Sustainability: a discourse for local economic growth post-Covid-19 in South Africa

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Robert Walter Dumisani Zondo


South Africa had a number of sustainable policy reforms pre-Covid-19, including the protection of rural producers, consumers and the markets.  However, the spread of Covid-19 / novel coronavirus at the beginning of 2020 was fast and dramatic. With an increase in death toll in various countries around the world resulting from different Covid-19 variants, its effect had tremendous impact on the general economy and local communities, most particularly in rural areas.  The economic effects were also exacerbated by emergency strategies like lockdowns by various countries around the world.


Strategies to turn the situation around in poverty-stricken local communities, but mostly the rural settings, post-Covid19, must be established.  This is due to the fact that the rural institutions in South Africa are viewed as having a potential role to play in rural poverty alleviation and sustainable development.  The enforcement of local institutions and capacity building as fundamental elements of strategies for rural poverty alleviation becomes necessary.  Local economic growth, as a poverty alleviation strategy, is a people-centred process and circumstance specific.  Common parameters for such growth include improved health facilities, infrastructure services, sanitation facilities and educational services.  Other than the above parameters for local and sustainable development, local communities have vast indigenous knowledge that can be used to facilitate sustainable development.  This knowledge is not fully utilised due to a lack of complementary institutions and facilities that enable people to improve productivity and sustainability.  It is essential for development practitioners and policy makers to facilitate the dissemination of this local knowledge to enable sharing amongst community members, rather than spend scarce resources in bringing in more new knowledge and information that will not benefit the local community for sustainable development.  

This study assesses the influence of sustainable development on local economic growth in South Africa.  It establishes the suitability of sustainable development as a strategy for local economic growth, post- Covid-19, for South Africa.


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