ACCEDE’s Catalytic Activist Research Support

ACCEDE’s focus on inclusive development is centered on ethnographic and action-research that explores the detail of community participation and provides information and linkage support to activist organisations, including facilitating workshop dialogue.

This close collaboration with activist organisations and unions aims to understand the interface between local political economic dynamics, workers’ rights issues and how these link broader global development debates and narratives.

Currently, the activist research linkages are focused on the local and global political economy dynamics in eThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Musina Makhado.

In eThekwini, the linkages between the Durban Port and Dube Trade Port are explored through liaising with under and unemployed communities in and around the ports, triangulating these findings with research and fieldtrips within the Dube Zone itself and in liaison with the Transnet officials around the transport and containerization linkages between the two Ports. The key local community organisation is the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, SDCEA (in collaboration with Groundwork).

SDCEA has assisted in hosting a community dialogue with 46 members of the communities of poorer areas in Durban affected by the lack of employment creation in the two ports. ACCEDE Researchers also attended a municipal/community debate on air pollution in South Durban and the systemic environmental effects of the refineries and factories in the area that produce significant and badly monitored levels of air pollution (SDCEA and Groundwork meeting with City Health Centre Officials: Pollution Control and Risk Management 23 May 2019). A further SDCEA community organization-based seminar will be held in conjunction with Groundwork to discuss fieldwork findings in relation to the Durban and Dube Ports and Just Transition/Sustainable Development debates and National Policy commitments in October 2019.

In Limpopo province project fieldwork with Macua/Wamua and Action Aid will establish local political economic dimensions and community perceptions of the proposed Musina-Makhado SEZ. Because it is the largest projected injection of infrastructural/industrial (predominantly Chinese) FDI and the most ambitious of the SEZs, the Musina-Makhado Zone is worthy of far more attention than currently. In policy terms it represents the most significant foreign contribution to ‘inclusive’ development made in FOCAC, and will serve as a useful case study for illustrating the effects of large-scale Chinese investment aid in the form of loans to South Africa. The Musina-Makhado SEZ impact on both the local development and the South African political economy in geo-strategic terms will be significant over the next decade.

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