The Emalahleni Municipal area, which means the “place of coal”, consists inter alia of the towns of eMalahleni, Kwa-Guqa, Ga-Nala and Ogies. The town of eMalahleni was established in 1903. It was named after a ridge of white rock located near the present railway station. In the early years, this ridge was a halting place for transport wagons and a trading post. eMalahleni has a large collection of heritage assets, which is currently under threat from rapid development. Emalahleni is probably the most industrialised municipal area in Nkangala and its landscape features mainly underground and opencast coalmines. This area has the largest concentration of power stations in the country. Its mining and industrial history is reflected in the area’s heritage places. This includes elements of industrial history, military history, architectural/engineering and graves which should be protected and conserved.
Emalahleni Local Municipality is located within the Mpumalanga Province and is situated in the jurisdictional area of the Nkangala District Municipality. The district is located to the North-West of the province and is the smallest district in land mass (21%) and has the second largest population concentration (35%) in the province. It covers an area of about 2677.67 km2 in extent. The Nkangala District Municipality is made up of six local municipalities, namely:
- Emalahleni Local Municipality,
- Emakhazeni Local Municipality,
- Steve Tshwete Local Municipality,
- Thembisile Hani Local Municipality,
- Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality, and
- Victor Khanye Local Municipality.