Challenges Facing a Community Structure to Implement CBNRM in the Eastern Cape, South Africa


  • Michelle Cocks
  • Anthony Dold
  • Isla Grundy


In most developing countries, community based natural resource management (CBNRM) initiatives have been adopted in an attempt to address the issue of environmental sustainability. This has largely come about due to an increasing recognition of the ineffectiveness of the state to achieve such sustainability. Within the South African context, recent policies have been drafted that aim to achieve these outcomes, which strongly articulate the need for the participation of local people in the management of natural resources both within communal areas and on state-owned land. The objectives of new policies, however, are not being met in the Eastern Cape of South Africa for the following key reasons: the insufficient recognition of the impact of past historical and political upheavals experienced within the former homelands’ situation; the government’s inability to process land applications; the government’s lack of ability and capacity to implement these policies; and frustratingly high levels of hierarchy at both the local and national level. The Masakane community, a group of former farm workers from the former Ciskei homeland in South Africa, are attempting to implement CBNRM initiatives. The Masakane case study reveals the urgent need to develop, implement and enforce new institutional and managerial arrangements, because without such arrangements state policies are unlikely to be implemented at the grassroots level.