Economic, social and political/institutional assessment of spatial development initiatives (in South Africa)

Tessely, Ruth (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Spatial Development Initiatives (SDIs) became the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) official policy in 1995/6 to accommodate problems, such as unemployment and empowerment, through sustainable development. We consequently pose the question whether the government has realised a strategic fit, i.e. whether the initial intention with the SDI strategy has consequently been achieved and, if not, what the main lessons are to fill the strategic gap? This question will be addressed in five chapters. The first chapter will provide the reader with the necessary background information on these initiatives. Before concluding (Chapter 6), the following three chapters will follow the inherent logic of the SDI strategy, i.e. economic investments are crowded in (Chapter 3) through a facilitating and mediating role of government (Chapter 4) in order to solve employment and empowerment (Chapter 5). Each realm, i.e. economic- political/institutional-and social, is evaluated on its contribution to the success of the Spatial Development Initiative. On the one hand it is difficult to say categorically whether or not there was a strategic fit, because the strategic aims were not initially written out in measurable detail. If the aim was to employ and to empower, while strengthening the institutions, we could qualitatively discern only when institutional capacity building (like in Lubombo) was a clear aim, that the resulting effect of the SDI strategy was significant. The employment and empowerment efforts may have been more disappointing than hoped for. But again this is difficult to discern because it may be too early to observe the trickle down effects. Neither is it easy to measure the many achievements that were recorded, and still then, they will probably look very relative because of the immensity of the problem. In 2001 the South African Government acknowledged that it has failed in its empowerment programme, while a Presidential Summit was convened in 1998 to search for employment solutions. Against this background and given that not more effort is made to measure the results of the efforts to create employment, has to indicate that the SDIs have not left behind an impression of having performed well in terms of their strategic aim. On the one hand this was because government strongly tended towards attracting foreign investment while paying too little attention to the subsequent needs of SMMEs. Moreover is there a need for an integrated and long-term development plan that allows rational choices to be made. Nevertheless, the fact that evaluations are commissioned and that government publicly admits a mistake could be the signs of a learning organisation, which again is the start of a positive process.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ruimtelike Ontwikkelings Inisiatiewe (ROI's) het die Departement Handel en Nywerheid se amptelike beleid in 1995/96 geword om probleme soos werkloosheid en swartbemagtiging deur middel van volhoubare ontwikkeling aan te spreek. Ons stel gevolglik die vraag of die regering 'n strategiese plan gehad het waarbinne die ROI inisiatief gepas het, of dit gewerk het en wat die lesse te leer is? Hierdie kwessie sal in vyf hoofstukke aangespreek word. Die eerste hoofstuk voorsien die leser van die nodige agtergrondinligting oor dergelike inisiatiewe. Die samevatting is hoofstuk ses, maar dit word deur drie ander hoofdstukke voorafgegaan: 'n logiese beoordeling van die ekonomiese determinante (hoofstuk drie), die fasiliterende rol van die regering (hoofstuk vier) en die suksesse, al dan nie, van werkskepping en bemagtiging (hoofstuk vyf). Elke tema word beoordeel in die lig van die vraag of dit bydra to die sukses van ROI's. Aan die een kant is dit moeilik te verklaar of daar 'n strategiese plan was omdat so 'n plan nie vooraf uiteengesit was nie. Indien dit die bedoeling was om werkgeleenthede te skep en om bemagtiging te bevorder, sou mens slegs na enkele inisiatiewe hoef te kyk, bv die Lubombo Plan. In so 'n geval was die suksesse tog beduidend. In die algemeen was die werkverskaffings- en bemagtigingsresultate egter teleurstellend. Dit is moontlik steeds te vroeg om 'n finale oordeel uit te spreek. Op hierdie stadium is dit geen eenvoudige taak om prestasies in die lig van die groter problematiek te meet nie. Bv in 2001 het die regering bevestig dat bemagtigingsprogramme in die lig van die presidensiele beraad van 1998, misluk het. Teen hierdie agtergrond word die indruk geskep dat die ROI's moontlik nie hul strategiese doelwitte bereik het nie. Sedertdien het die regering daarna gestrewe om buitelandse direkte investering na Suid-Afrika te lok deur middel van privatisering en klein, mikro en medium ondernemings te vestig. Die planne was moontlik meer suksesvol. Al hierdie inisiatiewe behoort in 'n enkele langtermyn ontwikkelingsplan opgeneem te word sodat rasionele keuses gemaak kan word. Dan sal daar duidelikheid wees oor die rol en plek van ROI's. Dit bestaan nog nie. Nietemin doen die regering reeds beoordelings van hulle planne met die oog om dit te hersien en die erkenning dat sekere planne nie hulle mikpunte bereik nie, is tekens daarvan dat 'n leerproses aan die orde van die dag is wat tog 'n positiewe begin was.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52249
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