Tribal authorities and co-management of river systems : a case study of Salem community.
Common-pool resources are goods that are kept from potential users only at a cost. These goods are subtractible in consumption and can diminish or disappear. Our failure to manage or exclude noncontributing beneficiaries in river resources could lead to lack of maintenance or protection of these resources. Critical to access to and use of river resources are tenurial rights. Without a stake in the tenure and governance of river resources, local communities could consume river resources opportunistically. It is on this background that in order to attain the better management of river resources, this study has explored tenurial rights as . critical in the realization of this objective. It is imperative that all relevant stakeholders play a role. Critical in this role are the institutional instruments. In alluding to the need to better manage our river resources, the South African government, through the Department of Water AffairS. ~dForestry (DWAF), has passed the Water Act. This act is tasked with ensuring th~t c)~ water resources are conserved so as to serve the present and the future generations. However, the success of this law, as various researchers indicate, rests on a co-operative approach involving all role players, particularly at local level. It is only whenco-IIlanagement of river resources is put in place that we can be in a position to use our resources sustainably for the benefit of the present and the future generations. Central in this approach, in rural areas, are Amakhosi . and other traditional institutions which command power. In order to test this 'hypothesis, this study was conducted in Salem, a peri-urban area where the power and authority of Amakhosi is, at least, not as strong as in deep rural areas. While the power of these institutions has waned over decades, this study has found a need to include Amakhosi in decision-making on river resource use because of their long-standing authority over communities living alongside rivers. Despite the decline in the power of Amakhosi in enforcing control measures in the management of river resources,a myriad of responses indicate that this institution still possess authority in the control and management of river resources in the Salem area. However, this study has further established that a co-operative system entailing all relevant stakeholders could enhance, and indeed bring about a sustainable management of river resources.