Using geographical information systems for mapping commercial farmers' perceptions on land reform in Mpumalanga, RSA

Van Deventer, Heidi (2000-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Traditional top-down decision-making models have become unpopular since public institutions have been demanding more democracy at local level. New approaches and techniques have focused on how the majority of people can be involved in a bottom-up approach to development and decision making. Techniques, such as Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs), have identified people's concerns regarding the use of natural resources centred on land issues. Land is essentially a subject of public concern. Land as a spatial phenomenon controlled politically and used by all for survival and other purposes needs to be assessed in an integrated and time-spatial way for better planning and decision making. Geographical Information Systems (GISs) have often been used by statutory "experts" in evaluating, analysing and mapping of land and land-related features. GISs have a lot of potential in being applied as decision-making tools. If this is the case, how can public perceptions and politics be presented and mapped in a GIS to improve and democratise decision making even further? The study has investigated new methods of representing people's perspectives at grassroots level in a non-traditional way. A sub-region of the Lowveld, situated in the Mpumalanga province, has been selected because of the various kinds of land owners in the region. The Kruger National Park lies to the east of the study area, from where some black communities claim to have been removed. To the west of that is one of the districts of the former homeland KaNgwane, namely Nsikazi, and west of that two areas of intensive large-scale commercial fruit and vegetable production in the Nelspruit-White River and Kiepersol-Hazyview areas. Towards the escarpment north-west of these lie large commercial exotic forest plantations, owned mainly by Safcol and MandL Given the high demand and need for land from the overpopulated Nsikazi district, the process of land reform is a matter of great concern. White male commercial farmers in both regions where commercial farming is active were interviewed about their knowledge and perceptions of land reform. Various themes were presented to the farmers to comment on, namely the history of forced removals, land use, land potential, hydrology and where land reform should take place. Interviews were taped in Afrikaans, transcribed and translated to English. "Mental maps" were drawn on tracing paper overlaid on topographical maps of the Land Surveyor General, Mowbray. These were digitised and managed in Arclnfo, and displayed and analysed in ArcView, from where output maps were produced. The results of this technique proved to be very useful and can certainly broaden the use of GISs in decision making and public participation. However, GISs alone cannot be seen as the solution to better development and better decision-making. Public participation is of the utmost value in facilitating and initiating these processes. Land use planning needs to be the responsibility and concern of all land users and owners at a local level, where GISs can be applied as a tool to provide easier and more effective analysis and results for the implementation of initiatives.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tradisionele bo-na-onder besluitnemingsmodelle het in die laaste paar dekades baie ongewild geraak met die totstandkoming van instellings wat die publiek se mening hoog ag en demokrasie op grondvlak probeer bevorder. Nuwe benaderings en tegnieke poog nou om die publiek se mening in 'n onder-na-bo benadering tot ontwikkeling en besluitneming te integreer. Grondhervorming is basies die erns van die publiek, meer so as die staat. Grond is 'n ruimtelike verskynsel wat polities beheer word maar deur die meerderheid gebruik word vir oorlewing asook ander doeleindes. Dit behoort op 'n tyd-ruimtelike basis op 'n geïntegreerde wyse vir beter beplanning en besluitneming ondersoek te word. Geografiese Inligtingstelsels (GISs) word hoofsaaklik deur statutêre "kenners" gebruik in die evaluering, analise en kartering van grond en verbandhoudende verskynsels. Dit beskik verder oor die potensiaal om in besluitnemingsprosesse gebruik te word. Die vraag ontstaan egter hoe die publiek se menings en politieke strukture met 'n GIS verteenwoordig en gekarteer kan word ter verbetering van besluitneming op 'n meer demokratiese wyse. Die studie het nuwe metodes ondersoek waarvolgens mense op grondvlak se persepsies op nie-tradisionele maniere verteenwoordig en ondersoek kan word. 'n Sub-streek van die Laeveld wat geleë is in die Mpumalanga provinsie, is geselekteer vanweë die verskeidenheid grondeienaars wat daar voorkom. Die Kruger Nasionale Park is geleë in die oostelike deel van die studiegebied vanwaar sekere swart gemeenskappe gedurende die Apartheidsregime verskuif is. Direk wes hiervan lê die voormalige tuisland KaNgwane se Nsikazi distrik en wes daarvan twee areas, naamlik Nelspruit-Witrivier en Kiepersol-Hazyview, waar die kommersiële boerdery van vrugte en groente op groot skaal beoefen word. In die noordwestelike gedeeltes van die studiegebied kom grootskaalse uitheemse bosbouplantasies voor wat aan Safcol en Mondi behoort. Met die stygende aanvraag na grond vir residensiële- en landbougebruik in die streek, veral vanuit die Nsikazi distrik, is grondhervorming en die toepassing daarvan, 'n probleem, indien nie 'n bedreiging, vir die meeste grondeienaars. Onderhoude is met blanke manlike kommersiële boere, in albei die kommersiële streke gevoer om hul menings en kennis van grondhervorming te ondersoek. Verskeie temas is as besprekingspunte gestel, naamlik die geskiedenis van gedwonge verskuiwings, grondgebruik, grondpotensiaal, water hulpbronne en waar hul meen grondhervorming sou moes plaasvind. Onderhoude was in Afrikaans opgeneem, getranskribeer en in Engels vertaal. "Kognitiewe kaarte" was op deursigtige papier geteken wat oor 'n reeks topografiese kaarte van die gebied gelê is. Die resultate is versyfer en in Arelnfo gemanipuleer en daarna in ArcView ontleed en vir verslaglewering gekarteer. Die resultate van die tegniek beloof om vir beide besluitnemers en die publiek as deelnemers in die proses baie bruikbaar te wees. Dit verbreed ook die gebruik en toepassing van GISs en die sisteem se vermoëns. GISs kan egter nie alleenlik aangewend word om ontwikkeling en besluitneming vir die publiek beter of meer aanvaarbaar te maak nie. Alle mense se deelname is van die uiterste belang en waarde in die inisiëring, fasilitering en implementering van strategieë en projekte. Grondgebruiksbeplanning moet die verantwoordelikheid van almal word wat grond op plaaslike vlak gebruik of besit, nie net van die wat deur 'n probleem of program, soos grondhervorming, geraak word nie. 'n GIS kan aangewend word om die prosesse van ontwikkeling en besluitneming te vergemaklik deur analises vinniger en op 'n meer effektiewe manier te ondersoek vir beter en meer demokratiese besluitneming.

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