The role of local government in income generating poverty alleviation projects in the Amahlathi Municipality.
The early industrialization and subsequent emergence of migrant labor system in South Africa disrupted conventional economic methods and social cohesion of society, particularly in the former rural homeland areas. Insufficient economic resources in villages pushed people to search for work in the urban areas. On the other hand, abundance of employment opportunities in the urban areas pulled people to venture into the cities. Apartheid control of out-migration from the rural areas added to this complexity. The system encouraged male migrants and placed restrictions on the migration of women to towns (Banks 2001:18). These conditions led to a host of social and economic problems that perpetuated poverty in rural areas. The coming to power of the African National Congress in 1994 has not significantly changed !hese dynamics. Two major problems emerged III rural areas. Traditional agriculture and livestock productions were replaced by heavy dependence of rural households on migrant remittances, which were often unreliable. Secondly, the migration of men forced rural women to develop their own strategies for income earning in order to support their families. In facing the challenges many women organized themselves into groups and made use of the available resources to establish income-generating projects (lGPs). Income generating projects are initiatives to generate income and employment in order to deal with the scourge of poverty. However, the projects are often too small to generate any meaningful income, particularly when viewed in relation to the time and effort invested on them. According to Muchena (1987:44), the projects are often within the realms ofwomen's traditional roles of sewing, knitting and baking. This study focuses on these projects. While IGPs sprung up as ways to alleviate poverty, there are questions as to their effectiveness. Mayoux (1989:1) states that, IGPs have not been economically viable, they have had serious problems and they have not achieved their aims. Despite this, women have continued to initiate and engage in such projects. Furthermore, men have also participated though to a lesser extent.