Regional development of the greater Saldanha Bay region

Welman, Lesley (2018-09)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Globalisation exposes even the most remote spaces to competition, forcing firms, towns and regions to react and adjust to changing and new economic conditions. Over the past 20 years there has been a resurgence of ‘the region’ as a scale of economic organisation and an understanding of the ways institutional arrangements change and shape the evolutionary paths of economies (and firms) over time and space. The evolution of firms (economic players or actors), their creative destruction (or their inability to innovate), path dependencies and economic resilience have significant implications for their own growth performances and for the development of towns and regions. Since the early 1970s, the Greater Saldanha Bay (GSB) region and Saldanha town on the West Coast of the Western Cape province in South Africa have been high on the national development agenda. Despite various development initiatives, Saldanha town and region have struggled to reach sustained regional development and socio-economic transformation. This research investigated the roles of three main economic players – Saldanha Steel (SS), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Sea Harvest Corporation (SH) – and the local government (Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM)) in the growth and development of Saldanha town and the GSB region. The study is positioned within the sub-disciplines of economic geography and regional development studies. The appropriate literature on evolutionary economic geography (EEG), the institutional approach (IA), the new regionalism approaches (NRAs), the neoclassic growth framework and endogenous growth theory (EGT) serves as conceptual bases and has assisted in making sense of the real-life contexts and the local and regional development complexities of Saldanha town and the GSB region. A mixed methods approach was applied in four case studies where primary and secondary data were collected. Primary data and information were obtained through a firm-specific questionnaire survey (three economic players and the local government); analyses of aerial photos and historical maps were used to map the historical footprint and co-evolution of Saldanha town and Saldanha Bay Port; semi-structured interviews were conducted with the managers of the three economic players and the local government; and a focus group discussion was held between representatives of various economic players (SS, TNPA and SH), SBM, Saldanha Bay Chamber of Business (SBCB), the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) and Duferco Steel Processing (DSP). The primary data was augmented by a variety of secondary data sources consisting of company-specific annual reports, hake industry fact sheets, integrated development plans of the SBM (2007-2018), a SBIDZ feasibility study and data from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). The analyses of the three firms revealed a struggle to cope with changing economic (global competition) and geographical (physical and human) contexts. The well-being of the Saldanha town and regional economies is related to the existing formal and informal institutional contexts, the performance of the local economic players (firms), the relevant provincial and national development plans and policies as well as the exogenous factors (eco-labelling of hake, the oil price and overproduction of steel) in the global economic arena. Other significant factors are the historical and current political settings (national, provincial and local) constraining the capacity of the region to shape its own future. The study revealed an overdependence of the local authority on state-led projects in Saldanha town and a lack of initiative and capital to establish its own placebased projects. A slow pace of the development and the introduction of new technologies in the existing and the establishment of new appropriate industries in all the towns of the GSB region was also evident. The future of SH the largest employer in the town, is linked to the biological recovery rate of the hake fishery and the overall impact of climate change on the sustainability of the industry. The survival of SS is important for the local economy regarding the retention of jobs and linkages with downstream industries, but also in South African and African strategic contexts. The future of the local economy of Saldanha town is subject to the re-establishment and strengthening of its connection with its port, the envisaged new economic activities associated with the oil-and-gas service centre and the establishment of a port-town development authority to replace the existing inadequate institutional framework. Strong leadership is needed to create an enabling environment that is conducive to the promotion of the social and economic development of the region. Therefore, the SBM has to be entrepreneurial and it must progress from being supplier of basic services to becoming an enabler of growth. This research contributes to the academic debate on the differences in economic development between locations regarding the underlying differences in these locations (predestination – geographical factors) and small historical opportunities (or chances). The published results of the three sub-regional analyses of three different types of firms, the roles of local government, formal and informal institutions (endogenous factors) in the process of stimulating growth and bringing about the socio-economic transformation of the region help to fill lacunae in the existing literature. Moreover, the findings emphasise that local and regional development are ongoing, evolutionary processes in which many and varied outcomes are possible, and that exogenous factors cannot be ignored.