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About Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is located on the shores of Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape province. The city of Port Elizabeth, the close towns of Uitenhage and Despatch and the nearby agricultural areas exist in the municipality. “Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality” was named in honour of former President Nelson Mandela. However, there is no correlation between the geographical feature in the area and the name. The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality was created as an administrative area in 2001.

About the City

Land area (km2)

1959 km2


1,152,115 (Census 2011)

Population growth rate

1.38% (Census 2011)

% of the city's territory which is urban

97.7% (Census 2011)

Population density (hab / km2)

581 hab / km2

Rate of population density change over last decade

146 336 (over 10 years, 2001 - 2011)

Main economic activity

Secondary sector

Community type

Metropolitan area

About the Local Government

Official name

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape

Official name in English

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape

Number of municipal employees

120 councillors (2012)

Annual income in USD

705,329.85 USD (2011)

Annual expenditure in USD

733,194.33 USD (2011)

Mayor or senior elected representative

Cllr Ben Fihla.

Municipal Commissioner or senior appointed representative

Themba Hani (Acting)

City vision and mission statement

A Globally Competitive City that Works Together with the People. Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is a global city that is governed by an inclusive and innovative municipality, focused on sustainable service delivery, socio-economic development, infrastructure development local and regional integration.



Urban systems, infrastructures and services managed by the Local Government

Waste management, Wastewater drainage, Wastewater treatment

ICLEI Membership


Member of regional/national/global initiatives


Sustainability journey to date

Description of relevant existing development policies

Green Procurement Implementation Strategy (GPIS) 2011

Integrated Environmental Policy

Relevant past and current projects

The Water Wise campaign 2008-2010, The Waste Exchange (WX) Project 2008, Fifteen Percent Mega Watt Project (15% MW Project),SOLAR WATER HEATER SYSTEM PILOT PROJECT, Eastern Cape Provincial Climate Change Response (CCR) Working Session 2009, All Hands on Waste 2003/2011

At a glance

% access to electricity


% access to district heating


% access to district cooling


% served by municipal water system


Water consumption per inhabitant

89.09 m3/hab/year

% served by municipal wastewater drainage system

87.4 % flush toilet connected to sewerage.

% served by municipal solid waste collection system


Solid waste generation per inhabitant

24.04 Kb/hab/year

Public transportation modes available

Train (commuter, intercity)

Energy profile

Energy consumption per inhabitant

30.63 GJ/capita (4.6 tCO2e/capita) 2007

% of local government operations of community final energy consumption


Further information on energy profile

Total primary energy consumption (MJ/year) - 3.41601e+10 MJ

Total Community GHG Emissions (2012):  4,985,905 tCO2e

For more information on the city's GHG emission reporting, visit their profile on the carbonn Climate Registry.

Durban Adaptation Charter

Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan is one of the 950 local governments who have signed the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC). By signing the DAC Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan is hoping to increase its resilience as an urban centre through evidence-based adaptation strategies as well as to yield additional benefits.

Waste to energy project

Launched in 2014 the waste to energy project will provide an opportunity for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan (NMBM) and the South African public electricity utility ESKOM, to distribute more energy for the residents which comes from an alternative energy source (energy from waste). The NMBM can see a reduction in its carbon emissions due to energy generation from organic landfill waste.   This project is in feasibility stage, and will assist the Metro and ESKOM to reach government’s targets on carbon emission reduction; diversification of the energy mix; and use of renewable energy.  

Large volumes of biogas and noxious leachates leak out from landfills, caused largely by organic waste.  The diversion of waste at the Material Recovery Facilities means that organic waste reaching landfills is reduced significantly as well as the separation of recyclable materials.

Scaling up low-carbon transport for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and cycling

The Public Transportation Plan (PTP) was the forerunner to the BRT. In the PTP, extensive stakeholder engagement formed part of the decisions and actions for the roll-out of a dedicated bus system which would create multiple nodes, encourage densification of development, provide access to safe, regular and frequent public transport and link all citizens to their places of employment and residence. The BRT was fast-tracked to coincide with the 2010 World Soccer Cup, in which Port ELizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) was a host city. 

Current plans to scale up cycling tracks and sidewalks throughout 2015- 2017 are currently underway. These positive advances in low-carbon transport action have taken place since 2012 as part of the City's Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) Plan.

Energy Efficiencies in water supply system

The water supply to the towns of Port Elizabeth, Despatch and Uitenhage are under strain due to cyclical droughts and increasing population size. This REEP project will increase energy and water efficiencies of the 74 pump stations within the NMBM. Various technical interventions, training and capacity-building, and the establishment of a monitoring and verification programme to track interventions are also part of the project. Co-funding is from the South African National Energy Development Institute, and the REEEP funding is sourced from the Governments of United Kingdom and Norway.

Small-scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) within municipal boundaries

The Nelson Mandela Bay has made impressive strides in embedded generation - the generation of electricity by residents, businesses, or industries via grid connected devices that made use of renewable energy sources. 

To date, 27 embedded small-scale generation systems have been connected to the NMBM grid, with 25 of these systems being smaller than 100kW. These systems compliment the existing NMBM renewable energy framework; NMBM also allows generation systems of 100kW to 5MW to connect to the grid, provided they are licensed by National Energy Regulator of South Africa.

The success of local embedded generation has been due to a mix of R&D (2012- 2013 study on electricity supply pricing), electricity tariffs and political support (2012 Mayoral Resolution signed by the Executive Mayor). 

For more information, consult the Nelson Mandela Bay case study prepared by ICLEI. 

Public lighting retrofits at the community and government level

Under the Integrated Energy Plan, in 2012 NMBM completed the municipal lighting retrofits on four municipal buildings for energy-efficient lighting, as well as the domestic roll-out of 100 and 60 Watt incandescent compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), to increase its resource-efficient and secure energy supply.

GO Green Awareness Campaign

As a product of the GO Green Awareness Campaign educates municipal official and residents alike, by giving municipal initiatives which tackle climate change visibility in creative ways. Since 2008, the Program has been supporting long-term sustainable development and the management of natural resources, as well as the public health and quality of life of NMBM citizens. 

Grootkloof Environmental Education Centre

The Grootkloof Environmental Education Center has been upgraded to energy efficient technologies and a solar PV system of 20 panels with a capacity of 4kW, connected to the grid for excess energy. During load shedding the system’s backup battery can operate all the newly-replaced 161 LED lights in all offices and classrooms. In all, this has resulted in a decrease of 59% in energy use.  In addition, a rainwater harvesting system with a capacity of 22,500 liters of water has been installed together with a 3-stage filter system (particles, ultra and UV filter). This is now the main water supply for the center, with running water only as a backup, if required.

Greenhouse gas inventory and renewable energy commitments

NMBM has completed its greenhouse gas inventory for both the government and community level (2012). Transparently measuring, reporting and tracking its performance and actions, allows the city to set and tackle LED priorities. Notably, the City has committed to the incorporation of renewable energies into the energy supply mix by 15% by 2015.

For more information on the city's mitigation actions reporting, visit their profile on the carbonn Climate Registry.

GCC tracking for Nelson Mandela Bay
Step I
Step II
Step III

GreenClimateCities methodology - Legend

GreenClimateCities Methodology - Chart