South Africa's spatial development initiatives : the case of the Lubombo SDI and the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park.
Zaloumis, Andrew Phillip.
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A varied literature has emerged assessing the history and principles of the SDI programme and its individual initiatives. Within the literature, a widespread critique has developed that views the SDIs as falling short in two crucial areas. First, the SDIs have, in general, had limited developmental impacts . Second, many of the initiatives failed to develop adequate institutional responses to the specific conditions they faced in their various localities. The study describes the Lubombo SDI and its anchor project, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. It argues that the Lubombo SDI, from the outset, took institutions seriously with a long view of development. It did not seek to deliver large-scale investment in a short period. Rather, it focused on shifting the development fundamentals - including key aspects of the Lubombo region's institutional arrangements - and concentrating its resources on facilitating a major project capable of pulling the various agencies with a stake in the region's development onto a common platform. This concentration of effort, and the creation of a dedicated authority with a clear statutory mandate to promote development and conservation, has brought advances to an area where development was effectively blocked for many years. But the dynamic nature of the institutional environment remains a key challenge affecting the GSLWP and the execution of the Authority's mandate. The ability of the Authority to continue mediating the multiple tensions and complexities affecting the GSLWP will be crucial if the agenda first set by the Lubombo is to be carried forward in the coming years.