The iLembe District Municipality is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. KwaZulu-Natal is one of the largest and most populated provinces of South Africa with a population of approximately 9 million and a geographic area of almost 91 500 square meters. While iLembe covers 3 260 square km of the entire area of KwaZulu-Natal, it also consists of a population size of 560 000 (Portfolio, 2006). There are 54 wards, which makes it one of the smallest districts.
There are four Local Municipalities in the District. These are Mandeni, KwaDukuza, Ndwedwe, and Maphumulo. The population size of these municipalities indicate that Mandeni and KwaDukuza Local Municipalities have experienced a constant growth between 1996 and 2007. The reasons for this growth are largely linked to the observation that 18% of the Mandeni area is predominantly secondary sector industry, while 19% of the KwaDukuza area marks the primary and secondary industry and has rich coastal strip (www.ilembe.gov.za)
However, a contrasting picture emerges when the population sizes of the two remaining local municipalities –Ndwedwe and Maphumulo –are analysed. These two local municipalities are characterized by a more agrarian economy as opposed to the other more industrialized ones above. 35% of the Ndwedwe area relies on subsistence farming, and 28% of the Maphumulo area is largely utilized for agriculture (www.ilembe.gov.za).
At the border of ILembe District Municipality is the Unicity of Durban in the immediate south, which is linked by the coastal highway to Richards Bay in the north. This means that it has access to both harbors for trade purposes. In addition, iLembe District Municipality is also a leading place for tourism industry because of its rich Zulu kingdom heritage, as it was named in recognition of King Shaka, iLembe.
Despite this, most households in the district still struggle to live above poverty line and they only manage on incomes far less that R18000 per annum (Portfolio, 2006). This has resulted in a number of social ills, such as crime, corruption, informal settlements, teenage pregnancy, HIV and Aids pandemic, particularly in Mandeni and Ndwedwe local municipalities. Therefore, there is a need to respond to these social ills. In that regard a people-centered approach towards meeting the needs of people is imperative.