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Executive Director
Mr Mike de Klerk
Tel: +27 12 302 2469

Integrated Rural and Regional Development (IRRD) is a multi-disciplinary Research Programme, with the primary objective of promoting rural development in South and southern Africa. It does this through user-driven policy, monitoring and evaluation and problem-orientated research. With poverty reduction as the unifying, overarching theme, the Programmes objectives, orientation and activities are designed specifically to address key national, regional and Africa-wide policy priorities.

Four distinct, but interlocking, sub-programmes operate:

  • Land and Agrarian Reform, under Professor Simphiwe Mini, which investigates land tenure, land use, land redistribution and restitution, agricultural input and output markets, farm labour and employment and related issues
  • Rural Non-farm Development, under Dr David Hemson, which investigates rural livelihoods, rural infrastructure and service delivery, rural micro-enterprise support, ecotourism and related issues
  • Regional Resource Flows, under Dr Pieter Kok, which investigates human resource, trade and financial flows within and across borders in southern Africa, in part to assist regional integration
  • Poverty Reduction, of which the major component is the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN), co-ordinated by Mr Richard Humphries. This project is a real and virtual platform for debate, and gathers and disseminates information aimed at enhancing the impact of policy, strategy and practice on poverty reduction in the region.

Located in the Pretoria and Durban offices, full-time staff at year-end numbered nineteen researchers, three support staff and three one-year contract employees, supported by several part-time and temporary staff, with one vacancy still to be filled.

Internal and external collaboration both within and outside the HSRC has been extensive and excellent. Among international partners have been Oxford Policy Management, Futures Group Europe, the University of Michigan and, among local partners, the CSIR, the University of Pretoria and the Surplus Peoples Project. Internal partners cover almost all of the HSRCs other Research Programmes.

Funding has been sourced both from clients and from offshore Government funding agencies, such as the British Department for International Development (DFID), the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ) and the Swiss Development Corporation. In a number of instances, this funding was used for research conducted for Government and other clients in Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Figure D: Origin districts of migrants to Gauteng (1992/96) from Post-Apartheid Patterns of Internal Migration (2003)

Current and recently completed projects

More than 20 research projects directed by and registered in IRRD were completed during 2002/03 or were still in progress at the year-end.

Key objectives for 2002/03 for the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) were twofold. On the one hand, the aim was to expand SARPNs core activities face-to-face events and electronic information dissemination to add further to its profile and presence in the region. A second objective was to undertake an in-depth review of activities since inception and prepare for a re-design exercise to let SARPN achieve its goals more fully and effectively. The re-design exercise incorporated extensive regional stakeholder consultation. This revealed strong support for SARPNs activities but also the need for structural and operational changes to make the network genuinely regional. A proposal for SARPNs future, which will form the basis of a campaign to secure funding for a multi-year period, is expected to be completed by the end of June 2003. This ongoing project is funded by DFID.

With the approach of ten years of democracy in South Africa, the Presidency has commissioned a wide-ranging review of the performance of Government, particularly in respect to delivery on its mandate to reduce poverty. A first round of research, focused on identifying key issues for in-depth investigation, was undertaken in the second half of 2002. In collaboration with internal and external partners, IRRD contributed seven of the commissioned papers. In the second round, which commenced in the first quarter of 2003, IRRD was contracted to conduct two much larger investigations. One investigation used high-level statistical data to assess the impact of public sector programmes in eight economic sectors and the other a methodological complement used a group of on-the-ground studies of the impact of public sector programmes in eight localities. The research will be reported on at the July Cabinet lekgotla. The major funders of this project are DFID and GTZ, and the project is due for completion in the second half of 2003.

A project on water and sanitation to the rural poor, regarding sustainability and poverty eradication, was undertaken over more than six months, in the context of devolution of control and maintenance from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to local authorities and communities. The research entailed a detailed survey of 23 schemes in rural KwaZulu-Natal. It focused on the functionality of the schemes, obstacles to sustainability and sources of institutional stress. The findings and recommendations for policy, strategy and practice received the personal commendation of the Minister. Discussions are being held about the possibility of extending the research to other provinces. The project was completed in early 2003.

