Rural development, institutional change and livelihoods in the Eastern Cape, South Africa: a case study of Mdudwa Village | Land Portal

Informations sur la ressource

Date of publication: 
janvier 2003
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
eldis:A14738

This paper looks at the case of Mdudwa village in the Eastern Cape to explore the processes and impacts of democratic decentralisation. Through an examination of contests over land, forest and water resources, the paper looks at the emerging power dynamics between new elected authorities at municipal and council level and traditional authorities (chiefs and headmen), and raises questions about the efficacy and long term sustainability of decentralisation reforms as currently conceived.Main conclusions include:the ongoing process of decentralisation, coupled with major policy developments in land and water sectors, is altering the mechanisms through which rural people gain access to key assets and servicesthe difficulty of establishing a new system of local elected local government in the rural areas has been greatly exacerbated by the presence of tribal authorities, which continue to operate in much the same way as they did in the pre democratic eraboth traditional leaders and elected local representatives are frustrated at the lack of clarity regarding the functions of their respective institutions and the lack of guidance being provided by national governmentlocal level government decision making is highly dependent on higher level bodiesCouncillors can create a valuable and direct link between local government and the communities they servethe links between the current decentralisation process, the management of natural resources and the livelihoods of the rural poor are extremely complex and often unclear. the ability of people directly affected by such development to positively influence the process appears to be limitedthe failure by the state to deal decisively with the question of traditional leaders and tribal authorities creates an ongoing dilemma for these institutionsdespite the changing political landscape, and the loss of certain powers and privileges, it is likely that the system of village governance, based on village assemblies, and currently dominated by traditional leaders and tribal authorities, will survive in one form or another for a long time to come[Adapted from author]

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Z. Ntshona
E. Lahiff

Publisher(s): 

Fournisseur de données

eldis (ELDIS)

Eldis is an online information service providing free access to relevant, up-to-date and diverse research on international development issues. The database includes over 40,000 summaries and provides free links to full-text research and policy documents from over 8,000 publishers. Each document is selected by members of our editorial team.


Concentration géographique

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