District development forums? : towards an alternative to current land reform policy in South Africa

Channing, Janet (2000-04)

Thesis (MPhil) -- Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Some digitised pages may appear cut off due to the condition of the original hard copy.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Muden is a poor, rural hamlet in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The sub district of Muden forms part of the Presidential Lead Pilot Land Reform Redistribution Project within KwaZulu Natal. This study analyses the negative impact of the current land reform programme on this rural environment. The research indicates a situation of severe poverty, high dependency, a lack of social infrastructure and a need for strong participatory government at local level. It also shows how existing land reform policies and current development practises are inappropriate within their current context. Proposals are formulated about a possible strategy that can be used to move beyond these problems. This study follows a systematic approach in which the reader is first shown what the facts about land reform within Muden, KwaZulu Natal are, and secondly what challenges are induced by these facts. In each chapter the perspectives are altered to add depth and to illustrate the complexity of the situation. The focus also falls on moments or aspects of crisis and how the different stakeholders have actually responded to these. From a normative perspective, guidelines are identified in a reasoned manner from the discussion in each chapter that help identify what could be done in order to overcome the crisis of development and land reform in Muden. The first chapter introduces the reader to Muden, KwaZulu Natal, through a brief history of the district from a land reform perspective. The reader is given an understanding of the current situation prevailing in the Muden Valley through an explanation of the origins of the conflict over land and other natural resources. In the second chapter the social fabric of Muden is described, considering the perceived ethical dilemma between development and environmental management within the context of land reform. A need for an integrated management strategy emerges. In the third chapter the social lens is exchanged for an environmental perspective, discussing the concept of sustainability in terms of the natural environment. Through a discussion about the quality of life of the people of Muden, both pre and post land reform, Chapter 4 brings together the social and biophysical arguments and makes a case for sustainable development. Against the background of this overview of the current situation of Muden, Chapter 5 is used for a rigorous scrutiny of the current approach to land reform/rural development. In this chapter the critical points of intervention are identified. These are points where decisions have impacted negatively upon the land reform project in the respective stages of project planning and project implementation and how these have contributed to the current crisis within Muden. The final chapter formulates a (hopefully) persuasive proposal towards the establishment of District Development Forums as an alternative approach to the current/conventional approach to land reform /rural development in Muden, KwaZulu Natal. I propose that these forums may form a practical institutional framework which have the potential to move us beyond the present quandaries o f the current land reform/rural development experience.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Muden is ‘n arm landelike dorpie in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Die Muden distrik vorm deel van die Presideasiele Loodsprojek vir die Herverdeling van Grond in KwaZulu Natal. Hierdie studie ondersoek en analiseer die negatiewe impak van die bestaande grondhervormingsprogramme op die landelike omgewing waarin dit geskied. Die navorsing dui op omvangryke armoede, ‘n hoe vlak van afhanklikheid, ‘n gebrek aan sosiale infrastrukture en ‘n behoefte vir sterk deelnemende bestuur op plaaslike vlak. Verder toon dit aan dat bestaande grondhervormingsbeleid en ontwikkelingspraktyke onvoldoende is binne die bestaande landelike konteks. Voorstelle word binne hierdie studie gedoen vir ‘n moontlike strategic om die genoemde probleme te oorkom. Die studie volg ‘n sistematiese aanpak waarin die leser bewus gemaak word van die bestaande feite rondom grondhervorming in Muden. Voorts word die uitdagings wat uit hierdie situasie spruit aan die leser gestel. In elke hoofstuk word die perspektief gewysig om insig in die situasie te verdiep en die kompleksiteit daarvan aan te toon. Momente van krisissituasies word beklemtoon en die wyse waarop rolspelers daarop reageer word bespreek. Vanuit ‘n nomatiewe hoek word in elke hoofstuk riglyne op ‘n beredeneerde wyse geidentifiseer om oplossings te vind wat die bestaande krississe in grondhervorming in Muden kan oorkom. Hoofstuk een stel die leser voor aan Muden en die geskiedenis van grondhervorming in die distrik. Begrip vir die huidige situasie in Muden word geskep deur ‘n bespreking van die oorsake van konflik oor grond en ander natuurlike hulpbronne. Hoofstuk twee beskryf die sosiale samestelling binne die Muden distrik en bring dit in verband met die oenskynlike etiese konflik tussen ontwikkeling en bewaring binne die konteks van grondhervorming. Hieruit spruit ‘n behoefte voort vir ‘n geintegreerde en omvattende bestuurstrategie. In Hoofstuk drie word die sosiale invalshoek vervang met ‘n omgewingsfokus en word die konsep van selfonderhoubaarheid van die natuurlike omgewing ter sprake gebring. Terselfdertyd ondersoek dit lewenskwaliteit van die mense in Muden voor en na die grondhervorming. Hoofstuk vier kombineer sosiale en biofisiese standpunte en ontwikkel ‘n pleidooi vir selfonderhoubare ontwikkeling. Teen die hierdie agtergrond word grondhervorming en ontwikkeling krities beoordeel in Hoofstuk vyf. Kritieke sake vir intervensie word so geidentifiseer. Hierdie sake word beskou as die produk van besluite wat negatief ingewerk het op die verskillende fases van projekbeplanning en implementering. As sodanig het die gemelde besluite dus bygedra tot die huidige grondhervormingskrises in Muden. Die laaste hoofstuk formuleer en argumenteer ten gunste van die vestiging van Distrik Ontwikkelingsforums as ‘n alternatiewe benadering tot die konvensionele en bestaande aanpak van grondhervorming en landelike ontwikkeling in Muden. As sodaning kan hierdie forums dien as praktiese institusionele raamwerke met die inherente potensiaal om bestaande probleme in hierdie verband te oorkom.

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