Local government and sustainable human development: local government as development agent in the promotion of local economic development

Noble, Hugo Robert (2003-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The research report investigates the theoretical foundation of the understanding of decision-makers at local government level of the term "development", with specific reference to local government as development agent and Local Economic Development. The choice of theoretical model by these decision-makers to conceptualise their understanding has historical and analytical antecedents, and secondly, the decision-maker is faced with a basic dualism in developmental thinking, ie. the emphasis on universalism (global competitiveness) on the one hand and the need for specificity (local economic development) on the other. The theoretical principles and assumptions on which the neoliberal and market-orientated approach to development is based are incorporated in the macroeconomic policy approach 'Growth, Employment and Redistribution' in South Africa. This approach has recently overshadowed the social welfarist developmental approach represented by the 'Reconstruction and Development Program' or Sustainable Human Development. The basis for specific policy formulation and intervention strategies are found in the theoretical assumptions, goals and objectives in each of these alternate approaches to development. The research design for the study is primarily qualitative. A semi-structured interview schedule is applied in directing in-depth interviews with identified central decisionmakers in metropolitan and larger "B" municipalities. The research design and process is constructed around three themes based on current and historic analysis of development thinking as a means to address poverty and inequality: theme 1 - theoretical understanding of the term development, Economic Growth in the formal sector versus Sustainable Human Development; theme 2 - the nature and relevance of participation by civil society in the Local Economic Development (LEO) process; and theme 3- Local Economic Development and the role of infrastructure investment, land use planning and zoning as intervention strategy. A benchmark position is developed on local government as development agent and LEO, using various sources, for example, interview with Director-General in the Department of Provincial and Local Government dealing with Local Economic Development, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and legislative acts and policy papers relevant to LED. This position is compared with the position held by local government decision-makers dealing with LED. The analysis of the information collected suggests that the theoretical perspective and policy framework on development, participation and strategies to address inequality and poverty, ie Sustainable Human Development (researchers title) held by the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) is not compatible with the definition and understanding of the majority of the decision-makers at local government level dealing directly with LED. The notion of participative development with anti-poverty strategies focussed on poor urban citizenry at the local level is not seen as the relevant theoretical or applied focus by developmental decision-makers at municipal level. In addition, limited knowledge is available to local government decision-makers on both formal and informal economic activity. In this regard, de facto leadership has already been handed over to formal-economy organisations and institutions. The idea of using land-use planning and zoning regulations to reorientate economic activity to low- and informal housing settlements and the reconstitution of low-and informal housing as sites of manufacture utilising flexible specialisation principles was positively received. However, the respondents were either not knowledgeable about these principles, for example; Globalisation of production and flexible production processes, or had not considered them in relation to their planning, land use or zoning and development functions. In the light of the above, the notion of local government as development agent with specific reference to addressing poverty and inequality utilising the Local Economic Development process as envisaged by the Department of Provincial and Local Government does not have the majority support of decision-makers at city and metro level. The majority of respondents defined the process of consultation as limited to formal economic sectors that were/could be competitive in the new global economy. The majority of decision-makers hold the view that the redefinition and location of sites of economic activity could be delegated to these formal sector organisations and institutions. Their common understanding of development and the related intervention strategies was based on formal sector growth and related job creation strategies, as well as the "trickle-down" of resources and opportunities to the informal sector. If they wish to remain relevant in this context the Department of Provincial and Local Government has to develop intervention strategies to reorientate and redefine the theoretical and applied definition of development held by the decision-makers especially with regard to Local Economic Development. If these issues are not addressed the form and shape of South Africa cities and metros will be based on the entrenchment and escalation of economic dualism and exclusion of the poor from any developmental decision-making and strategies. This has serious implications for the development of local democracies and developmental institutions based on the formulation and understanding of local conditions and circumstances of poverty and inequality and holds serious implications for social stability in the South African metros and municipalities in the future.