Geography and Environmental Studies

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    Investigating the socio-economic development impact of African migrant informal enterprises in Mandeni municipality, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
    (University of Zululand, 2022-09-13) Gumede, Nondumiso Fortunate
    This study investigates the socio-economic development impact of African migrant informal enterprises in Mandeni Local Municipality. Its objectives are to (a) analyse the factors influencing the growth of African migrant informal enterprises in Mandeni Local Municipality, (b) examine the nature and operations of African migrant informal enterprises in Mandeni Local Municipality, (c) evaluate the socio-economic development impacts, in terms of employment creation, poverty reduction, supply of goods and revenue generation of African migrants’ informal enterprises in the study area, and (d) explore South African citizens’ perception of African migrant informal enterprises in the Mandeni Local Municipality. To achieve this, the study utilised a qualitative approach in terms of the use of semi-structured interviews to collect data from research participants who included African migrant informal enterprise owners, the local community members, municipality officials, and community leaders. The study discovered that the majority of the African migrant informal enterprises have settled in this sector as a means of survival. The African migrants opted to start their informal enterprises as a result of a lack of employment. This study showed that African migrant informal enterprises contribute to the socio-economic development in Mandeni. However, the contribution they make is not widely recognised. They may not have a large-scale impact like formal businesses, but the jobs that they create in the local town help alleviate poverty, and such a contribution should not be underestimated. Another finding of the study is that African migrants outperform their local competitors. Therefore, the study recommends that it would be beneficial to establish a relationship between African migrants and local informal entrepreneurs so that they can share knowledge on how to sustain their businesses. In addition, African migrant informal entrepreneurs and local informal entrepreneurs could collaborate through the African migrants mentoring of local informal entrepreneurs. This would help to strengthen the bond between the African migrants and local informal entrepreneurs. Finally, the Mandeni municipality can organize business seminars and invite both the African migrant informal entrepreneurs and local informal entrepreneurs and this would create a positive interaction between African migrants and local informal entrepreneurs. In the long run, this interaction will contribute to the reduction of xenophobia by promoting tolerance toward African migrants, while at the same time assisting attempts to make African migrants a part of the municipality and not to be regarded or seen as a threat. This study contributes to the discipline of Geography by illuminating the socio-economic development impact of the African migrant informal enterprises in a small town like Mandeni municipality. Thus, the novelty, therefore, is that this study helps to show that migration is not always occurring in big urban cities, but that smaller towns like Mandeni are also destinations of choice. While this did not disprove, that cities like Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg are the major attractions, it adds that smaller towns also have an influence and thus deserve appropriate attention in migration studies in the context of Human Geography.
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    Characterisation of exposure and biological effects of contaminant of emerging concerns in Thukela and Mhlathuze River systems
    (2022-04) Nsibande, Lungelo Rejoice
    Rivers, estuaries, and oceans are exposed to a cocktail of pollutants, including contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). This study aimed to examine the extent of contamination and/or pollution of selected contaminants of emerging concern in the uMhlathuze and uThukela River-estuaries, following the source-to-sea approach. Microplastics, organic pollutants, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) and metals were analysed in surface water samples, and accumulation of metals and biomarker response (acetylcholinesterase enzyme) were examined in the mud crabs Chiromantes eulimene. Thirty-eight organic compounds were detected in surface water samples from the uMhlathuze River-Estuary, which belonged to 14 classes of pharmaceuticals and lifestyle drugs, and 20 compounds were found in the uThukela River-Estuary, belonging to 13 therapeutic compound classes. The differences in detection frequency of compounds illustrated differences in pollution sources and consumption rates, due to differing land-use activities and disease burdens. Pesticides were also found in surface water samples, with a total of 13 herbicides, insecticides and fungicides in the uMhlathuze and 14 in the uThukela Estuary. Herbicides were the dominant pesticide class in both systems. The presence of pesticides was linked to agricultural activities in both catchments. Microplastic concentrations decreased towards the sea, and wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) did not appear to be a major source. Microplastics were detected in all surface water samples and were composed of fibres and films. Fibres were numerically dominant. Poly(propylene) (PP), polycarbonate (PC), nylons (NY), low density poly(ethylene) (LDPE), high-density poly(ethylene) (HDPE), poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PETE), poly (ethylene vinyl acetate) + poly (cyclohexanone) (EVA + poly(cyclohexanone)), poly (butyl acrylate) (PBA) were the dominant plastic polymers found in the uMhlathuze River-Estuary. In uThukela River-Estuary, PETE, NY, PP, PBA and low-density poly(ethylene) (LDPE) were dominant polymers. Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) such as titanium dioxide (TiO2), silicon dioxide (SiO2), zinc oxide (ZnO), iron oxide (Fe2O3) and copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles were also recovered from surface water samples. ENMs were irregular, sheet-like, spherical or hexagonal in morphology. The ENMs were possibly from the use of various domestic xvii nano-enabled products, for example, products manufactured for bathing, laundry washing and personal care products. The concentrations of zinc (Zn), chromium (Cr), aluminium (Al), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu) and lead (Pb) detected in the studied systems exceeded the DWAF threshold values for freshwater and marine environments. High metal concentrations could be attributed to various industrial and agricultural activities dominating within these systems. Metals also accumulated in crabs, and accumulation varied between seasons. Chromium, Ni and Fe accumulation was also gender specific, with accumulation in females generally higher than in males in the uThukela Estuary. The effluent from domestic use, industries and other related activities are probable sources of metal contamination in these regions. Overall, AChE activity in the gills of C. eulimene was reduced in both systems, which was a negative effect deduced to be caused by contaminants. In conclusion, this study confirmed the occurrence of CECs in surface water samples, and contaminants such as metals were observed to bioaccumulate in crabs
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    Characterization of bioflocculant produced by Proteus mirabilis PJC12 isolated from Tendele coal mine wastewater and its application.
    (University of Zululand, 2021) Luthuli, Sinothile N
    Flocculation has been widely used as one of the most effective methods for removal of suspended particles in water or wastewater treatment. Synthetic flocculants are conventionally used because of their high flocculating activity, low-cost production and availability. However, synthetic flocculants have been reported to have negative impacts on the environment and have caused some serious health problems including neurotoxicity and cancer-genic to humans. Consequently, bioflocculants appear to be an alternative to synthetic flocculants because bioflocculant are eco-friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic and able to function at a low dosage. In the current study, the potential for bioflocculant production of bacterial isolates recovered from Tendele coal mine wastewater (Kwa-Somkhele) in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) was evaluated. The isolates were screened for bioflocculant production using kaolin clay suspension (0.4% w/v). The isolate with the best flocculating activity was selected for the study. In the nutrient ager plate, the colony appeared as round and cream white in colour. The isolate was identified by 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) as Proteus genus. The analysis of 16S rRNA nucleotide sequence of the bacterium showed 99% similarity to Proteus mirabilis PJC12 with accession number MK 802115.1. The optimisation of nutrients and culture conditions were examined and revealed that optimum inoculum size was 1% (w/v) for maximum bioflocculant production by P. mirabilis PJC12. Fructose as carbon source and organic nitrogen source (yeast extract) was the most favoured for the bioflocculant production. The optimal initial pH of production medium was 6. Optimum temperature was 30oC and the shaking speed of 140 rpm was optimum. At x 72 hrs of incubation period under optimal culture conditions, 2,7 g of pure bioflocculant was recovered from 1 L of bioflocculant production medium of P. mirabilis PJC12. Chemical characterisation of pure bioflocculant was done. Elemental analysis of pure bioflocculant by scanning electron scanning (SEM) showed the morphological images and the presence of the elements C, O, N, Na, Mg, Al, P, S, Cl, K and Ca in the percentage of 17.61%, 45.27%, 0.44%, 4.62%, 0,47%, 14,99%, 0,77%, 1.10%, 1.46% and 13.24% respectively. Functional groups were examined using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometry and revealed the presence of hydroxyl group, carbonyl group, carboxyl and amide functional group. Optimization of parameters of pure bioflocculant for application plays a critical role on the maximum performance of the pure bioflocculant and these parameters including dosage size, cations, pH and thermo stability were examined. Upon optimization, the optimum dosage size of the pure bioflocculant was 0.6 g/mL with flocculating activity of 89%. The bioflocculant performed best in the presence of BaCl2 (cation) with flocculating activity of 94%. The bioflocculant was stable at a wide pH range 3 -12 with the highest flocculating activity of 96% at pH 7. The bioflocculant produced by P. mirabilis PJC12 revealed to be thermostable capable of retaining more than of 70% flocculating activity at 100oC after 30 min of exposure. The bioflocculant showed some good removal efficiency when applied in wastewater for treatment with removal efficiencies of 94% (COD), 97% (BOD), 78%(Ca), 60%(P), and 90%(P) in Vulindlela wastewater.
