Original Research

Infrastructure development and environmental risk perceptions in the Wild Coast, South Africa

Tafadzwa Mambiravana, Ikechukwu Umejesi
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 15, No 1 | a1377 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v15i1.1377 | © 2023 Tafadzwa Mambiravana, Ikechukwu Umejesi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 August 2022 | Published: 18 July 2023

About the author(s)

Tafadzwa Mambiravana, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Ikechukwu Umejesi, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa

Abstract

Government’s proposal to construct the N2 Toll Road in the Wild Coast was lauded for its ‘developmental agenda’ in the historically neglected Wild Coast communities of the Eastern Cape province. This project, the government and business groups envisaged, would open up the coastal communities of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces to economic development of the region and the nation in general. However, the road project has equally been criticised by several local communities and environmental advocacy groups who associate the road with the controversial plan to mine titanium in the region and its anticipated social and ecological disasters. Using a qualitative research approach that utilised face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions, secondary data review and observations, the study found that different communities associate the project with high risks regarding their environment.

Contribution: The study was anchored on the cultural theory of risk perception, which helped in exploring how people’s preferences differ in terms of how life should be organised, their perceptions of risk, and their responses to it.


Keywords

risk perceptions; Wild Coast; road project; local communities; infrastructure.

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