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die navorsingsverslag ondersoek die teoretiese begronding van die begrip wat besluitnemers op plaaslike regeringsvlak het van die term "ontwikkeling "met spesifieke verwysing na plaaslike regering as ontwikkelingsagent en Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkeling. Die keuse van teoretiese modelle deur hierdie besluitnemers het historiese en analitiese voorlopers en tweedens, word die besluitnemer in die gesig gestaar deur 'n basiese dualisme in ontwikkelingsdenke, die klem op universalisme (globale kompeterendheid) aan die een kant en die behoefte aan spesifiekheid (plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling) aan die ander kant. Die teoretiese beginsels en aannames waarop die neoliberale en markgeorienteerde benaderings tot ontwikkeling berus, word gei"nkorporeer in die makro-ekonomiese benadering "Groei, Werkverskaffing en Herverdeling" (GEAR) in Suid Afrika. Hierdie benadering het onlangs die sosiale welsynsontwikkelingsbenadering, wat verleenwoordig is deur die "Heropbou en Ontwikkelingsprogram" (HOP) of Volhoubare Menslike Ontwikkeling, in die skadu gestel. Die basis vir spesifieke beleidsvorming en intervensiestrategiee word gevind in die teoretiese aannames, doelwitte en doelstellings in elk van hierdie altematiewe benaderings tot ontwikkeling. Die navorsingsontwerp vir hierdie studie is primer kwalitatief. 'n Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoudskedule word toegepas am rigting te gee aan in-diepte onderhoude met geidentifiseerde sentrale besluitnemers in metropolitaanse en groter "B" munisipaliteite. Die navorsingsontwerp en proses is gekonstrueer rondom drie temas wat gebaseer is op huidige en historiese analise van ontwikkelingsdenke as 'n manier waarop armoede en ongelykheid aangespreek kan word: tema 1 - teoretiese begrip van die term ontwikkeling, ekonomiese groei in die formele sektor teenoor Volhoubare Menslike Ontwikkeling; tema 2 - die aard en relevansie van deelname deur die siviele samelewing en die Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkelingsproses (PEO); en tema 3 - Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkeling en die rol van infrastruktuurbelegging, grondgebruikbeplaning en sonering as 'n intervensie-strategie. 'n Beginpuntposisie word ontwikkel oar plaaslike regering en PEO deur gebruik te maak van verskeie bronne, byvoorbeeld, onderhoude met die Direkteur-Generaal in die Deparlement van Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering gemoeid met Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkeling (PEO) , die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid Afrika en wetgewing en beleidskrifte relevant tot PEO. Hierdie posisie word vergelyk met die posisie wat ingeneem word deur plaaslike regeringsbestuurbesluitnemers gemoeid met PEO. Die analise van die inligting wat ingesamel is suggereer dat die teoretiese perspektief en beleidsraamwerk oor ontwikkeling, deelname en strategiee om ongelykheid en armoede aan te spreek, die Volhoubare Menslike Ontwikkeling (navorserstitel) wat gehuldig word deur die Departement van Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering (DPPR) nie versoenbaar is met die definisie en begrip van die meerderheid van die besluitnemers op plaaslike regeringsvlak wat direk gemoeid is met PEO nie. Die idee van deelnemende ontwikkeling met anti-armoede strategiee wat gefokus is op arm stedelike burgers op plaaslike vlak word nie deur die ontwikkelingsbesluitnemers op munisipale vlak beskou as die relevante oftoegepaste fokus nie. Bykomend is beperkte kennis tot beskikking van plaaslike regeringsbesluitnemers oor beide formele en informele ekonomiese aktiwiteite. In hierdie verband is de facto leierskap alreeds oorhandig aan formele ekonomiese organisasies en instellings. Die idee van die gebruik van grondgebruik- en soneringsregulasies om ekonomiese aktiwiteite tot lae en informele behuisingsnedersetfings te herorienteer en die hersamestelling van lae en informele behuising as plekke vir vervaardiging deur gebruik te maak van buigbare spesialiseringsbeginsels is goed ontvang. Die respondente was egter nie ingelig oor hierdie beginsels, of hulle het weggelaat om hierdie beginsels in berekening te bring by hul beplanning, grondgebruik of sonering en ontwikkelingsfunksies. In die lig van bogenoemde het die idee van plaaslike regering as ontwikkelingsagent met spesifieke verwysing tot die aanspreek van armoede en ongelykheid, deur gebruik te maak van die Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkelingsproses, soos in die vooruitsig gestel deur die Departement van Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering, nie die meerderheidsteun van besluitnemers op staats- en metrovlak nie. Die meerderheid van die respondente het die proses van beraadslaging gedefinieer as beperk tot die formele ekonomiese sektore wat kompeterend was of kan wees in die nuwe globale ekonomie. Die meerderheid van hierdie besluitnemers is van mening dat die herdefiniering en plasing van plekke van ekonomiese aktiwiteite gedelegeer kan word aan hierdie formele sektororganisasies en instellings. Hierdie gedeelde begrip van ontwikkeling en verbandhoudende intervensie-strategiee was gebaseer op groei in die formele sektor en verbandhoudende werkskeppingstrategiee, asook die "afsyfering" van bronne en geleenthede na die informele sektor. As dit hul wens is om in hierdie konteks relevant te bly, moet die Oepartement van Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering intervensiestrategiee ontwikkel om die teoretiese en toegepaste definisie van ontwikkeling, wat gehuldig word deur besluitnemers, veral met betrekking tot Plaaslike Ekonomiese Ontwikkeling te herorienteer en te herdefineer. Indien hierdie aangeleenthede nie aangespreek word nie sal die vorm en fatsoen van Suid-Afrikaanse stede en metros gebaseer wees op die verskansing en uitbreiding van ekonomiese dualisme en die uitsluiting van die armes van enige ontwikkelingsbesluitneming en strategie. Oit het ernstige implikasies vir die ontwikkeling van plaaslike demokrasie en ontwikkelingsinstellings gebaseer op die formulering en begrip van plaaslike toestande en omstandighede van armoede en ongelykheid en hou ernstige implikasies in vir die sosiale stabiliteit in die Suid-Afrikaanse metros en munisipaliteite in die toekoms.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20929
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