Impact of the Turn Table Trust Working for Water Project on fuelwood supply and household income of the rural Bulwer community.
Naude, Dean Charles.
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In the context of the post-apartheid era and under the new Government of National Unity, the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was initiated in 1994. To assist in the realisation of the goals of this programme the macro-economic strategy, Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR), was implemented in 1996. It was within these frameworks that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) launched its Working for Water (WFW) programme in October 1995. This programme was based on three pillars, namely: enhancing water supply and water security; creating jobs, building communities and improving quality of life and; conserving ecological functioning and biological diversity. Since October 1995 the Working for Water Programme has created 42 059 jobs, 220 884 hectares have been cleared with follow-up clearing in 55 731 hectares as part of the programme strategy to enhance water supply. Investment has been made in 240 projects, with a budget of R365 147 259 as at 31 March 1998. The impact of the Turn Table Trust WFW Project, a sub-project of the Central Umkomaas WFW Project, was examined in terms of fuelwood supply and household income of three small rural communities, namely: Xosheyakhe, Intabamakhaba and Mkhohlwa, referred to in this dissertation as the Rural Bulwer community. The research was carried out by means of questionnaire interviews and a workshop held at the Pholela Tribal court. The results of this study indicate that the Bulwer community depend on four energy types, in order of importance; wood, paraffin, dung and electricity. Many of the households perceive that, since the Turn Table Trust WFW Project began in the area in November 1995, there is less wood available and trees which are used for fuelwood are being cleared. Certain areas have felt the impacts of the clearingprogramme. People who have access to electricity still rely on fuelwood as they can not afford to use electricity exclusively. Indigenous forests are important as a source of fuelwood and for the harvesting of medicinal plants. The indigenous forests could be put under severe stress if wattle becomes unavailable forfuelwood purposes. The impact of the Turn Table Trust WFW Project on the fuelwood supply of the Bulwer community is small at present, but likely to increase. Households that have members employed by the Project, rely on this income to cover most household expenses. These households struggle to survive if or when employment by the Turn Table Trust WFW Project is periodically terminated. The businesses in Bulwer have also come to rely on the income earned by those employed by the Project. The Working for Water programme has far reaching implications for a local community and its surrounds and these need to be taken into account when both beginning and, importantly, ending a project in an area.