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Challenges facing rural development in Ubuhlebezwe Municipality, South Africa.

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2018

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Abstract

This study focuses on the challenges facing rural development in the Ubuhlebezwe Municipality. The introduction of rural development was the first progressive step taken by the South African government to address socioeconomic development problems and challenges faced by rural people in South Africa. The majority of people living in rural areas in South Africa live below the poverty line including youth, children, women and the elderly. Rural development thus involves helping the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the benefits of development. Rural development is defined as the improvement of the spatial and socioeconomic environment of rural space, which leads to the enhancement of the individual’s ability to care for and sustain his/her well-being. The main aim of this study was to determine the challenges facing rural development in the Ubuhlebezwe Municipality. A qualitative research approach was utilised for this study, with purposive sampling being used. Interviews were conducted with 15 respondents. Data were collected by means of face-to-face interviews, before being thematically analysed to interpret the findings. The findings revealed that Ubuhlebezwe Municipality faces numerous challenges, including a lack of resources to improve service delivery to the community; skills shortages; inadequate revenues; insufficiency of financial resources; low agriculture production; a high unemployment rate; a funding shortfall from government; weak intergovernmental relations with the district, provincial and national government; and poor engagements with, and involvement of stakeholders in municipal rural development programmes. The key recommendation of the study is that various stakeholders should provide support to the municipality to help them develop their capacity to manage rural development programmes and projects. The study makes recommendations on options the municipality could consider to improve service delivery, as well as options for future research. Creating job opportunities across the agricultural sector will improve economic growth, promote infrastructure development and enhance service delivery.

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Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

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