From policy to implementation : a case study of sustainable resource use policy in Enkumane, Mkomazi Valley, KwaZulu-Natal.
Land degradation is a national concern that needs to be redressed and prevented by the government and its agencies as it has a significant impact on agricultural productivity and food security. The National Department of Agriculture is in the process of reforming the sustainable resource use policy to deal with the causes of land degradation and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, particularly in poverty stricken areas. Prior to 1994, this policy was only applied in areas where commercial agriculture was practised. The researcher has explored the struggles encountered during the implementation of the sustainable resource use policy through a case study approach within the Enkumane region of KwaZulu-Natal. The research followed a cross-sectional approach drawing from methods such as typology techniques, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, which were employed at various stages in the policy process, from the levels of policy-makers to the intended beneficiaries. A literature review emphasized the importance of applying integrated and participatory approaches in implementing a public policy. The results highlighted significant differences of opinion concerning the implementation of the sustainable resource use policy within and between the different stages of the process from policy to implementation. This was partly attributed to the inadequacy in terms of clear roles, direction and guidelines, and also in terms of the institutionalisation of experience, knowledge and skills. It was recommended that a more co-ordinated and integrated effort is required to reform the policy. This calls for the establishment of mechanisms to ensure that people at all stages in the policy process are involved in a participatory manner, towards the continual improvement of the sustainable resource use policy. The significance of this study is twofold, firstly the financial burden of ineffective policies is unacceptable to our society. Secondly, the research has a potential to enhance the policy to implementation process, which may provide a platform for improving the sustainable resource use policy.