Since 1970 the Saldanha Bay region on the West Coast of the Western Cape Province has been high on South Africa’s national development agenda. The region has been struggling for years to meet the preconditions for economic take-off. In this analysis the Saldanha Bay region is positioned in the contexts of global competition among steel-producing countries, South Africa’s national development plan and the Greater Cape Town functional region. The aim is to explain the nature and extent of the relationship between a single secondary industry - ArcelorMittal Saldanha - and the economic development of the larger Saldanha region. Following a brief introduction and background to the Saldanha Bay region, the evolutionary economic geography (EEG) approach and the role of institutions in the development of regions are reviewed. Saldanha Steel (ArcelorMittal), the pioneer industrial firm, is analysed by using a mixed-method approached, where semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire survey are the main research instruments. The contribution of Saldanha Steel to regional development is explored.
Renewed interest is being shown in South Africa in the promotion of infrastructure for renewable energy (RE) to supplement the country’s current energy- generation capacity and to break loose from its dependency on an unsustainable fossil-fuel-based energy-provision system. The latter system not only has unfavourable consequences for the environment, but is managed by a state-owned institution which since 2008 has been incapable of providing reliable electricity. RE infrastructure - especially for the generation of solar and wind energy - is a relatively new feature in the South African landscape. This paper examines the spatial distribution of the newly commissioned infrastructures for wind and solar energy (operational and under construction) and the role they can play in the diversification of the rural economies of parts of the country’s Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. First, literature on evolutionary economic geography, path dependence and new path creation is reviewed. Second, the role of a single energy provider - embedded in a monopolistic energy policy -in inhibiting the transition from a mainly fossil-fuel-based energy-provision system to a multi-source (multi-owner) provision system is discussed. Third, the reasoning behind the siting of the infrastructures for solar and wind energy in three particular provinces is explained. Fourth, the possible roles these new infrastructures can play in the diversification of the rural economies where they occur are advanced. The paper concludes that solar- and wind-energy projects have the ability to transform the South African energy context and that these projects present some positive socio-economic impacts for rural economies in the three particular provinces. The paper also recommends that future research efforts should be aimed at the evolution of this socio-economic transformation by taking into account the pre-development context of the areas under study.
Since 2002 Kruger National Park (KNP) has subjected to a commercialisation strategy. Regarding income generation, SANParks (1) sees KNP as the goose that lays the golden eggs. As part of SANParks’ commercialisation strategy and in response to providing services that are efficient, predictable and calculable for a large number of tourists, SANParks has allowed well-known branded restaurants to be established in certain rest camps in KNP. This innovation has raised a range of different concerns and opinions among the public. This paper investigates the what and the where of casual dining experiences in KNP; describes how the catering services have evolved over the last 70 years; and evaluates current visitor perceptions of the introduction of franchised restaurants in the park. The main research instrument was a questionnaire survey. Survey findings confirmed that restaurant managers, park managers and visitors recognise franchised restaurants as positive contributors to the unique KNP experience. Park managers appraised the franchised restaurants as mechanisms for funding conservation.