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An exploration of rural communities' and government response strategies to drought in South Africa : the case of Msinga villages in KwaZulu-Natal province.

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This thesis seeks to explore and examine the application and use of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in the management of drought through a case study of Msinga village communities in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal Province, paying specific attention to droughts that have been recorded and that prevail in the area. Government's policy aimed at mitigating and the effect of drought on communities and its effectiveness is examined as well. The question is whether government policy measures supplement rural communities' drought management strategies. The findings demonstrated that droughts are endemic in the study area and that drought-management strategies are as intrinsic to local livelihood systems as are seasonal-adjustment strategies. The findings also indicated that communities in Msinga have knowledge of drought management. However, this knowledge contributes very little to the management of drought. The findings also demonstrated that there is poor capacity in government to deal with disasters and this has serious repercussions for poor rural communities in Msinga. Disaster management requires disaster reduction, planning, and capacity to reduce the losses borne by impoverished households. This process will be more effective if there is efficient mobilization of resources, rapid responses, and a long-term strategy to prevent drought and reduce the risks of vulnerable groups, rather than transferring risks. The new legislation, the Disaster Management Act of 2002, should ensure that any form of financial and bureaucratic bottlenecks are eliminated so that assistance reaches people more quickly and is based on developing a long-term programme targeting the reduction of risks from the drought prevailing in Msinga. It is also important that NGOs in the area are empowered and involved in disaster management and are able to play their full role.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.


Droughts--KwaZulu-Natal., Ethnoscience--KwaZulu-Natal., Drought relief--KwaZulu-Natal., Drought relief--Law and legislation--KwaZulu-Natal., Droughts--Social aspects--KwaZulu-Natal., Droughts--Economic aspects--KwaZulu-Natal., Droughts--Government policy--KwaZulu-Natal., Theses--Social work.