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About EThekwini
EThekwini Municipality is the only Metro in the KwaZulu Natal Province with a budget of over 50 Billion to deliver services to change people's lives for the better



The eThekwini Metropolitan area is located on the east coast of South Africa in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and is the third largest metropolitan municipality in the country following Johannesburg and Cape Town. It spans an area of approximately 2 555km2 and shares boundaries with three districts; Ugu to the south, iLembe to the North as well as uMgungundlovu to the west. It is accessible via N2, N3 and King Shaka International Airport.

The metro has 3.9 million people, accounting for 34.7% of the total population of the KZN Province. Between 2008 and 2018, the population grew by 1.45% (which is lower than the national average of 1.57%). The metro has an average household size of 3.3, which is lower than the provincial average of 3.8. Close to 30% of the population is under the age of 15 years and 63% of the population is under the age of 35. Furthermore, 8 802 households are headed by children and young people between the ages of 15 and 19, and 42.14% of households are headed by women.

2.1 million of eThekwini’s residents live below the upper bound poverty line of R 1 227 per person per month, and 17.1% of the population reported having no income in the 2016 Stats SA Community Survey. 16.8% of the population has no education while 5.8% have a higher education qualification

On 12 June 2020, the KZN Province recorded 100 new COVID-19 cases. eThekwini and its neighbouring District of iLembe continue to contribute the highest number of cases provincially. eThekwini has been recognised by the World Bank’s Competitive Cities Programme as one of the best practice cities for its economic response to the global pandemic.

eThekwini is the economic powerhouse of KZN with a provincial GDP contribution of 59.88% or R468 billion. The metro is characterised by a diversified economy, with strengths ranging from manufacturing, logistics, property and finance to tourism, leisure, sports as well as arts and culture.

The metro has identified 22 key catalytic projects with a total investment value of R276 billion that can contribute to the city’s strategic objectives including the Automotive Supply Park, Avoca Nodal Development, Cornubia, Dube Trade Port, Point Waterfront, Inyaninga, Bridge City Development, Rivertown Precinct, Oceans uMhlanga, Ntshongweni Development and Sibaya Coastal Precinct.

Our Vision

By 2030 eThekwini Municipality will enjoy the reputation of being Africa’s most caring and liveable City, where all citizens live in harmony.

Our core values

  • Sustainability
  • Economically successful city
  • Caring city
  • Smart city
  • Poverty reduction and Democratic & Equal city



Administrative Management

City Manager:Mr Musa Mbhele
Chief Financial Officer:Dr Sandile Mnguni
Chief Operations Officer
:Mr George Mohlakoana  (Acting)
Office of Strategic Management
:Mr Bongumusa Zondi (Acting)

Deputy City Manager

:Community and Emergency Services - Dr Musa Gumede

Deputy City Manager

:Governance and International Relations - Mr Sipho Cele

Deputy City Manager

:Human Capital - Ms Kim Makhathini

Deputy City Manager

:Trading Service - Mr Sibusiso Makhanya 

Deputy City Manager

:Human Settlements, Engineering and Transport -Mr Lawrence Pato

Deputy City Manager

:Economic Development and Planning - Mr Lihle Phewa
Chief Audit Executive
:Ms Mapule Hadebe


eThekwini is the only Category A metropolitan municipality found in the KwaZulu–Natal province. It is one of four coastal metropolitan municipalities in South Africa together with Cape Town, Nelson Mandela and Buffalo City.

The area is topographically hilly, with many gorges and ravines, and almost no true coastal plain. It spans an area of approximately 2 559km2 and borders three provincial districts, namely Ugu in the south, iLembe to the North as well as uMgungundlovu to the west. It is accessible via N2, N3 and King Shaka International Airport.

Historical Perspective

eThekwini, formerly Durban has been at the frontline since time immemorial. Its timeline for human habitation dates long before the advent of recorded history. While some of the earliest remnants of humanity are found in the nearby Drakensberg, it is now established that prior to the arrival of the Nguni people and subsequent European colonialists, the area was populated by the original people of Southern Africa - now collectively called the Khoi/San. Then, several thousand years later, on Christmas day in 1497, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama passed the mouth of Durban Bay ad promptly named it Rio de Natal (Christmas River), presuming that several rivers flowed into the bay. Over the subsequent years, Rio de Natal came to be a popular stop-off point for explorers and traders, mainly because the bay offered one of the few protected anchorages on the southern coast of Africa.

In 1823, the first European settlement arrived on the vessel the Salisbury under the command of Lieutenant James King with the aim of trading up and down the South African coast. While inclement weather forced the Salisbury to shelter in the roadstead off Durban, her accompanying ship, the Julia, sailed over the sandbar and surveyed the bay. King immediately recognised the importance of the bay and returned to England to try and garner support for an English settlement. Despite his efforts he was unsuccessful, and so he returned to Port Natal as it had come to be called by the Europeans.

