Repository logo

The impact of policy on perceived livelihood vulnerability: the case of Cato Manor.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This dissertation describes the outcome of a sustainable livelihoods approach to assess the livelihood vulnerability of community structures in Cato Manor (an urban renewal project of Durban City, KwaZulu-Natal). The sustainable livelihoods approach used looked at the specifics of the nature of assets wealth, and how the poor made a living. The vulnerability of poor households and communities depends on the way the poor have combined available assets and capabilities within a particular context to achieve short and long term priorities. Amongst other contextual issues of developing countries, structural adjustment has affected urban survival strategies. This study explored whether the impact of post-apartheid policy had reduced livelihood vulnerability for members of ten community structures in Cato Manor (CM). The investigation was broken down into two sub-problems. Sub-problem one was to establish what impact post-apartheid policy outcomes had on livelihood strategies in Cato Manor. Sub-problem two set out to ascertain whether the livelihood strategies described by participants in Cato Manor reflect reduced livelihood vulnerability. A unique feature of this study was an agreement between community based facilitators from Cato Manor (Cato Manor Development Association (CMDA) team) and the researcher for the development of two research agendas. The CMDA team, comprised of five community facilitators from the Seliyabuya Housing Co-operative and a Cato Manor Development Association consultant, conducted sustainable livelihoods analyses as the first stage of strategic planning for community structures. A secondary case study analysis of livelihood vulnerabilities was carried out by the researcher using the secondary data from these sustainable livelihoods analyses. Ten of the thirty five community structures (29%) identified by the CMDA team as possible participants elected to participate in the sustainable livelihoods analyses. Members of these structures formed ten groups based on the focus of their structure goals. Each focus group conducted a sustainable livelihoods analysis that reflected the assets, strategies for livelihoods and constraints that affected structures' priorities. Each participant was also asked to complete a household survey questionnaire providing demographic data for the case study. The findings of this study showed a tension between government's structural adjustment goals and the realities of actual delivery. The development goals provided for an urban space with the physical structures for livelihood security and sustainability. The study identified that development has provided a significant accumulation of physical assets through infrastructure delivery. However, perceptions of the participants indicated that development has not provided sufficient economic opportunities; adequate housing; or educational, social and recreational facilities for desired livelihood outcomes. In addition, participants believed manufacturing and business growth dependent on the successful marketing of products was in direct conflict with the actual physical restrictions of the topography, housing density goals and conceptualisation of the economic opportunities existing in Cato Manor. Participants relied on survivalist strategies of micro-enterprises (such as informal trading), and reliance on collective community support as available rational options for survival. Livelihood vulnerabilities indicated by the study were: overcrowding of homes, both in formal and informal areas; national economic trends resulting in job shedding by the formal sectors; and the slow beginnings of local economic development. In addition, there would be the threat to this community of the unknown impact of or capacity for the eThekweni Municipality's continuing the development required in Cato Manor after closure of the Cato Manor Development Association; and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the human, economic and social capital. This study showed increasing vulnerability for households and community structures represented by the sample in terms of physical capital, financial capital, and human capital. This vulnerability was particularly characterised at community level by the perception of increased dependency on cash amidst a corresponding reduction in available cash. It has been recommended that a creative institutional response, using clearly defined roles and responsibilities, collaborate with the community to define and make use of entry points for the transfer of skills and Local Economic Development support for the creation of employment opportunities. In addition, it was recommended that local government make full use of their knowledge of the livelihoods activities, and human capital in Cato Manor to facilitate the speedy delivery of appropriate infrastructure and economic support in a manner that supports the sustainability of municipal management as well as increases the livelihood options of the poor. To complement this study, further research requires an ongoing evaluation of the impact of local government and the community's responses; and an exploration of how democratic citizenship can be developed through the facilitation of grass-roots collective organisational strategies.


Thesis (M.Agric.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2005.


Cato Manor (Durban, South Africa)--Social conditions., Cato Manor (Durban, South Africa)--Economic conditions., Urban renewal--Cato Manor (Durban, South Africa), Households--Cato Manor (Durban, South Africa), Theses--Food security.