Using key informant interviews and a detailed household survey, this study compares Bela-Bela and Bjatladi Communal Property Associations (CPAs) across six categories of indicators known to facilitate sustainable collective action in natural resources management: 1. Resource system characteristics, 2. Resource users characteristics, 3. Relationship between characteristics of the resource system and resource users, 4. Institutional arrangements, 5. Relationship between resource system and institutional arrangements, and 6. External environment. The study was implemented in response to conflicting outcomes observed in South Africa s on-going national land reform programme. Bjatladi and Bela-Bela CPAs were purposely selected to reflect outcomes of relative failure and success observed in collective action in land reform projects.
In response to indicator 1, the study established that Bela-Bela CPA performed relatively better than Bjatladi in terms of resource size and predictability of benefits. Bela-Bela CPA has a smaller resource (seven farms measuring between 40 and 4 500ha), while Bjatladi CPA has a large single farm measuring 5 973 ha. Bela-Bela CPA guarantees monthly food packages for its beneficiaries and permanent employment for its employees, while Bjatladi CPA offers beneficiaries income amounting to less than R1 000 every other year and temporary employment for its employees.
In response to indicator 2, Bela-Bela CPA performed relatively better than Bjatladi in terms of size and clarity of resource user group boundaries, appropriate leadership, homogeneity of member interests in sustainable resource management, exit options and levels of poverty. Bela-Bela CPA resource user group is smaller (242 members) relative to Bjatladi (1 200 members). The per cent change in group size due to undefined rules of entry and exit was lower in Bela-Bela CPA (0%) compared to Bjatladi (263%). The percentages of CPA leaders with tertiary level education (Bela-Bela CPA= 45%, Bjatladi CPA= 10%, U=56.500, p=0.011), professional work experience (Bela-Bela=64%, Bjatladi CPA= 10%, U=53.000, p=0.001) and presence of a traditional figure in leadership (Bela-Bela CPA=chief present, Bjatladi CPA= none) were higher in Bela-Bela compared to Bjatladi. The percentage of members preferring projects with long-term rather than short-term benefits was higher in Bela-Bela compared to Bjatladi CPA (Bela-Bela CPA=71%, Bjatladi CPA=13%, ?2 =20.708, p=0.000). Bela-Bela CPA members had fewer exit options (percentage of CPA members living with another employed household member Bela-Bela =33%, Bjatladi =52%, ?2=2.190, p=0.139) and lower levels of poverty compared to Bjatladi CPA members (per cent poor Bela-Bela CPA= 64% and Bjatladi CPA=84%, ?2 =3.355, p=0.067).
In response to indicator 3, Bela-Bela CPA performed relatively better than Bjatladi CPA in terms of resource users levels of dependence on the resources and perception of fairness in benefit-sharing. There was a higher per cent of members from Bela-Bela CPA (82%) compared to Bjatladi CPA (52%) who depended on CPA benefits to cover more than half of monthly household expenses (?2 =5.909, p=0.015) and a higher per cent of members from Bela-Bela CPA (79%) compared to Bjatladi CPA (35%) who thought benefit sharing was very fair (U=283.000, p=0.001).
In response to indicators 4 and 5, there was no difference in the simplicity of rules, accountability of monitors or in matching harvest restrictions to regeneration capacity of the resource across the two CPAs but there was higher level of autonomy in decision making in Bela-Bela compared to Bjatladi CPA. Finally, in response to indicator 6, Bela-Bela performed relatively better than Bjatladi CPA in terms of giving appropriate levels of external aid to compensate local users for conservation activities, and presence of nested levels of organisation. The financial grant given per member in 2003 was higher in Bela-Bela CPA (R90 000) compared to Bjatladi (R5 000). In Bela-Bela there was a clear organisational structure that was divided by enterprise, while in Bjatladi CPA there was no clear organisational structure or division of organisational structure by enterprise.
Following these findings, the study concluded that success of collective action in resources management was favoured by small size of resource, high predictability of benefit flows, small size of resource user groups, well-defined group boundaries, appropriate leadership, homogeneity of interests in sustainable management of resources, fewer exit options, low levels of poverty and high levels of dependence on the resource, high perceptions of fairness in benefit allocation, high levels of autonomy in decision making, appropriate levels of external aid to compensate conservation activities and nested levels of organisation. In order to clearly see the linkages and interrelationships between the different variables and the magnitude of their influence on collective action outcomes, the study recommended that further comparative research be conducted on a larger sample of CPAs.
Dissertation (MSc Agric)--University of Pretoria, 2016.