Newcastle Local Municipality is well placed to be a regional centre for economic development, given its strategic location at the nexus of major tourism, logistics, farming, and industrial routes, and as the seat of government in KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is located halfway between Johannesburg and the harbours of Durban and Richards Bay, hence contributing to the export of manufactured goods and supply to the large Gauteng market. Newcastle is also endowed with good access infrastructure to the areas mentioned above, and such includes quality road and railway networks. The town is situated on the national rail route between the Durban Container Terminal and City Deep in the Gauteng Province, and has within its confines, a major rail exchange terminal, supporting railway stations, and extensive goods conversion/warehousing facilities.
This book envisions Newcastle as a category A municipality, which is a Metropolitan municipality status:
BY 2035, NEWCASTLE WILL BE A RESILIENT AND ECONOMICALLY VIBRANT CITY, PROMOTING SERVICE EXCELLENCE TO ITS CITIZENS.
For the town's application for city status to be accepted it must fulfil three criteria:
1. A minimum population of 300,000.
2. A record of good local government.
3. A ‘local metropolitan character’.
The Act dictates that category-A municipalities can only be established in metropolitan areas. Metropolitan councils have a single metropolitan budget, common property ratings and service-tariff systems, and single-employer bodies. This change will be dependent on the Newcastle Local Municipality efficacy in governance. The efficacy of governance in the Newcastle local municipality will be measured by the quality of its local services and its institutions, the democratic participation of local citizens and communities in policy-making, and finally the accountability of elected and public representatives. This is what makes a well-governed city: efficiency, manage its finances prudently, sustainable, and accountable to its citizens. This indeed will require a huge paradigm shift in both the leadership and citizens of Newcastle.
If you are from Newcastle or planning to relocate to Newcastle or want to invest in Newcastle, this book is a must read