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 CMDA’s 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 CMDA’s 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 Manor’s economy with that of the broader metropolitan area.

Local Economic Development (LED)
The LED programme aims to lift the skills base and empower Cato Manor’s people to access economic opportunities, and to trigger investment through ‘ice-breaking’ projects that the private sector can replicate in future. All levels of economic activity are supported, from survivalist ‘backyard’ operators to the provision of industrial space to large-scale labour-intensive enterprises, creating a hierarchy of opportunities.

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

Business Parks
In an ambitious programme to provide a range of operational spaces for SMMEs and larger enterprises, three sites in Cato Manor have been identified for the erection of business and light industrial parks, for sale or lease to medium and larger companies. The anticipated outcomes are temporary and permanent job creation, on site and through outsourcing for goods and services, and income generation through sales and leases. A fund will be established to re-invest this income in social and economic projects.

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 Programme
The Entrepreneurial Support Centre (ESC), which became operational in the first quarter of 2002, aims to promote a culture of competitiveness and business acumen by providing tender advice information, business planning, access to financial institutions, administrative services, business management skills training and other forms of assistance. Its primary target is entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector with evident growth potential, but entrepreneurs from the service and retail sectors are also encouraged to use the ESC’s services.

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.

Economic Hives
Twenty containers converted to work units and 33 brick and mortar units are being developed on three sites to provide a suitable business environment for less-established entrepreneurs, where they can network, access new opportunities and develop their skills. These sites are seen as stepping stones to industrial workshops, incubator programmes and business parks. An upgrade of the Housing Support Centre in Wiggins to an Economic Hive will be completed by March 2003. Informal business units in Cato Crest’s Molver Road are to be formalised and an Economic Hive developed.

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.

Craft Project
The Umkhumbane Arts and Crafts Centre is a vibrant community project located on the upper floor of the former Ahmedia Islamic School on Bellair Road. Approximately 80 women have been trained in various craft skills and their products are sold nationally and internationally. Plans are being finalised for the transfer of ownership of the craft operation to a local co-operative, partly in response to keen interest from markets abroad. Local artists working in a range of media have benefited from the provision of studio space and marketing opportunities at the Centre.

Local Economic Development as at March 2002
Production Spaces/Units Complete
In development
Co-ops Started 16
Local Businesses Supported 220
Job Placements 1 515
Industrial/Commercial land development (net m2) 132 870 m2
Office/Retail/Service floor area developed Complete
In development
4 029 m2
1 089 m2

The Commercial Sector

Intuthuko Junction
Completed in March 2002, the R11 million Intuthuko Junction is a landmark of the new Cato Manor. The three-storey building’s anchor tenants are the CMDA and the KwaZulu-Natal Innovation Support Centre and the rest of the space is let to public service agencies, NGOs, professional firms and CBOs. On the ground floor is the Cato Manor Tourism Office and Umkhumbane Conference Centre, and an Internet Cafe and Coffee Bar.

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 CMDA’s 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 centre’s sustainability in the long-term.

Small Business Facilitation

Small Business Fair
For the last three years, Small Business Fairs have been held in Cato Manor to give local businesses metropolitan exposure and opportunities for networking with supporting agencies, banks and business advice centres. Workshops and forums at the fairs cover small business management and economic empowerment. An unplanned spin-off has been the emergence of a monthly flea market where community members and savings clubs are able to trade.

Small Business Loans
The Short-Term Guarantee Finance Programme, which works to improve access to working capital loans for small local contractors, was established in response to the reluctance demonstrated by financial institutions in the provision of loans. An initially low level of response to this initiative has been attributed to the existence of strong relationships between main contractors and local sub-contractors.

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 Manor’s 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 Manor’s tourism industry into the future.












Human resource development as at March 2002
Training completions People
Life Skills: Literacy/Numeracy 191
Home Ownership Education 4 500
Organisational Development 158
Economic Skills:
Pre-school Management 36
Pre-school Teachers 170
Industrial Skills 176
Co-operatives 893
Urban Agriculture 165
Business Management 230
Construction 197
Craft Production 40
Security Enterprises 10
Security Guards 200
Tour Guides 7
Radio Production 16

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 CMDA’s 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
This project, aimed at skilling emerging entrepreneurs to establish, operate and manage their business, has to date benefited 230 small business owners. Courses utilise material developed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and, as well as relevant marketing and management training, include an analysis of each entrepreneur’s business. The training is also extended to entrepreneurs currently occupying the Bellair Market, Bellair Centre, economic hives and container parks.

