The impact of migration on rural development : a case study of EMabhuqwini in Nkandla.
This dissertation concentrates on the subject of migration from the less researched angle of the rural areas losing migrants. This dissertation is premised upon the hypothesis that emigration of skilled people stifles development in rural areas and this in turn leads to the lack of development. The lack of development causes emigration. I am arguing that this vicious cycle must be broken down through leadership committed to achieving development goals and through personal sacrifices of skilled people remaining in rural areas. Therefore, this dissertation seeks to establish the impact that migration has on rural development. It looks at the case of eMabhuqwini as the study’s focal point. There are two arguments that are advanced by the thesis: (1) Migration negatively impacts on development in the area of eMabhuqwini. The more able‐bodied, skilled and capable people emigrate, the higher the likelihood that the area they leave will stay underdeveloped. This is because people who have the capacity to drive development in the area will have left. At the same time, if the area is underdeveloped, people are likely to leave it and seek greener pastures – especially in terms of better living conditions and employment opportunities – elsewhere, particularly in more developed urban areas. (2) Political infighting between political parties appears to be the main cause of the slow (if any) pace of service delivery and development in the area. This is so because of growing political intolerance among political parties in South Africa. This political intolerance is also characterised by an unwillingness to accept political defeat. As such, this process has dictated the terms of and speed of service delivery as there is little will on the part of political leaders to spearhead development in an area governed by the opposition. I further provide a comprehensive conceptual framework on migration theory, a detailed presentation of the case study area, a three‐pronged empirical study consisting of interviews with thirty‐two households, household in‐depth survey (6 respondents) as well as three focus groups. Quantitatively, 32 respondents answered a semi‐structured research questionnaire. Six of the same people were also requested to respond to an open‐ended research schedule that sought to gain answers to open‐ended questions. The questions themselves were divided into two sections, a closed‐ended part as well as an open‐ended part. Quantitative questionnaires were analysed using the SPSS computer program, while the others were analysed thematically. In terms of conclusions and recommendations, it was observed that the two arguments were confirmed: that migration does have a negative impact on development; and that, to minimise this impact, or to reverse the process, an intensive effort must be put into encouraging the government, together with traditional and local leadership, to deliver services to the people so as to develop the area and minimise the impact of migration.