Race and participation in coastal governance : the case of the eThekwini golden mile competency group.
Zondo, Mdoda Davidson.
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In recent years, there has been a heightened global interest in coastal governance and management. The focus has been on development of policies, administrative regulations and on expert analysis to address coastal management issues. However, in South Africa, a plethora of literature indicates that these approaches have proven insufficient in promoting sustainable coastal development and management. This is because coastal governance is an inherently political endeavour that is best approached through the creation of meaningful opportunities for participation and the establishment of partnerships that include government, civil society, scientific or professional communities and local communities. The recognition of the importance of participation has led to a major shift towards participatory coastal governance. This global coastal governance and management blueprint which emphasizes the importance of meaningful participation was adopted by the democratic South African government in formulating environmental and coastal governance legislation. However, because of the deliberate expulsion of Blacks by the apartheid government from coastal areas and their subsequent historical exclusion from coastal governance issues this study hypothesizes that participatory coastal governance legislation alone is not sufficient to achieve meaningful and inclusive participation of all racial groups. The essence of this argument is that in exploring participation in coastal governance in South Africa there is a need to address structural challenges that are faced by Black people based on apartheid induced alienation from coastal issues and areas. Using conceptual tools from critical race studies and environmental justice, this study conducted semi structured interviews with knowledge-holders that were part of the Global Change Grand Challenge and Global Change (GCGC) study which focused on coastal governance. The major findings indicate that previously disadvantaged Black Africans experience structural challenges when participating in coastal governance issues. However, I am optimistic that this research can have a significant role in ushering a discourse that will contextualize participation in coastal governance in South Africa that is focused on addressing structural hindrances faced by previously disadvantaged groups in order to achieve meaningful participation.