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Globalisering stel selfs die mees afgeleë plekke bloot aan kompetisie en forseer firmas, dorpe en streke om te reageer en om by nuwe en veranderde ekonomiese omstandighede aan te pas. Oor die afgelope 20 jaar was daar ʼn oplewing in ‘die streek’ as ʼn skaal vir ekonomiese organisasie en begrip vir die maniere waarop institusionele opsette verander en daardeur die evolusionêre bane van ekonomieë (en firmas) oor tyd en ruimte beïnvloed. Die evolusie van firmas (ekonomiese rolspelers), hul kreatiewe vernietiging (of hul onvermoë om te innoveer), hul vasgevangenheid binne sekere ontwikkelingsbane en hul ekonomiese veerkragtigheid het betekenisvolle implikasies ten opsigte van hul eie groeiprestasies sowel as vir die ontwikkeling van dorpe en streke. Sedert die vroeëre 1970s is die Groter Saldanhabaai (GSB)-streek en die dorp Saldanha – aan die Weskus van die Wes-Kaap Provinsie in Suid-Afrika – hoog op die nasionale ontwikkelingsagenda. Ondanks verskeie ontwikkelingsinisiatiewe, sukkel die dorp om ʼn vlak van volgehoue streekontwikkeling en sosio-ekonomiese transformasie te bereik. Hierdie navorsing ondersoek drie belangrike ekonomiese rolspelers – Saldanha Staal (SS), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Sea Harvest Corporation (SH) – en die plaaslike owerheid (Saldanhabaai Munisipaliteit (SBM)) se bydraes tot die groei en ontwikkeling van die dorp Saldanha en die GSBstreek. Die studie vind plaas binne die subdissiplines ekonomiese geografie en streeksontwikkelingstudies. Die gepaste literatuur oor die neoklassieke groeiraamwerk, endogene groeiteorie, evolusionêre ekonomiese geografie (EEG), die institusionele benadering (IB) en nuwe streeksbenaderings (NSBs) dien as konseptuele basisse en het bygedra om sin te maak van die werklike lewenskontekste asook plaaslike en streeksontwikkelingskompleksiteite van die dorp Saldanha en die GSB-streek. Navorsingsmetodiek van gemengde metodes is in vier gevallestudies toegepas om primêre en sekondêre data te versamel. Primêre data en inligting was ontsluit deur middel van ʼn firmaspesifieke vraelysopname (drie ekonomiese spelers en die plaaslike owerheid); analises van lugfotos en historiese kaarte is gedoen om die historiese voetspoor en gelyktydige evolusie van die dorp Saldanha en Saldanha Hawe te karteer; semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is gevoer met bestuurders van die drie hoof ekonomiese rolspelers en die plaaslike owerheid; en ʼn fokusgroepbespreking is gereël tussen verteenwoordigers van die ekonomiese spelers (SS, TNPA en SH), SBM, die plaaslike sakekamer, die Saldanhabaai Nywerheidsontwikkelingsone en Duferco Steel Processing (DSP). Die primêre data is aangevul uit 'n verskeidenheid sekondêre bronne bestaande uit firma-spesifieke jaarverslae, feitestate van witvisbedryf, geïntegreerde ontwikkelingsplanne van die SBM (2007-2018), die uitvoerbaarheidstudie oor die Saldanhabaainywerheidsone en data van die Statistiek Suid-Afrika (StatsSA). Die analises van die drie firmas het blootgelê dat hulle steeds sukkel om aan te pas by veranderende ekonomiese (globale kompetisie) en geografiese (fisiese en menslike) kontekste. Die welsyn van die plaaslike dorp en streek se ekonomieë hou verband met bestaande formele en informele institusionele strukture, die prestasie van die plaaslike ekonomiese spelers (firmas), die relevante provinsiale en nasionale ontwikkelingsplanne en -beleide asook die globale ekonomiese arena se eksogene faktore (ekoetikettering van stokvis, die olieprys en die oorproduksie van staal). Ander beduidende faktore is die historiese en huidige politieke omgewings (nasionale, provinsiale en plaaslike) wat die dorp en streek strem om hul eie toekoms te skep en te verseker. Die studie het bevestig dat die plaaslike owerheid oorafhanklik is van staatsgedrewe projekte en dat daar ʼn onvermoë in die leierskap en gebrek aan kapitaal is om plekgebaseerde inisiatiewe te identifiseer en te vestig. Die studie het aangedui dat die ontwikkeling van nuwe tegnologieë en die vestiging van nuwe gepaste industrieë in al die dorpe van die GSB-streek ook te stadig plaasvind. SH, die grootste werkgewer in die dorp se toekoms is gekoppel aan die biologiese herstelvermoë van die stokvispopulasie asook hoe klimaatsverandering die volhoubaarheid van die visbedryf in die geheel sal beïnvloed. Die oorlewing van SS is nie net belangrik vir die plaaslike ekonomie ten opsigte van die behoud van werksgeleenthede en skakelinge met ander stroomaf-nywerhede nie, maar ook binne die SuidAfrikaanse en Afrika-strategiese kontekste. Die toekoms van die plaaslike ekonomie van die dorp Saldanha lê in die herstelling en versterking van die skakel tussen die dorp en sy hawe, die vooruitsigte van nuwe ekonomiese aktiwiteite wat gekoppel kan word aan die olie-en-gasdiensstasie en die vestiging van ʼn hawe-dorp ontwikkelingsowerheid wat die huidige oneffektiewe institusionele raamwerk kan vervang. Sterk leierskap word benodig om ʼn ontwikkelingsomgewing te skep wat sosiale en ekonomiese ontwikkeling in die streek sal bevorder. Die plaaslike munisipaliteit moet dus optree as ʼn geleentheidskepper vir groei en wegbreek van sy rol as basiese diensverskaffer. Hierdie navorsing dra by tot die akademiese debat oor die verskille in ekonomiese ontwikkeling tussen plekke na gelang van hul onderliggende verskille (voorafbestemming – geografiese faktore) en klein historiese geleenthede (of kanse). Die gepubliseerde resultate van die analises van drie verskillende tipes firmas op sub-streeksvlak, die rolle wat die plaaslike owerheid, formele en informele instellings (endogene faktore) speel in die proses om groei te stimuleer asook om sosio-ekonomiese transformasie van die streek te bewerkstelling, vul huidige leemtes in die bestaande literatuur. Verder, die bevindings bevestig dat plaaslike en streeksontwikkeling deurlopende, evolusionêre prosesse is waar baie en uiteenlopende uitkomste moontlik is, en dat eksogene faktore nooit misgekyk moet word nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105220
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