Co-Managing the Commons in the ' New' South Africa: Room for Manoeuvre?
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Co-managing the commons within the new governance structures of South Africa has the potential to promote participatory democracy and improve natural resource management. Inequitable access to and use of natural resources characterised apartheid-era policies and practices. In line with post-1990 democratisation processes, public involvement, participation, community-based initiatives and co-management have been promoted as key aspects of natural resource management policies. Power sharing, empowerment, organisational capacity building and improved natural resource management are some of the key principles of co-management within the South African context. This paper will explore the applicability of the co-management concept to the enhancement of rural livelihoods in South Africa with specific reference to the conservation sector, and coastal and marine resources policy and implementation processes. Comanagement initiatives in the fisheries and conservation sectors in South Africa have failed to incorporate many co-management principles, such as joint decision-making and benefit distribution. Instead, co-management has been transformed from a community-based management approach to a more top-down, corporatist approach....
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