The Sustainability of Poverty Alleviation Projects within the Nkonkobe Municipal Region

Author: Qupe, Leo Mziwonke
Supervisor: Professor Pieter Steyn
Date: September 2008

Sustainable poverty alleviation has become top priority within all spheres of government. Various programmes have been launched to reduce poverty; however, most of these initiatives are not sustainable. This research seeks to investigate reasons for this situation with a view to propose remedial action that will contribute to the sustainability of poverty alleviation projects.

This study will be conducted within the Nkonkobe Municipal region, a poverty stricken area with a very low human development index. Poverty is identified as a major concern as the unemployment rate stands at 82% with 85% of the employed earning less than R1 500.00 per month and 15% without any form of income. Industrial activity is limited to agribusiness: citrus, beef production and two small-scale agri-processing plants in Alice and Balfour. From one perspective the commercial sector is on the decline with a number of national retail outlets having closed down. From another perspective the region commands immense agriculture and tourism potential, this is yet to be exploited.

There is consensus that properly structured and supported poverty alleviation initiatives can facilitate poverty alleviation within this area. However, there are several strategic conditions that need to be addressed which include the following: institutional strengthening and capacity building, integrated management and policy approaches; establishing legal and regulatory frameworks, encouraging partnerships, enhancing coordination and cooperation; and practical application of good governance principles. The researcher investigated to what extent these conditions are taken into consideration during project design stages.

The following served as key research objectives for the research:

  • Determination of challenges confronting poverty alleviation projects within the Nkonkobe Municipal Region.
  • Scrutinizing current funding models, support systems and resources allocated to poverty alleviation projects.
  • Determination of coordination and integration among all stakeholders.
  • Determination of tangent planes between poverty alleviation projects
  • Determination of existence of the requirements for the feasibility of sustainable development strategies.

This was a qualitative research project with action research serving as research method. Both primary and secondary research methods were employed as none of the two methods can, on its own, provided adequate data for the purposes of this research. Appropriate secondary resources were used to highlight the research problem and a questionnaire was administered to collect primary data on service experience and perceptions of the beneficiaries of poverty alleviation projects.

The research question which focused the crux of this research reads as follows:

What remedial action/s can be deployed within the Nkonkobe Municipal Region to enhance the sustainability of poverty alleviation projects?

The study resulted in a series of recommendations that would be presented to the Nkonkobe Local Municipality for the sustainability of their poverty alleviation projects through or by means of a coordinated multi-disciplinary approach.