Exploring effectiveness of disaster risk reduction strategies in rural municipalities: a case study of Ndwedwe Local Municipality.
Mkhwanazi, Nkanyiso Brighten.
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Local government is at the coalface of service delivery. One of their duties is to ensure the safety of its communities from risks that can occur at any time in their daily lives. Communities can be exposed to disaster risks that usually occur when they are least expected. Hence local municipalities should always be forearmed with effective disaster risk reduction strategies. It has always been found evident that almost all the municipalities do have these strategies in place, however, not much has been studied regarding the effectiveness of such strategies in the rural municipalities. This study will thus explore the effectiveness of disaster risk reduction strategies in rural municipalities using a case study of Ndwedwe Local Municipality. The theoretical framework of this study looks at the practices from a worldwide point of view that have been looked at in order to prepare, mitigate and most importantly to reduce the risk that disasters impose to the communities, but most importantly rural communities. The literature review delves into an insightful analysis of the models that are utilised in the other countries as well in South Africa but also takes a closer look as to which model can be most suitable for a rural municipality like Ndwedwe. The models that the study looks at are: - The Community-Wide Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (CVCA) Model, Community-Based Risk Reduction Model and South African Disaster Risk Assessment Model. The study then further looks at the status quo of the municipality in terms of its readiness to different forms of disaster that it periodically faces. The study further explores the existing strategies in juxtaposition to their implementation and feasibility in a rural municipality. And lastly recommends the model that it can employ in order to render its disaster risk reduction strategies effective. This study employed a qualitative research design. There were 10 semi-structured interviews that were conducted as well as four focus group discussions. The participants comprised of both the administrative senior management employees as well as the political leadership of the municipality. The focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with the ward committee members from 4 Wards in order to get the feelings of the community members on different aspects of the research study. The face-to-face interviews which were subsequently transcribed and key themes were developed, analysed and interpreted. Secondary data was employed in this study was extracted from relevant journal articles, websites and books. The findings of this study blatantly show that rural municipalities are vulnerable to the disaster risks because of the lack of resources, both financial and human. They also show that the municipality needs to use a "bottom-up‟ approach by involving the communities in the identification of risks as well as the implementation of the municipal proposed strategies. Findings also show that rural municipalities need to undertake disaster risk assessments in order to allocate the resources accordingly. Most of all, the implementation of the strategies needs to have its own budget allocation, hence political buy-in and senior management willingness are also pivotal.