Geography and Environmental Studies

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    Investigating the socio-economic impacts of and community perceptions towards lightning storms and lightning fatalities in uMkhanyakude District Municipality
    (2022) Mthethwa, Nokuphila
    Over the years there have been more and more reports of lightning fatalities in South Africa, with the uMkhanyakude District Municipality being affected the most. Therefore, this study investigates the socio-economic impacts of lightning in selected areas in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality. The specific objectives of the study are to; (a) map the fatal lightning strike hot spots in the study area; (b) assess the socio economic and cultural impacts of lightning strikes in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality; (c) explore the perceptions of the community in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality towards lightning strikes; (d) analyse the community’s response to the lightning strikes in the study area and (e) evaluate the response of the government towards the fatal lightning strikes in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality. To achieve these objectives, this study followed a qualitative research methodology in the form of qualitative interviews with municipal officials and the rural communities’ members in 5 local municipalities in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality. The data was analysed by following strategies of qualitative data analysis. The findings show that lightning has several socio-economic impacts and that people lack adequate and accurate information regarding lightning. The study recommends sustained knowledge dissemination to rural communities about lightning and how it can be prevented.
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    Assessing the socio-economic impacts of rural-urban migration on KwaNokweja, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
    (2022) Lunika, Buhle Adorable
    This study aims to assess the socio-economic impacts of rural-urban migration in KwaNokweja, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The specific objectives of the study are to (a) analyse the causes of rural-urban migration in KwaNokweja, (b) assess the socio-economic impacts of rural-urban migration with a focus on poverty, agricultural production, and education in KwaNokweja and the implication of the COVID-19 pandemic on these, (c) explore the perception of residents in KwaNokweja towards rural-urban migration, and (d) evaluate the local municipality’s responses to the consequences of rural-urban migration in KwaNokweja. A mixed research methodology was adopted to address these objectives. In the qualitative part of the study, interviews were conducted with the relevant authorities including traditional authorities, municipal officers, and the ward councillor. For the quantitative dimension of the study, questionnaires were administered to community members from KwaNokweja. A thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data whereas SPSS was used to analyse quantitative data and generate descriptive statistics. The findings of this study confirm that migration is a complex and dynamic phenomenon that is influenced by a multitude of factors. In terms of the socio economic development impacts, it was found that migration has positive impacts in terms of remittances which enhanced the livelihoods of people in KwaNokweja. The study found that households which received remittances were able to afford to spend more on food, household needs, and education and had more assets than their non receiving counterparts. This implies that migration plays a significant role in enhancing food security and reducing poverty in KwaNokweja. As a result, most of the participants in this study noted that they were in support of migration to urban areas because it improves their socio-economic livelihoods. Most people in KwaNokweja view migration as a route out of poverty, and a positive livelihood strategy. However, some people expressed that they discourage the migration of people from KwaNokweja to urban areas due to several factors including among others, negative experiences, the abandonment of elders and belongings, and the transfer of skills to enhance the development of urban areas at the expense of rural areas. As a result, Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality has devised several strategies aimed at promoting rural development and discouraging the migration of communities from the municipal’s jurisdiction to urban areas. Based on these findings, this study recommends that the xii focus should be on job creation and encouraging entrepreneurship through agriculture, skills development training and investments in small businesses. This will not only decrease dependence on remittances, but it will encourage people to generate their own income, disincentivize migration, promote job creation, attract investments, and enhance local economic development.
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    Analysing the impact of and response to the 2019 tornado in Harry Gwala District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    (2022) Methula, Nozuko
    This study aims to analyse the impact of and response to the 2019 tornado disaster in Harry Gwala District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. To achieve this aim, this research utilized mixed research methods to collect and analyse data. Questionnaires were used to collect data from households while structured interviews were used to gather information from municipal officials. Data was analysed through SPSS and a thematic approach. The findings show that in terms of the occurrence and distribution of tornado disasters in Harry Gwala District Municipality between 1989 and 2019, the most affected municipalities were NDZ and UMzimkhulu. Regarding the socio-economic impacts of the 2019 tornado in the study area, it was discovered that the uMzimkhulu and uBuhlebezwe municipalities had the most adversely affected households because of mud building material used by many households in these municipalities. In terms of coping strategies, the research found that people have no awareness regarding their respective disaster management offices, hence their immediate response was to call their councillors. Concerning the government response, there was a collaboration between all relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The relief provided to households included food parcels and blankets, however, road and network infrastructure were reported to be a challenge, delaying this provision. The results on community perceptions indicate that a large proportion of respondents believed that the tornado was caused by iNkanyamba while others believed that it was caused by God’s anger, only a few understood that it was a result of climatological conditions. This research suggests the disaster management centre should invest in research on these incidences so that they are well documented and understood. It is also suggested that housing development should also be implemented in rural areas and there is a need for continuous community workshops to educate people on natural disasters and effective response strategies.
