The regional services council debacle in Durban c. 1984-1989.
This research project explores the restructuring of local government in the Durban Metropolitan Area (DMA) and, in particular, the delay in the implementation of Regional Services Councils (RSCs) in this region. During the late 1980's, both as an ongoing process of implementing apartheid and in response to various crises, the South African state has reformulated and restructured legislation and policies which have a regional dimension. The reform and restructuring of local and regional government have emerged as some of the central components of this strategy. The development which has changed the face of local government most obviously in recent years has been the introduction of RSCs. These bodies have been established in all the major metropolitan regions in South Africa, except Durban. While the Durban area was expected to host South Africa's first operational RSC, a protracted stalemate has developed over the implementation of these bodies. Informed by a theoretical conceptualisation of the research problem, which was found to lie at the interface of the concepts of local government restructuring and questions on the nature of the region, and the direct and indirect methods of investigation and data gathering, the study documents and seeks to explain the RSC impasse in the region. The practical import and significance of the conclusions reached from this study extend beyond the explanation of the RSC debacle in Durban . They offer insights into the power and influence that locality-based structures can wield in defining and redefining concepts of the metropolitan region. In addition, they enhance an understanding of the Natal/KwaZulu region, its proclaimed 'specificity', and the way in which this specificity has impacted on political developments here.