Written by Administrator Tuesday, 07 June 2011 11:58The Amathole District Municipality, on the eastern seaboard of South Africa, was established after the first transformed local government elections in December 2000. The district stretches from the Indian Ocean coastline in the south to the Amathole Mountains in the north, and from Mbolompo Point (just south of the Hole-in-the-Wall along the Transkei Wild Coast) in the east to the Great Fish River in the west.It is a land of rivers and fertile floodplains, undulating grasslands, valley bush, pristine estuaries, beaches, forests and waterfalls. The bio-diversity of the district is often remarked upon, together with possible implications for future socio-economic developments and competitive advantages.The district lies at the heart of the Eastern Cape Province and is presently home to about 1.7 million people. The economy of the district is dominated by Buffalo City, which comprises the coastal city of East London, King William's Town, Mdantsane and the provincial administrative capital of Bhisho.The district has eight local municipalities, each containing at least one urban service centre.
Amahlathi Municipality (Cathcart, Stutterheim and Kei Road)
Great Kei (Komga, Kei Mouth, Hagga-Hagga, Morgan's Bay and Chintsa)
Mbhashe (Dutywa, Willowvale, Elliotdale)
Mnquma (Butterworth, Nqamakwe, Centane)
Ngqushwa (Peddie, Hamburg)
Nkonkobe (Seymour, Fort Beaufort, Alice, Middledrift)
Nxuba (Bedford, Adelaide)
Sectors that provide formal employment in the district are public services (75,000 jobs) manufacturing (27,000 jobs); trade (25,000 jobs); and agriculture (17,000 jobs).
The Amathole District's existing manufacturing sector includes the automotive, textile, pharmaceutical, electronics and food-processing industries. The automotive industry has strong linkages into activities such as component parts, industrial textiles and leather tanning. Renowned companies operating in the district include DaimlerChrysler SA, Johnson & Johnson, Da Gama Textiles, China Garments, Nestlé, First National Battery, Summerpride Foods, Castellano-Beltrame, Defy Refrigeration, Dimbaza Foundries, Kromberg & Schubert, Aspen Pharmacare, Yarntex and Coca-Cola Bottling to name a few.
Two of the Eastern Cape's Spatial Development Initiatives (SDIs) for concentrated economic development, the Fish River and Wild Coast SDIs, fall partly within the Amathole region. The East London Industrial Development Zone, endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry, is aimed at export-oriented manufacturing and processing and is ideally located close to the airport and harbour, the only river port in South Africa.The district has a good road infrastructure and has excellent airport facilities at both East London and Bulembu Airport near Bhisho.Three tourist routes overlap the Amathole District, including the Sunshine Coast (Port Elizabeth to East London), the Wild Coast (East London to Port Edward), the Friendly N6 (East London to Bloemfontein) and a fourth route, the Amathole Mountain Escape, falls wholly within the district in the northern reaches.
The district is renowned for its historical heritage as this was the area where nine colonial/frontier wars took place over a century between 1779 and 1878. The area is also renowned for its struggle heroes during the repressive Apartheid regime. It is a land that has forged many leaders in politics (such as Former President Nelson Mandela and former Thabo Mbeki and Black Consciousness Leader Steve Biko), academia, sport, and captains of industry. It is a place that has inspired poets, artists, sculptors, songwriters, photographers, authors and healers. It is a place where African democracy took flame, sparking a nation and a continent to fight for justice, freedom, and equality.Four new heritage routes have been established, named after Xhosa kings and heroes. These are Makana, Sandile, Maqoma and Phalo Routes.
Over 350 heritage sites have been identified within the district which is dotted with remnants of forts, mission stations, places of historical significance and burial sites of Xhosa kings and struggle heroes.Steeped in history, the area will enthrall visitors with its legends of Xhosa kings and stories of early settlers. Explore the San paintings in the Cathcart region and see the world famous African art collection at Fort Hare University. Experience African traditions at the Village of Mgwali and the artistic community of Hogsback.A haven for the adventurous, Amathole offers rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, hunting, bird watching, canoeing, 4x4 trails, malaria-free game/nature reserves, watersports, including some of the best surfing spots in the world. The weather is temperate and mild, and the countryside usually basks in balmy sunshine during winter days, making this area ideal for various sporting codes.