Strategies to promote Local Economic Development (LED) and support the local community have been initiated in partnership with an array of private, NGO and community partners. These initiatives, part of the CMDAs integrated development approach, take place in the context of an enabling environment that has evolved alongside the delivery of infrastructure and housing, and are essential for effective LED programmes. The CMDAs strategy covers three primary areas: human capacity development, economic opportunities and institutional capacity development. The CMDA plays an active, catalytic role in formal economic projects and in initiatives intended to boost the human capacity needed to support micro and small-scale enterprises (SMMEs). These programmes address the issues of poverty eradication and the need to integrate Cato Manors economy with that of the broader metropolitan area.
Local Economic Development (LED)
A dominant emphasis has been to address issues raised by local businesses, such as the need for operating and trading space, access to affordable finance and relevant skills training. The envisaged outcome is the creation of a vibrant and self-sustaining entrepreneurial framework that will lead to further economic and employment opportunities.
The Retail Sector
The Bellair Centre (retail) and the Bellair Market (informal traders) together provide premises for a broad spectrum of economic activities. The Bellair Centre accommodates up to 45 small to medium-sized trading units and has empowered many emerging entrepreneurs to enter the formal retail market. A range of retail shops and medical services are based in the Centre.
The Bellair Informal Market is designed to accommodate the full range of traders, from single to relatively well-established. Trading space was allocated to manufacturers, services providers and retailers, with the highest priority given to people relocated from the northern end of Bellair Road as a result of the upgrade of this road. The Market can accommodate 65 traders undercover, 26 individual stalls and 28 pavement traders. After hours, the Market hall is let out for events like weddings or public meetings.
Petrol stations will soon be established on a number of designated sites.
The Manufacturing Sector
The three sites are adjacent to residential areas and zoning that anticipates the needs of surrounding businesses has been implemented to attract them to the parks. Meanwhile, local entrepreneurs in the security and cleaning industries are being trained to provide these services on the construction sites and at the completed parks.
Entrepreneurial Support Centre and Incubator
Based at Intuthuko Junction, the ESC also acts as a small business incubator, providing accommodation and focused resources to accelerate business growth. New premises are to be established at Booth Central Business Park, comprising 2 800 m2 of floor space for small-scale and light industrial activities.
A unique facility management model is being piloted at the Cato Crest Container Park. Under the umbrella of the Cato Crest Development Co-operative, local entrepreneurs are operating the facility as its virtual owners, renting out space, generating revenue and maintaining and managing the facility. The CMDA monitors these activities and facilitates the provision of technical assistance to the Co-operative. Tenants at the park began their manufacturing activities in December 2001.
The Commercial Sector
Intuthuko Junction represents a significant milestone in the development of a busy Central Node around the intersection of two city movement routes along Francois, Bellair and Cato Manor Roads and Booth Road East, and reflects the CMDAs confidence in the future of the area. By April 2002, the 2 100m2 of available office space at the commercially run centre had been fully let and expansion by a further 50% had begun. Rental income will assure the centres sustainability in the long-term.
Small Business Facilitation
Small Business Fair
Small Business Loans
A second component of the Small Business Loans initiative is the proposed establishment of local community-based financial institutions, such as community banks.
Legacy and Tourism Project
A rapidly escalating interest in Cato Manor as a tourist destination has generated new business opportunities for local people, especially in the production of crafts and the promotion of Cato Manors unique culture, heritage and history. Seen as a microcosm of the destructive effects of apartheid, followed by exemplary post-apartheid renewal, Cato Manor has a symbolic value that, combined with its colourful contemporary culture, is attractive to both local and foreign tourists. A joint venture with the eThekwini Municipality and the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority has made significant headway over the past two years in developing the local tourism industry. Based at the Cato Manor Visitor Centre situated on the ground floor of Intuthuko Junction, the tourism initiative comprises a Community Tourism Office, Conference Centre, Internet Cafe and Coffee Bar.
The Visitor Centre is now one of the main stops along the Cato Manor tourist route, which winds its way through the informal settlements and development areas and past historical sites, temples and mosques. Tour guide training and other tourism-related initiatives are being developed, supported by print and electronic media marketing materials. A Cato Manor Tourism Business Association representing all local tourism stakeholders is planned as a precursor to a legally constituted tourism entity that will take Cato Manors tourism industry into the future.
