Municipal Overview

The Nkandla Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the King Cetshwayo District in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is one of the five municipalities that make up the district. Nkandla has a claim to be the ‘cradle' of Zulu history. From Malandela to Shaka, to Dingane and Cetshwayo, Nkandla has been at the centre stage of the Zulu nation's history. The graves of King Malandela and Cetshwayo and IInkosi Sgananda are at Nkandla. Nkandla Municipality is one of the municipalities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal that prides itself on with rich and opulent history.

The richness of its history starts from its name “Nkandla” which has got its origin in the Zulu word (khandla) meaning ‘extreme exhaustion’. The man behind the popular name ‘Nkandla’ is none other than the founder himself of the Zulu Nation, King Shaka. Thus, telling any success stories of the Zulu Nation without mentioning the name Nkandla is entirely incomplete. It is worth mentioning that, the area was named by King Shaka himself after having gone through the hills, valleys and mountains with his warriors and getting tired. It consists mainly of tribal lands and state-owned land. The area has a wealth of undisturbed forests that boast mostly indigenous species. Nkandla Town offers the full array of urban development, albeit at a smaller scale compared to the majority of towns in KwaZulu-Natal.

Area: 1 828km²
Cities/Towns: Nkandla
Nearby Cities: Melmoth, Eshowe, Nquthu, Kranskop and Msinga
Main Economic Sectors: Retail, agriculture

Nkandla Municipality is surrounded by the following local municipalities: Ulundi to the north, Nquthu in the north-west, Msinga in the west, uMvoti in the south-west, Maphumulo in the south, UMlalazi in the south-east and UMthonjaneni in the east.
The Nkandla municipality is situated on the western side of King Cetshwayo District (DC28). It is positioned close to the country’s two largest ports, lying about 130 kilometres inland from Richards Bay and 250 km north of Durban. Nkandla Town is classified as a Rural Service Centre (RSC) and a Provincial Rural Administrative Centre (PRAC), is the only formalized urban area located within Nkandla situated approximately 50 kilometres south-west of Melmoth and 65 kilometres from Eshowe. 
It is isolated from the major economic development corridors: access is via a main tar road from Melmoth, and a tar road from Eshowe, Kranskop and Nquthu.

The area is located approximately 50 km southwest of UMthonjaneni Local Municipality, 70 km from UMlalazi Local Municipality, and approximately 50 km away from Isandlwana battlefields. Situated 140 km from UMhlathuze Local Municipality and 250 km from EThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. Nkandla Local Municipality is home to the famous high-quality Ntingwe Tea which is traded all over the world. The tea is affectionately called Zulu tea abroad.

The total population currently in the Nkandla Municipality is 94 476 as indicated by Statistics South Africa, 2021. The Dependency Ratio is 95%. 
Nkandla Local Municipality indicates a population decline and this can be attributed to the lack of Job Opportunities, attrition due to various reasons, migration of people to other parts of the country to look for employment opportunities, the inability of the municipality to provide a range of elite services and amenities to the affording communities.