Exploring the role of community trusts in development within the Mkhwanazi Traditional Authority.
Zungu, Wilson Sipho.
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The focus of this study was on the community of kwaMkhwanazi Traditional Council (MTC). This traditional community’s livelihood depends largely on commercial agriculture with some portions of land demarcated for subsistence farming. The main agricultural activities in the area include sugar cane plantations, commercial forestry plantations and livestock farming with notable mineral sand mining operations especially along the coastal zone. The main aim of this study was to investigate and assess the impact of the Mkhwanazi Traditional Council’s Trust in supporting the community through development in areas of infrastructure, economic development and education. This study was undertaken by pursuing the following operational objectives: determining the extent to which the community is aware of the Trust and its benefits to the Mkhwanazi community; assessing the community’s perceptions of the Trust as a vehicle for service delivery; examining the experiences of trustees regarding challenges they face and prospects of the Trust serving the Mkhwanazi community; and evaluating the usefulness of key stakeholders in supporting the Mkhwanazi Community Development Trust. The study applied qualitative research methodology and data were collected through interviews. The research collected data from various stakeholders in the Mkhwanazi Traditional Council. These stakeholders were Richards Bay Minerals, the community members, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and individuals from the Mhlathuze Municipality. The majority of respondents felt that the community does not benefit from the Trust. Some respondents went so far as to highlight expected characteristics of functional trusts. On the other hand, some respondents made positive remarks about the benefits that the communities derive from the Trust. Important among the benefits is the award of bursaries to learners from the community. Although concerns were raised about community’s limited knowledge of the application process, and of the help available to promote entrepreneurship, such as by forming co-operatives for sewing and farming which can be funded by the Trust, the study still concluded that the Traditional Community Development Trust has a significant role to play in accelerating the sustainable service delivery of the community’s basic needs.