Economic Skills Development
The building of human and institutional capacity underpins the effectiveness of every facet of delivery in Cato Manor. Community development is an essential component of the CMDAs integrated development plan and an expression of its commitment to sustainability. Over the past five years the CMDA has implemented a variety of training and skills development programmes to help local people access new economic opportunities, gain employment and start new businesses. Interventions to strengthen existing community organisations and to train people in basic life skills for urban living also form part of this programme.
Basic Business Management
Job Opportunities Bureau (JOB)
Basic Economic Life Skills
The Home Ownership Education Project
Savings Clubs and Co-operatives
All training programmes are accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). In addition, initial networking with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAS) has taken place. Ultimately, learnerships will be introduced into training programmes. Learnerships involve the participation of students in structured learning and practical experience in order to gain a recognised qualification.
Challenges: LED and Community Development
Private sector involvement in Cato Manor through corporate social investment and similar initiatives must be accelerated. Private businesses, including the financial services industry, have much to gain from participating in Cato Manors revival and must be encouraged to do so. Within Cato Manor, local businesses need to expand their markets into the wider metropolitan area and job seekers need to access opportunities in other parts of the EMA.
The CMDAs LED programme has been characterised by high levels of community involvement, but despite the success of the training schemes and SMME development programmes, a very high proportion of local traders remain in the survivalist category, falling well below conventional criteria for SMMEs. Obstacles confronted on a daily basis included the absence of transport to access materials and supplies, losses due to crime, difficulties in reaching a wider market and narrow local markets as a result of increasing unemployment. The general lack of technical and business skills is exacerbated by low levels of literacy which hamper participation in training programmes.
Projects designed to directly address these difficulties will require dedicated focus, constant evaluation and innovative long-term solutions. The desired outcomes are the elimination of poverty, the empowerment of productive individuals and the integration of marginalised people into the economy and life of Durban.
The social fabric in many parts of Cato Manor remains fragmented and economic hardship is linked to family dysfunction, low levels of collective self-esteem, violence against women and children and the spread of HIV/AIDS. The challenge is to tackle these problems head-on through a co-ordinated effort by a committed, multi-disciplinary team. However, despite the severity of these challenges, a significant proportion of the participants in the training programmes are now economically active and the positive impact of these initiatives on peoples lives is quite evident.
Another important challenge is the continuation of social and economic development in Cato Manor after the CMDA closes down. The CMDAs vision is that, with insufficient capacity and skills presently existing at local government level, a quasi-autonomous special purpose development vehicle is needed to co-operate with local government in the implementation of an integrated social and economic development programme in Cato Manor. (See The Way Forward on page 21.)
Ensuring community buy-in of every aspect of the development process has been a major challenge for the CMDP. Communication has simultaneously taken place on two fronts: the public of Durban on the one side, and the communities of Cato Manor on the other. Public information aimed at the populace of Durban and at interested persons and organisations further afield has been mirrored by a community information programme aimed at engendering a spirit of inclusivity and community involvement. Key media developed by the CMDP include IZWI, the Cato Manor community newspaper, Siyaya FM, the Cato Manor community radio station, and the CMDP website. The CMDP is also represented in a wide range of publications and journals.
The wide spectrum of visitors to the CMDA website (www.cmda.org.za) demonstrates extensive interest in the project, both from within South Africa and internationally.
IZWI, meaning The Voice, is written and compiled by a Cato Manor-based journalist and published monthly. It has been successful in raising awareness and promoting greater understanding of development issues among Cato Manor communities and residents of neighbouring suburbs. It has also proved to be an invaluable vehicle for the provision of strategic information and for understanding perceptions amongst recipient communities of important project developments. Copies are distributed door-to-door throughout Cato Manor and surrounding neighbourhoods by a team of local people. The publication is also mailed to key role players in the KwaZulu-Natal region as well as to national and international stakeholders. The 50th edition of IZWI was published in the first quarter of 2002 when circulation figures topped 17 000.
Cato Manors first community radio station, Siyaya FM, run by community members trained in radio production, went on air for the first time on July 4, 2001. Beginning with a one-hour per week pre-recorded programme and increasing to two hours per week, in October 2002, a one-month licence was granted by ICASA to Siyaya fm on 96.8 FM to broadcast 24 hours per day. This marked an important step forward in the growth and long-term viability of the station.