Meyer_DF 2013. Thesis

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Exploration of Revitalisation strategies of rural towns
   AN EXPLORATION OF REVITALIZATION STRATEGIES FOR RURAL AREAS: THE CASE OF THE NORTHERN FREE STATE Daniel Francois Meyer Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree   DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in Public Management and Governance at the VAAL TRIANGLE CAMPUS of the North-West University Vanderbijlpark Promoter: Prof E.P. Ababio  April 2013    DECLARATION I, Daniel Francois Meyer declare that    AN EXPLORATION OF REVITALIZATION STRATEGIES FOR RURAL AREAS: THE CASE OF THE NORTHERN FREE STATE is my own work and that all the sources I have used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged by means of complete references. Signature: _____________________________ Date: _____________________________ ii   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to this research project. The following people deserve special mention and are acknowledged for their contribution: ã  Our Heavenly Father for the talent and inspiration to make a difference through this research project. ã  The loving support and encouragement from my wife, Natanya and my close family in Meyerton. ã  The management at NWU: Vaal Campus for the continued and unreserved support for this and other projects. ã  Professor E.P. Ababio, in his capacity as promoter of this thesis. My heartfelt gratefulness for your guidance and support. You made my project your priority at all time. ã  The staff of the Department of Public Management and Administration of the School of Basic Sciences for their kindness and support. ã  The Director: Research, at the Faculty of Humanities, Prof S Coetzee van Rooy, for her support and advice during the research period. ã  All the members of staff of the various municipalities in the study area, as well as all the field workers who assisted in the community surveys. iii   ABSTRACT Rural areas, globally, are characterized as poor regions, with two-thirds of the world’s poor people residing in rural areas. In South Africa, 70 percent of the poor population or 3.6 million households, live in rural areas. In the last three State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) in South  Africa by President Zuma since 2011, rural development has been placed high on government’s developmental agenda. The formulation of a comprehensive rural development policy, with coordinated implementation by all spheres of government is however still lacking. This research project was undertaken to explore solutions for the revival and development of rural areas in South Africa. The northern Free State region was selected as the geographical focus area and “testing ground” for the research. Rural South Africa has been deteriorating over the last few decades mainly due to globalization and urbanization. Two specific tools to achieve accelerated rural development were identified and analysed namely, local economic development (LED) and spatial planning. The research has shown that rural development is a complicated and difficult process. It is not only about agriculture and economic development, but also about other aspects such as spatial planning, social development, the environment, politics and public management aspects. For the purpose of the research, the theoretical statement was stated as “the chronic state of underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment, especially in rural South Africa, with a specific focus on the northern Free State, can be turned around by means of the implementation of revitalization strategies, which include innovative policies and programmes of LED and spatial planning”. Rural development requires strong committed local leaders and “champions”, skills, patience and funding. The research methodology included a comprehensive theoretical analysis of the concepts relating to rural development, as well as global and local case studies. Local rural development policies were also analysed as currently being implemented by government. Primary research included a community socio-economic survey in the study area to determine levels of rural poverty, unemployment, services delivered by local government and skills. In this survey of poor rural areas and the socio-economic analysis of the northern Free State, it was found that: ã  close to 50% of all households were living in poverty, ã  50.7% of all households lack employment, ã  40% of households have an income of less than R 1 500 per month, ã  The average annual household income in the area relates to just less than R20 000, ã  The ratio between formal and informal jobs is 1: 0.25, which indicates a low level of informal  job opportunities, ã  Most job opportunities are found in agriculture, manufacturing, community services and households. ã  The tourism sector only provides in 3.1% of the regional GDP. Local business chambers were also visited in order to determine their perceptions of rural development and local government as well as the level of partnerships with the various local iv
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