Community development through the Bridge City project in the INK Area.
Ngongoma, Clara Nomathemba.
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Development has been used interchangeably amid transformation, of the underdeveloped Third World countries, denoting a shift to meet the standards of the developed First world countries. According to authors, meaningful development requires meaningful involvement of the people being developed. According to the democratic government policies in South Africa, in order to address the needs of the community, the community being developed should be engaged from the planning stages to the implementation stages of the development in order to fully address their needs and to ensure the sustainability of the project. This is supported by literature as stated by Paul (1987) that Involvement of communities in project planning and implementation could become more efficient because of timely beneficiary inputs. The more local people are involved in development projects, the more sustainable the projects will be as the community owns and understands them better. The following study was conducted in order to establish the extent of the involvement of the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) townships community in the Bridge City Project and how they benefit from the project. It looked at the role played by the INK inhabitants and how that fed into the sustainability of the project to sustain people’s lives. A qualitative research methodology was followed in this research project. To gather the needed data, questionnaires were used in conjunction with interviews. The general community, Bridge City employees, INK officials and a councillor were interviewed. The study findings indicated that the local INK people were not well informed about the developments in the Bridge City Project. Qualitative data collected indicates that the community felt that they were not given a chance to be involved in a more meaningful way. Some members were not satisfied about the level of their involvement therefore the issue of ownership of the project by the local community still has to be addressed. Nonetheless, respondents agreed that the project brought back hope and life to them and their future generations. The integrated design of the project addresses most of their needs including: poverty, crime, unemployment, health, education, transport and other necessities. There was an indication that the project would, after completion, provide all the necessary services while addressing the issue of poverty and hopefully, inequalities. The sustainability of this project relies more on the level of involvement of the community. Future research should look at whether the community has ultimately been more involved in a meaningful way and whether they have been allowed to be investors in the development projects in order to make them proper participants.