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    Analysing the impact of Covid-19 on the livelihoods of communities adjacent to Protected Areas: Machibini community and Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
    (2022) Mkhize, Mawande
    This study aims to analyse how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the livelihoods of the Machibini community adjacent to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HIP). Its objectives are to a) analyse the livelihood activities of the Machibini community before the Covid-19 pandemic, b) evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on the livelihood activities of the Machibini community, c) evaluate the local community’s access to resources found within the HIP during the pandemic, d) explore the coping strategies utilised by the community members to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 and, e) propose strategies which can be implemented to assist rural communities to respond to disasters. To achieve this a qualitative research methodology was used in which the community members, the traditional authority of the Machibini community as well as the HIP park official were interviewed. The findings show that the Machibini community engage in various livelihoods. While some livelihoods require resources from the HIP, others do not. The pandemic affected the livelihoods of the respondents in different measures. Some respondents lost their only income-generating schemes, while others managed to maintain their livelihoods. The results also show that the respondents were granted access to the park to extract the resources they needed although the harvesting period was cut short during the pandemic. To cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, some respondents engaged in entirely new livelihoods such as selling chickens and fast foods. Based on these findings, the study recommends that the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HIP) and the traditional authority must work together to establish a system that will ensure that information about the availability of employment opportunities in the park is disseminated to every part of this community. In this way, everyone has a fair chance of getting employment. It is also imperative for the park to make their employees' contracts permanent. The Machibini community also needs life skills programmes and other necessary facilities that will foster their livelihoods. The community members, through the assistance of the park, can open an online store that is featured on the HIP’s website since there is a larger audience there to sell their handicrafts to. This way, even if the people’s crafts are not sold physically due to disruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic, they will be available and sold on this online platform.
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    Assessing coping strategies of female street traders during COVID-19 in the City of UMhlathuze, Kwa-Zulu Natal
    (2022) Sithole, Makhosazane Nokwanda Amingoh
    The informal economy is an essential part of the Global South. Over the years it has provided an opportunity for many to become essential economic and social actors, a majority of these being women. Street traders are susceptible to, among others, socio economic shocks, crime, and income irregularity. This means in the case of a disturbance to normal operations; street traders must adapt to ensure that they retain their livelihoods. Against this backdrop, this study assesses the coping strategies of female street traders during the COVID-19 pandemic in the City of UMhlathuze, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The specific objectives of the study are to, a) analyse street trading operations of female informal economic operators in the City of UMhlathuze, b) examine the capital, infrastructural and political challenges experienced by female street traders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of UMhlathuze, c) analyse the coping strategies used by female street traders during the COVID-19 pandemic in the City of UMhlathuze, and d) assess the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on female street traders in the study area. This research uses Feminist Marxism and Feminist Intersectionality as the theoretical lenses to critically analyse the coping strategies of FSTs in the City of UMhlathuze during the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of methodology, the study employed a qualitative approach with 43 purposively sampled Female Street Traders (FSTs) interviewed at KwaDlangezwa, Empangeni CBD, and Alkantstrand Beach. The study found that in the City of UMhlathuze the nature of street trading operations for FSTs includes trading in second-hand clothes, cooked food, fruit, and vegetables. The findings of this study also show that within the City of UMhlathuze, FSTs faced capital, operational and political challenges which impacted their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges included increased procurement prices, inadequate infrastructure, and the lack of street trading permits. In response to these challenges, FSTs had to modify their operations by becoming mobile, altering the nature of their trade or in some instances working together. This study proposes that FSTs should form networks that can be beneficial to them in times of crisis. The research also recommends that government departments should consider the needs of FSTs in disaster management so that future policies and responses do not marginalize FSTs.
University of Zululand