An analysis of stakeholder relations of three traditional authorities within the uMhlabuyalingana municipal area of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
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In pursuing good governance, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (IWP) needs to function more effectively, efficiently and economically, in order to be responsive to the socioeconomic conditions of people living both in and outside the park, and to be sustainable for future growth. The main intention of the study was to investigate a new stakeholder relations strategy for the three traditional councils located within the uMhlabuyalingana municipal area of the IWP. It was found that the existing stakeholder strategy was inadequate to ensure more effective and efficient stakeholder relations among the three traditional authorities. The deficiencies in good governance related to stakeholder relations may consequently impede the success of this important conservation area and World Heritage Site. In view of the various challenges facing the IWP, a number of changes to its stakeholder strategy need to be made to enable more responsive stakeholder relations. The study employed a predominantly qualitative approach in pursuit of the research objectives. Two primary data collection methods were used, namely a review of the relevant literature on stakeholder relations in the public sector as part of good governance principles globally followed by an analysis of the statutory requirements of public entities in South Africa; and the conducting of semi-structured interviews. In essence, the aim of the research was to help safeguard the IWP from future stakeholder engagement failures. Interests within and between stakeholder groups need to be balanced in order to ensure the viability of the IWP and to enable it to fulfil its mandate. The study concludes by advocating that the achievement of more responsive stakeholder relations at the IWP can only be achieved by developing a revised and comprehensive stakeholder strategy. Other recommendations include the adoption of people and parks structures with clear terms of reference through which formal stakeholder engagement can take place, while ensuring that the development of the north of the park is prioritised and outstanding land claims are dealt with. This can be achieved by the optimal utilisation of the available physical, human, information and financial resources in the IWP which will ensure that it reaches its objectives and maximises benefits for all its stakeholders.
- Humanities