An analysis of local level development in South Africa : a case study of Uitenhage

Meyer, Sarah (2008) An analysis of local level development in South Africa : a case study of Uitenhage. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Development backlogs, in terms of unemployment and poverty, plague many developing countries. Countries have established and implemented various policies and plans to address these challenges. In response to these development backlogs, South Africa has instituted the notion of decentralisation and developmental local government, whereby local governments are largely responsible for initiating and facilitating development in the area under their jurisdiction. Furthermore, the potential role the private sector can play in development is being increasingly recognised by government, politicians, academics and developers alike. Uitenhage has a strong corporate presence and therefore this sector has the potential to contribute towards development in the town. However the concept of using corporate social responsibility (CSR) to promote development in South Africa is relatively new and, as will be revealed in the case study, definitions and underlying motivation for undertaking CSR vary. Local Economic Development (LED) and, more recently, CSR, have been recognised as major drivers of development and are being implemented throughout the country. As this thesis illustrates, they often merge and can work hand-in-hand to promote local development. Although the private sector, through CSR has the potential to contribute to development, they often do not have the available human resources to implement development initiatives. As is evident in the case study, partnerships between the private and public sectors often emerge as a result. Development institutions play a key role in development and often assist in bridging the gap between citizens, the state and the market. The development institutions in Uitenhage often act as instigators and facilitators on behalf of the larger corporations. The case study in Uitenhage, is a locality where there is a strong automotive industrial cluster and several major firms which are active in the development process. Furthermore, development institutions are committed to the socio-economic development of the town and the promotion of small micro medium enterprises (SMMEs), through various support services. The development institutions, often in partnership with the local government and the public sector, have initiated various local developmental projects in the town, of which three will be discussed in the case study. In this thesis, case study research reveals that corporations often do not meet their potential developmental role and their CSR actions are often considered as ‘window-dressing’ aimed at boosting their corporate image. Similarly, with regard to the development institutions, their development and job creation results look impressive at first glance, but further investigation reveals a collapse of a large number of projects. Despite the potential of LED and CSR to be major drivers of local development, there are still a number of hindering factors, which will be revealed in this thesis and lessons to be learnt which can help to inform future local development projects.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Local economic development, Corporate social responsibility, Small micro medium enterprises, SMME's, Community development, Business social responsibility, Case studies
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography > Cities. Urban geography
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD72 Economic growth, development, planning
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geography
ID Code:2754
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:04 May 2012 12:18
Last Modified:04 May 2012 12:18
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