King befriended King Shaka Zulu who granted him land around the bay, and sent him to England with two of his chiefs. But the party got no further than Port Elizabeth and King returned to Port Natal once more, moving to the Bluff across the bay, where he died of dysentery in 1828. As a result of that friendship King Shaka had ceded land to the settlers and the Old Fort (now a museum) was built. At a meeting in 1835, attended by the full complement of settlers at the time - 15 in all - a town was proclaimed, and named in honour of the Governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D’Urban. In the late 1830s and early ’40s the Boers clashed with the British over control of Durban.

In 1844, the British annexed the southern portion of Natal to their already existing Cape Colony. This annexe was significantly boosted in the early 1850s, when several thousand settlers arrived courtesy of an Irishman named Byrne, who had once visited Durban, and who hoped to make money by shipping in settlers to this difficult paradise.

In 1860, finding the Zulus to be uncooperative labourers, the British imported the first of several thousand indentured labourers from British India to take up work in the sugar cane fields. Along with them came “passenger” Indians who were not indentured, and who were free to engage in business.

It took a young immigrant named George Cato to lay out the town properly with three main streets, each 100ft wide – enough to turn a wagon and 16 oxen (the reason why city centre roads in South Africa are so wide). In 1860, a railway linked the harbour with the small town, and within 30 years, it reached all the way to Johannesburg, as the town of Durban began to expand from the swampland to the cooler hills of the Berea.

The discovery of gold was a major boost to the port, and the discovery of coal in Dundee resulted in many ships using the port for bunkering. The progress of the port led finally to the troublesome sandbar at the harbour entrance being removed.

In 1932, a number of satellite suburbs were incorporated into the town and in 1935, Durban was granted city status. In the years after World War II, the history of Durban was defined largely by the implementation of apartheid, and the struggle for equal humanity that ensued. Today, this legacy has resulted in the construction of extensive shack settlements throughout the region.

In 1949 this was the site for the skirmishes and peace making between the Zulus and the Indian community in Durban in 1949. The remains of the late Queen Thomozile kaNdwandwe Zulu (King Goodwill Zwelithini’s mother) are buried at uMkhumbane/Cato Manor site.

In 1994 South Africa had its first democratic election, which changed forever the tone and flavour of Durban. In 1996 Durban was further enlarged to become the Durban Metropolitan Region, or Durban Metro, by including large areas both north, south and west of the city.

Four years later, in 2000, a further expansion resulted in the inclusive Durban Unicity, which was renamed eThekwini derived from the Zulu word iTheku which means a bay or lagoon. eThekwini is known as the home of Africa’s best managed, busiest port and is also a major centre of tourism because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The world class Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) has hosted a historic line up of events including conferences of a global scale.

Spatial Status

According to the 2020/21 Metropolitan SDF, the eThekwini Municipal area has been divided into five functional municipal planning regions (MPRs), namely, the North, Central, South, and Outer West MPRs. The functional boundaries of these regions are defined by the Umgeni River, Umlazi River and the Kloof Ridge and are catchment based.

The Northern MPR represents approximately 26% of the eThekwini area and stretches from the northern banks of the Umgeni River in the South up to and including Tongaat in the North, from the coastline in the east to uMzinyathi, Inanda and border with the iLembe District Municipality in the West and North. This region provides logistical support, has significant residential, commercial and services functions, specialises in coastal tourism and recreation, is a trade and industrial investment centre and has significant agricultural support functions.

The boundaries Central MPR extend from the Umgeni River, in the North, along the coast through to the Umlaas Canal in the South and extend to the escarpment in the west. This region is the urban core of the metro with major economic sectors and hubs such as industrial logistics, warehousing, business, commercial, retail, financial services and tourism. It is the largest employment generator, has significant coastal resources and service nodes and offers a range of lifestyle options.

The Southern MPR extends from the northern boundary consisting of the Umlazi River and the Umlaas Canal to the UFudu Escarpment and the EziMbokodweni River in the north-West to the Western and Southern boundaries of eThekwini. This region has a large residential population, some of the province’s leading economic sectors, existing coastal tourism with potential for expansion and the largest tribal areas within eThekwini.

The Outer West MPR represents 34% of the municipal area with approximately half of this regions comprising of traditional areas. This region is an Environmental Management priority Area, provides opportunity for strategic industrial expansion and hence employment opportunities and has potential for significant tourism prospects.



The population of eThekwini in 2019 was 3 987 648 having grown from 3 468 415 in 2009 with the annual growth rate steadily declining from 1.6% in 2011 to 1.2% in 2019. The annual population growth rate is similar to that of KZN but lower than the national growth of 1.5%.

The greatest population concentrations occur in the central and northern regions of eThekwini and the metro’s population is projected to increase to 4 164 503 by 2024.


According to the 2016 Community Survey there are 1 125 765 households in eThekwini which is 169 052 more households since 2011. 81.5% lived in formal dwellings up from 79,0% in 2011. 13.3% of these households were living in informal dwellings, whilst 4.3% resided in traditional dwellings. The average household size slightly declined from 3.6 to 3.3 between 2011 and 2016, which is equal to the South Africa average of 3.3.

