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The Ezinqoleni Municipality is not different to the most others in the country suffering from poverty, unemployment and inadequate economic growth to provide a quality of life to all. In terms of the spatial profile the Municipality displays a single space economy mainly a largely impoverished rural with huge commercial farms (sugar and gum tree) and large numbers of subsistence farmers. The area is predominantly rural, and is surrounded by the vicious circle of poverty, with a large number of people working in farms for minimal wages.
The Municipality has identified through LUMS, SDF and LED strategy that Ezinqoleni area has growth potential in areas of tourism, agriculture and manufacturing (beneficiation). In addition to this, there is also retail, trade and services potential. The SDF distinguishes between Primary Nodes, Secondary Nodes, and intermediate Settlements. The administrative and main economic centre is Izingolweni itself.
Poverty has been recognised to be the root cause to some in the area, driving and sustaining a number of social challenges/concerns/problems. HIV and AIDS and unemployment are largely a driver/perpetuator of poverty, which are the results of HIV and AIDS on Youth, grants, education, social cohesion, etc; they need to be factored into development thinking and service provision. In certain cases this calls for a mind-shift in terms of what, where and the way in which services are provided and maintained. NGOs are very active here, and their work should be recognized and supported.
Migration of resourceful people from Ezinqoleni to areas perceived having a developed economy and a number of opportunities i.e. Hibiscus coast and Durban has left the quality of life of Ezinqoleni people generally unchanged.
The tourism market requires further research. This needs to focus on the prospects of diversification in terms of offering and the current market, the possibility and wish of attracting more of the same market, new markets, accessibility and demand for offerings, etc. Business tourism needs to be explored. Sport tourism (proposed complex) too. Golf also a strong attractor.
The purpose of this socio-economic analysis is to give an extensive synopsis of the municipal area in terms of its physical, demographic, social and economic characteristics. This information is therefore aimed at contributing to informed planning and decision making both internally and externally.
Analysis is a fundamental element of all planning processes. In terms of development planning, the range of disciplines analysed is reflected by the following definition of development planning as described in the DBSA Guidelines to District Analysis: "A participatory process to integrate economic, sectoral, spatial, social, institutional, environmental and fiscal strategies in order to support the optimal allocation of scarce resources between sectors and geographical areas and across the population, in a manner that provides sustainable growth, equity and the empowerment of the poor and marginalised."
The success of development planning therefore depends on the quality of analysis of all the elements contributing to development within the municipality and beyond. For the purpose of this document attention is primarily focused on four dimensions/Clusters of information, namely:
> Labour and employment,
> Economic structure and performance, and
> Infrastructure or access to services.
Socioeconomic information is obviously not confined to these dimensions one can always extend the analysis to include additional scope of information.