Planning, power dynamics and conflict : the case study of various municipalities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The legitimation of planning as a mechanism providing rational societal guidance and coordination between the economic and social spheres, particularly for human settlements, became increasingly under challenge with the decline of the welfare state, a loss of faith in instrumental rationality and the rise of neo-liberal market (Gunder, 2010). Subsequently; the ideals of egalitarian society, as a vehicle of achieving political, social, and economic equality has arisen, and has found a niche within modern planning theory and practice. Contemporary planners have adopted a ‘collaborated planning’ approach; as the universal means of mediating all forms of conflict. This process can become complex as the generic texture of conflict is inconsistent, incoherent and often very difficult to define. This statement finds its credence within the South-African narrative, as the country has had a rich history of apartheid conflict. This conflict has fostered spatial, social and economic divides, which still remain to this day. ‘Conflict’ in South Africa is not only the focal point of Power struggles between different stakeholders of varying interests, but may be the manifestations of a historical more culturally engineered conflict. This study set out to examine the genetic make-up (composition) of conflict within various Municipal regions in post-apartheid KwaZulu-Natal. The main objective of the study was to determine which planning paradigm planners should utilize when considering the composition of conflict within developed and developing constituencies. To do this, the researcher conducted Focus groups and open ended interviews from 12 planners from various municipalities within the province of KwaZulu-Natal. From this, Case studies of both EThekwini Municipality, and Nongoma municipality were drawn up. What was concluded by the researcher was that conflict arises as a result of vastly different reasons within the municipal spatial configuration of South Africa, and that planners must recognise the composition or genetic make-up of conflict in order to attain the spatial agenda within the current post-apartheid dispensation.