local Municipality (MLM) has a well-established economy consistently achieving growth rates higher than the South African and Mpumalanga economies in most sectors. It is well positioned to take advantage of strong international, national and regional linkages and become an active role-player in the southern African economy. Nelspruit is the seat of the Mpumalanga provincial government and the foremost industrial, commercial, retail and services centre for the region, including Mozambique and Swaziland and is poised to enjoy the economic benefits of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Critical infrastructure

MLM is endowed with areas like Nelspruit which is the capital of the Mpumalanga province. Hazyview is an important banana producing and eco and adventure tourism area, White River, which is an important tourist and farming area. MLM is currently involved in the following big projects: the development of the Maputo Development Corridor project, the Mpumalanga Investment initiative, the Transfrontier Park, the Mpumalanga International Airport and hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Development in Mbombela is concentrated along three corridors. The western development axis, along the R40 road includes Nelspruit, Rocky's Drift, White River and Hazyview. It has a well-developed municipal infrastructure, and provision of services is of high standard. The are has shown steady growth of commercial and industrial activity, as well as in the provision of services to the high income residential areas.

In the south the second axis, along the N4, runs east/west through the area. It gives access to Nelspruit and Ngodwana Sappi, one of the largest pulp and paper manufacturing centres in the southern hemisphere, and in the east reaches the Mozambique border and provides access to Maputo. Together these axes account for more than 85% of all industrial, commercial and retail development, and there is good potential for further growth.

To the east, a secondary development axis extends along the D363, D1411 and other roads. The area is characterised by mainly low income urban development and rural villages which are supported by subsistence crop production and livestock farming on communal land. These services infrastructure is poorly developed; accessibility is limited due to the poor condition of the roads; and there is little retail or industrial development.  

Strengths

MLM‘s key strategic objectives are to provide water and sanitation and other basic services to its communities. The municipality’s competitive advantage is its location which enables it to take advantage of the strong international, regional and national linkages to become an active regional economic player.

Between the eastern and western axes is an area of rich agricultural land along Crocodile and White Rivers. Fertile soils and the subtropical climate provide perfect conditions for the production of citrus and tropical fruits, such as mango, banana, avocado, macademia and pecan nuts.

Hazyview is an important banana-producing area. It is also the centre of the major agricultural area producing coffee, nuts, spices, and vegetables. It is the gateway to private reserves that form the western conservation extension to the Kruger National Park.

White River is an important farming and tourism centre. The chief agricultural products are tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers and timber. With three irrigations dams and a number of nearby forests, it is a popular holiday destination.

Weaknesses

The primary and secondary sector contribution to the GDP of Mbombela is dependent on investment in value adding processing of the raw agricultural and forestry products. There is therefore need to invest in research and development to diversify the economy. This will entail expansion in the food and beverage, wood and wood products, paper and paper products.