42.1% of households in eThekwini were headed women, which was lower than the KZN average of 47.44% and slightly higher than the national average of 41.32%. 3 001 households were headed by children younger than 18 years.

Employment/ Unemployment

Between 2009 and 2018, the main employment sectors in the metro were community services, finance, trade and manufacturing. In 2018, the main employment sectors that employed the highest were community services (258 287 jobs), wholesale and trade (210 185 jobs), finance (198 754 jobs) and manufacturing (154 598 jobs). The manufacturing sector lost the most amount of jobs due to its 56.6% contraction.

The unemployment rate for eThekwini decreased to 20.9% in Q4 2019 from 21.5% in Q3 2019. The labour force absorption rate showed an increase of 0.2% (from 48.1% to 48.3%) and the participation rate decreased by 0.3% (from 61.3% to 61.0%) over the same period, indicating that there are more people looking for employment and the likelihood of them finding employment has decreased. The services sector accounts for the largest portion of the workforce which includes community services, finance and trade, followed by manufacturing (the tertiary sector). The figure below shows the unemployment trends during 2017 to 2018 for eThekwini relative to the major South African cities.

Almost half of all unemployed people have not finished secondary schooling, while almost 9 out of 10 unemployed people have no tertiary education. With over 17% of the respondent households to the StatsSA Community Survey 2016, reported no income and 35% of the households have no income or an income less than R38 200.

Considering the high levels of unemployment the city would need to investigate options that would support the growth of SMME’s, encourage business development that is labour intensive and effectively support and manage informal trading.

Structure of the Economy

eThekwini had a GDP of R468 billion in 2018 (up from R 233 billion in 2008), contributing 59.88% to the KwaZulu-Natal Province GDP of R 781 billion in 2018. eThekwini contributes 9.59% to the national GDP. It achieved an annual growth rate of 0.94% in 2018. This is the same as the provincial growth rate and is higher than the national rate of 0.79%.

The figure below shows the annual percentage growth for the city, KZN and national. In order to achieve the employment targets as set in the National Development Plan, the city needs to grow at a rate of 4% to 7.5%. At present the city is averaging under 3% over the past few years.

The broad sectoral composition of eThekwini’s GDP in 2018 is depicted in the figure below. Finance and community services are the largest sectors at 21% each, whilst manufacturing (19%), trade (17%) and transport (14%) are the other major sectors.

Primary Sector

The chart below depicts agriculture and mining as less economic contributor across all the metropolitan regions at less 5% both during the 2018. eThekwini has initiated a number of programmes to assist in the alleviation of food insecurity. These include the creation of dedicated structures to drive agriculture, aqua and poultry farming; soya bean project, community support farms; community gardens, mushroom vs. hydroponics project.

In terms of urban and peri-urban agriculture the metro has an Agro ecology Programme in place which complements other municipal policies which focus on poverty and unemployment. There are seven agricultural hubs and sixteen fish ponds in place.

Secondary Sector

The dominant sectors in the metro mirror those of the province, but for tourism, which also constitutes various other sectors especially the retail trade, catering and accommodation sub sector. The top five sectors that is manufacturing, finance, wholesale, transport and government constitute 86% of the economy, with tourism at 8% overlapping almost all these sectors, indicating its potential catalytically role.

A look at the 2016 - 2018 average share of total manufacturing in eThekwini, shows that 80% of all manufacturing in the city occurs in the following 5 sub sectors: fuel, petroleum, chemical and rubber products constitute 28.5%; food, beverages and tobacco products constitute 20.2%; transport equipment constitute 11.7%; metal products, machinery, and household appliances constitute 11%; and wood and wood products constitute 8.8%.

Tertiary Sector

Between 2009 and 2018, the main employment sectors in the metro were community services, finance, trade and manufacturing. In 2018, the main employment sectors that employed the highest were community services (258 287 jobs), wholesale and trade (210 185 jobs), finance (198 754 jobs) and manufacturing (154 598 jobs).

According to FDI Markit, 2019, almost 60% of all negative growth in q1 of 2019 can be attributed to the manufacturing sector. Most sectors reported negative growth with the exception of Community Service and Finance. The two sectors that have shown a positive growth are the community services and finance with the percentage growth rate of 12.3 and 8.8 respectively. Public administration, defence, health and education constitute the community services sector, whilst the finance sector includes finance, real estate, business services and insurance.

Informal Sector

Informal trade is a rapidly growing feature of the South Durban Basin economy. Street traders in priority areas have been provided with trading facilities and more trading facilities will be made available in areas of the SDB set aside for informal trade as part of the ongoing regeneration of the area. The South Durban Basin Area Based Management team, with eThekwini's Business Support Unit (Informal Trade), are regulating, registering, providing shelter, storage and ablution facilities for street traders.


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