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SDF Nodal Plan

It's not difficult to see the reasons for the failure of macro economic, consultant, committee, and project damagement driven Spatial Development "exercises". Management.

Lack of management, over-management, bad management, even /good/ management. The problem is - that was all there was... No committment. No personal stake... No entrepreneurial risks... But lots and lots of management at iniquitously disproportional rates to the bottom-end menial workers. And not just the fulltime management either, hell no. How do you think they managed to blow R85 million in five years and have nothing to show for it except a bad working model for future community based tourism developments, and a static website that the tourism industry - which it was supposed to promote - had to pay subscription fees to be listed in?! www.wildcoast.org.za

Too many chiefs and no indians. Like I said, committees, consultants and project damagers ate all the money. And managers. Even top management at the ground level could be nothing more than middle-management hopping to the tune of their benefactors or governmental masters.

The same thing is in danger of happening all over again - but this time they are targeting Coffee Bay and Hole in the Wall. It appears consultants from about 5 different areas of expertise are churning out a "nodal plan" for this area in less than 4 months... by end December 2007!

I need to revisit the reasons why I know that government intervention - after what the ANC did to the Transkei to defang the UDM - won't work here . . . but later...

They should have done away with the SD concept by now... because it's really tainted, and shows a dangerous lack of originality and contact with reality:

"Although underpinned by laudable social-development goals, the Wild Coast SDI has on the whole, failed to translate into practice (Kepe, 2000, 2001; CIETafrica, 2001; Ashley & Ntshona, 2002). Some of the key reasons given for its failure, as identified by Kepe (2000; 2001), was that: it sought fast-track, large-scale development and investment which was not entirely appropriate to an undeveloped, low-skilled and ecologically sensitive environment); it tried to skirt around the contentious, albeit critical, issue of land-holding and tenure reform; it made massive assumptions regarding ‘beneficiary communities’ without taking the time to understand local realities or competing agendas; there was a lack of sustained leadership driving the initiative in addition to weak inter-governmental cooperation; and it pursued a top-down technocratic approach without first taking the time to secure ‘buy-in’ from community, local, or provincial government authorities. Finally, Ashley and Ntshona (2002) maintain that the underlying assumptions of the WC SDI, were themselves, inherently flawed. The belief that a small amount of public sector spending would leverage in huge sums of private sector investment, and that the private sector would be willing to finance this infrastructural development, was a highly unrealistic expectation, in their opinion.

In essence, the Wild Coast SDI never made a meaningful contribution to improving the lives of the rural poor it was designed to benefit as it took a neoliberal, macro-econonomic approach to developing the Wild Coast, which failed to take sufficient cognisance of the complex environment and local communities into which it was being prescribed. Although it was conceived with a ‘sustainable development agenda’, for the reasons provided above, this did not translate into practice. In fact, Kepe, (2000; 2001: 78) believes that, it has in fact been more of a “disruption” to the lives of the people it was intended to benefit, by “raising expectations and failing to deliver”. (Colvin, 2004)

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