IRRD provided technical assistance for Lesotho land policy, land law harmonisation and the preparation of the Land Sector Strategic Plan. Co-ordinated by the Land Policy Advisor to the Government of Lesotho and carried out with a number of external partners, IRRD investigated the economic rationale, financial planning, organisation and management and human resources development aspects of policy. These are expected to form the basis of future legislation. DFID funded the project, which was completed early in 2003.

A study of the impact of HIV/AIDS on land issues in Kenya, Lesotho and South Africa was designed and co-ordinated by IRRD. Research was undertaken by teams located in each of the countries. On-the-ground village studies examined, inter alia,

  • changes in tenure systems as a result of HIV/AIDS;
  • strategic options for survival among affected households in terms of land and the respective sets of consequences;
  • how tenure changes are affecting agricultural productivity, food security and poverty; and
  • the implications of tenure turbulence for land administration.

The findings have fed into several subsequent reports, research projects and workshops, and have been incorporated into initiatives by the Department of Land Affairs in South Africa. The FAO funded this study, which was completed in the second half of 2002.

IRRD also provided technical assistance to the regional and national food security Vulnerability Assessment Committees (VACs) initiated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The objectives of the IRRD teams assistance are:

  • to ensure that the VAC data collection and analysis process provides the best possible information to evaluate the current food security situation in southern Africa;
  • to assess the impact on household food security of HIV/AIDS;
  • to advise on the preparation of country reports; and
  • to facilitate the integration of the findings into policy and practice.

The project was funded by UNAIDS and completed during the second half of 2003.

Research on the impact of HIV/AIDS on land tenure and land reform in Kenya was commissioned as part of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project, a joint undertaking by the Kenyan and British Governments. The goal is to decrease the risk of HIV transmission in Kenya. The task of the research team, augmented by HSRC Research Fellow Dr Cherryl Walker, is to carry out a study to understand the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on land tenure systems and land reform in Kenya, with particular emphasis on inheritance and succession. This study was requested by the Ministry of Lands and Settlements AIDS Control Unit. It is funded by DFID and is due for completion in the second half of 2003.

A study into strategy formulation for the South African cotton industry was triggered by a request for assistance from the Department of Agriculture by South African cotton growers, as a result of the wind-down of tariffs on trade in cotton products within the SADC. The initial product of the research was an in-principle set of recommendations on strategy for the South African cotton industry. A process to formulate common goals and strategy by all of the major players in the cotton pipeline was then designed and facilitated. The outcome was endorsed by all parties and implementation is now in progress. Historically disadvantaged producers are expected to be major beneficiaries. The process is seen as establishing a model for the sub-sectoral implementation of the national strategy for agricultural development, announced by the President in November 2001. The study was completed in early 2003.

Routine surveys of the cost of living are not framed in such a way as to give in-depth insight into the effects of rapid food price increases, such as occurred in 2001/02, on low-income households. IRRD was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture to undertake a pilot study on the impact of food price volatility on household food security in South Africa. It was aimed both at making an initial impact assessment and at developing methods for conducting subsequent assessments as part of a strategy to increase household food security. The study was completed in the second half of 2002.

Due to report in mid-2003, research into joint ventures between established and emerging commercial farmers and/or farm workers in South Africa has been carried out with the Surplus Peoples Project with the assistance of the Department of Land Affairs. It documents and evaluates the growing range of joint ventures, which are gaining increasing recognition as an important component of an overall strategy to make land reform sustainable. The research is funded from within the HSRC.

A major project around predicting urban migration in South Africa has also been initiated. The objective of the project, spanning three financial years, is to describe, analyse and interpret population migration patterns in South Africa (including cross-border migration) in order to develop a firm basis for predicting urban migration. The extensive and difficult field data collection phase has been completed and analysis is now in progress. The resulting models should be valuable policy-making and planning tools for a wide range of users in Government and the private sector. The first of a series of research outputs is expected late in 2003.

With the CEOs Office, IRRD undertook the planning and was responsible for the co-ordination of the HSRCs participation in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002. The IRRD occasional paper series, launched to mark the event, currently consists of seven papers.