n Journal of Public Administration - Implementing regional economic development : exploring stakeholder engagements and project governance in the formation of the Durban Aerotropolis

Volume 54 Number 4-1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


As economic development practice in South Africa shifts from local to Regional Economic Development (RED), stakeholders involved in projects have become more diverse and operate across different sectors and areas of jurisdiction. The complexity of stakeholder relations in this broader context needs to be given further consideration if RED is to be practised successfully. This article engages with the implementation of RED by unpacking the governance mechanisms of the Durban Aerotropolis through a qualitative analysis of stakeholder visions for the project and the structures through which collaborative planning for this large-scale intervention has occurred. The governance mechanisms discussed in this article illustrate how RED interventions bring about cross-border relations between stakeholders that have moved beyond jurisdictional, sectoral and functional boundaries to bring together actors and organisations with a shared vision for economic development despite challenges. The findings postulate that for successful enactment of an RED project, such as the Durban Aerotropolis, concerted efforts from various stakeholders are a primary requirement. Collaborative effort and cooperative governance are important for RED as it enables and facilitates coordination of mutual sharing of resources and information. These are needed to facilitate sustainable development and competitiveness. It is argued here that since collaboration and cooperative governance are so important to the success of RED projects, collaboration and partnered engagement should be evident right from the project initiation and envisioning stages, thereby providing a sound platform for ongoing shared governance as projects are implemented.

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