This programme, aimed at equipping emerging contractors with technical, business and sub-contracting skills has benefited 187 people. In addition, the contractors are linked to existing construction projects through appointment as labour-only sub-contractors, or as joint venture partners. For instance, most of the people employed on the Booth Road and Dunbar Road housing projects were ‘graduates’ of the Multi-Skilling programme.

Job Opportunities Bureau (JOB)
The JOB database records local small contractors and individuals seeking employment with some 5 000 names having been registered and over 1 347 successful placements both within Cato Manor and further afield.

Basic Economic Life Skills
This programme tackles the lack of economic literacy - knowledge about the basic economic aspects of modern living - that often impairs the ability to function adequately in the urban context. Topics include opening a bank account, buying food in an economical way or reading and paying bills. The programme aims at empowering 1 000 local residents.

The Home Ownership Education Project
This adult life skills project, designed to help first-time home owners deal with the challenges of home ownership, covers issues such as rates, services, maintenance and home extensions. It also attempts to raise community awareness around environmental, consumer and gender issues, and looks at the challenges of human settlements development. Facilitated by the Seliyabuya Co-operative, a team of trainers from Cato Manor, the project has benefited some 4 500 heads of households.

Savings Clubs and Co-operatives
An initiative to establish savings clubs and co-operatives arose out of the Home Ownership Education Project. Savings clubs are oriented towards economic development and accumulated funds are used for income generation. Existing savings clubs have been drawn into this poverty alleviation initiative and new clubs established. Clubs are assisted with organisational development, management and operation. Fifty savings clubs (also called ‘pre-co-operatives’) and five co-operatives (legal entities that operate as businesses) now pursue different ventures, including locally produced household detergents, fresh garden produce, cleaning, recycling, crafts and block making. Health and youth co-operatives are also emerging. Plans for the development of a community financial services organisation represent an innovative response to the apparent reluctance of the corporate financial services industry to engage with low income clients from Cato Manor.

Industrial Skills
In this two-phased programme unemployed residents have been provided with grants, bursaries or study loans to help them access recognised training programs and the CMDA has worked with employment agencies to link training to market and industry needs. The programme has trained and placed over 100 people in artisan, catering and other positions in industry and is also providing training to fulfil staff requirements at the new Albert Luthuli Hospital in Cato Manor.

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.

Urban Agriculture
Re-greening is an important community-based ecological intervention involving the issuing of a fruit tree and planting kit to all new home-owners. Urban Agriculture clubs, each consisting of 10 people are being trained to utilise steep open areas near housing projects to grow crops that will generate income whilst stabilising the ground.

Institutional Development
Development Committees (DEVCOs) exist in all areas of Cato Manor and form a key link between the CMDA, its development partners and the resident communities. The CMDA facilitates the structuring of these committees and assists in building their capacity through training and organisational skills development. The successful outcomes of many projects are attributable to the meaningful participation by the DEVCOs, and an array of CBOs, including a community safety structure which plays a role in the Cato Manor Policing Forum; a pre-school body responsible for running créches and pre-schools; and a labour forum responsible for facilitating the employment of residents on construction projects. The CMDA assists local committees with temporary office accommodation and furniture.

Sports Development
The CMDA has comtributed to the emergence of an energetic sporting culture in Cato Manor. A Sports Committee has identified obstacles to sports development, gauged community expectations and identified needs. School sports facilities have subsequently been made available to the community out of school hours and many teachers have been trained in sports coaching. The establishment of sports clubs and sports competitions has been invaluable in building a localised and competitive community spirit. The formation of local sports federations has given rise to the dissemination of skills from regional and national organisations into the Cato Manor community. A Sports Development Plan for Cato Manor is being developed and the formation of a Cato Manor Sports Federation is under discussion.

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 Manor’s 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 CMDA’s 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 people’s lives is quite evident.

Another important challenge is the continuation of social and economic development in Cato Manor after the CMDA closes down. The CMDA’s 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 ( 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 Manor’s 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.

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