Labour-based rural road maintenance for poverty alleviation : a case study of the Zibambele programme in Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal.
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This research is an evaluation of labour-based methods and techniques that are used in rural road construction and maintenance. The study places emphasis on the Zibambele rural road maintenance programme in Umbumbulu, which is based on a lengthmen (male or female) system. The research is an attempt to determine how strategies such as Zibambele can be used for the social and economic upliftment of impoverished rural areas as well as contribute to adequate road access for rural communities to address the legacy of apartheid, with special reference to the empowerment of women-headed households. Rural road networks in South Africa are underdeveloped and characterised by its poor state, lack of maintenance and lack of provision, thereby having little impact on the lives of the rural poor Black population. It is evident in the study that development and maintenance of physical infrastructure are keys to rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. The study examined the impacts of labour-based rural road maintenance on accessibility and poverty alleviation in the Umbumbulu community through the use of quantitative methods (specifically a questionnaire survey) and qualitative methods (specifically focus group discussions, ranking exercises, mental mapping and venn/ chapatti diagrams). The_findings of the study indicated that the Zibambele poverty alleviation and rural road maintenance programme impacted positively on the livelihoods of many women-headed households by providing an income, facilitating skills development, and improving their social environment. It was also determined that through the introduction of new programmes such as Zibambele, the transport infrastructure within a community and the quality of life immediately improves, thus alleviating many affects of poverty