Infrastructure Development and Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: Perceptions from Umzumbe Local Municipality, South Africa


  • Sabelo Reginald Buthelezi University of KwaZulu Natal
  • Oluwaseun Temitope Ojogiwa University of KwaZulu Natal, NRF/SARChI Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
  • Betty C. Mubangizi University of KwaZulu Natal, NRF/SARChI Chair in Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
  • Bongani Reginald Qwabe University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Management, IT & Governance



rural livelihoods, infrastructure development, socio-economic development, sustainable development


In many rural communities in South Africa, including Umzumbe Local Municipality (ULM) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the delivery of high-quality infrastructure for sustainable rural livelihoods has not yet been fully realised. Despite legislative changes on infrastructure improvement, rural residents are still overwhelmed with daunting challenges that have dire consequences for human and socio-economic development. This study sought to explore the existing infrastructure at ULM for the attainment of sustainable livelihoods. It examines the prominent contributing factors that obstruct infrastructural development for the attainment of optimal sustainable development. Data drawn from interviews were gathered for this explanatory qualitative case study from a targeted sample of 12 participants while 30 participants participated in the focus group. Secondary data was, however, collected from relevant literature and official documents and analysed thematically. Findings revealed that rural areas, such as the ULM are still enduring unsatisfactory infrastructural access, quality and reliability. The existing efforts to advance infrastructure improvement are seemingly unproductive as a result of several shortcomings including inept public management.


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