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    Statistical analysis and prediction of climate impacts on sugarcane yield in Southeastern Africa
    (University of Zululand, 2020) Mbhamali, Thulebona Wellington
    Sugarcane production is chiefly influenced by climate, but there are also farming operations that diminish the sugarcane yield. The study concentrated on discovering the statistical relationship between the climate and subsequent sugarcane yield by statistical analysis of monthly and annual data averaged over the area 31-23°S and 28-33°E in the period from 1970-2016 with respect to FAO data and 1988-2010 for SASA data. R procedures were employed to derive statistical associations between sugarcane yield and climate variables and indices. Time series analysis was performed, including Mann-Kendall tests for trend detection, Pearson correlation and MLR for exploring the statistical links between yield and climate parameters. Moreover, the spatio-temporal correlations and regressions were performed between the sugarcane yield index and relevant local crop drivers such as rainfall and temperature, and the global sea surface temperatures and winds through online tools. The results demonstrated a downward trend in sugarcane yield over SE Africa as signalled by 𝑧 ≈ −4 for FAO time series and 𝑧 ≈ −2 for SASA yield data at 95% level. Time series analysis showed high influence of local climate indices such as PDSI (e.g 𝑟 ≈ +0.7) with global sugarcane yield, and the value increased to 𝑟 ≈ +0.80 locally (e.g in South Coast region). A positive correlation for rainfall (𝑟 > +0.5) and negative for temperature (𝑟 < −0.5) conditions in the preceding December to May with the harvested sugarcane yield in the spatial analysis was observed. Hence, it is understood that high temperatures induced by offshore air flow and low pressure tend to suppress sugarcane yield, and correspond with rainfall below 1000 mm/yr. The surface air temperature is by far the most important indicator of sugarcane yield in ESwatini while PDSI explains most of the yield variation in South Africa. The findings show that climate influences on sugarcane yield cover 40-80% of variance, and that the decline and variability of sugarcane production has distinct climatic factors. Meridional wind flow over the western Indian Ocean and anticyclonic circulation in the Mozambique Channel manifest themselves as key climatic features for sugarcane production over SE Africa. Recommendations for ways to mitigate and adapt to climate variability are vi given to benefit the sugar industry in southeastern Africa. In addition, a statistical model to predict sugarcane yield over the study area was developed through MLR algorithms extracted from large-scale climate drivers.
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    Investigating the impact of Phinda Private Game Reserve on the livelihoods of the community of Mnqobokazi, KwaZulu-Natal
    (University of Zululand, 2019) Xulu, Simphiwe Lindinkosi Ricardo Gcina
    South Africa has witnessed an increase in the development of policies and investments into the conservation of natural resources as well as improving the livelihoods of people, particularly in the rural areas adjacent to Protected Areas. However, the history of unequal and discriminatory land ownership in the country and the establishment of Protected Areas has been one of the main challenges. Most of the Protected Areas were established on land that was forcefully taken away from black communities during the colonial and apartheid era. The dependence of rural communities on natural resources such as land makes it even hard to manage Protected Areas. Against this backdrop, this study investigates the impact of Phinda Private Game Reserve on the livelihoods of the rural community of Mnqobokazi. A mixed method approach was deployed to collect and analyse data from the respondents in the study. Findings suggest that, although there are some positive impacts, Phinda Private Game Reserve has, in the main negatively affected the livelihoods of the rural community of Mnqobokazi. The results also show that there is a general lack of flow of information amongst the stakeholders, which puts the community in disadvantage and favours the elite. Based on this, it is recommended that there must be improvements made to the involvement of the community in decision-making, benefits sharing and the flow of information to the community.
University of Zululand