The following thought process will be divided into three parts and will begin reviewing the underlying ecosystems within the National Development Plans (NDPs) Chapter Three: Economy and Employment. The argument of this review will be anchored in this chapter while using the National Evaluation Policy Framework’s (NEPF’s) conceptual framework for evaluations (Chapter 2), in developing and presenting an appropriate evaluation process for assessing progress towards achieving one of the development objectives in Chapter 3: Economy and Employment.

Moreover, it will not provide an evaluation but will propose an evaluation approach best suited to determine progress in achieving the chosen NDP objective. In addition, a case study of the current ecosystem of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Project (N2WCTR), located in the Eastern Cape, will be analysed in understanding how the project objectives of economic development as well as job creation, was shadowed by cultural disputes in the Amadiba area.

N2 Wild coast toll road project (N2WCTR)

The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) was commissioned by the national government with a set budget of approximately R3 billion, to develop a project which would benefit local small, medium, and micro-enterprises (SMMEs), in Mpondoland, in the Eastern Cape. It was noted by SANRAL that this project would form part of the N2 Wild Coast Road, which was accredited to create 8 000 direct jobs, and 20 000 indirect jobs. SANRAL N2 Wild Coast Toll Road project manager, Mbulelo Sonqishe explained that an additional R38,5 million would be paid in wages to 300 community members who would be directly involved in the project. However, disputes between SANRAL and the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) found that resistance to the project was embedded in the Xolobeni sand mine, namely the uMgungundlovu, which consisted of members from the Amadiba coastal region. The issue set forward by the ACC noted that the road which was planned by SANRAL would directly cut through uMgungundlovu, which would create a biodiversity issue as well as customary laws which would affect the people of the area whose ancestry roots were embedded.

SANRAL explained that the project was issued a Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Committee to oversee that a biodiversity programme would offset the issue of limited area for grazing, as well as uproot community members of the region. The organisation noted that the programme would create 15 000 hectares of new protected area (Steyn, November 3, 2021), which the ACC highlighted contravened with the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPILRA), which SANRAL said it followed. However, the ACC said despite formal negotiations with SANRAL in September 2021, no formal community access agreement was signed by SANRAL, which inadvertently caused issues with an environmental impact assessment of the area, which SANRAL said it conducted between 2008 to 2009.

The ACC concluded that given SANRAL’s statement explaining that no organisation or government official could rightfully block a route approved through a legal process. The ACC required an environmental authorization from the Department of Environmental Affairs. Additional context from the project was argued by Steyn and Damba-Hendrick (2 August 2021) who highlighted that SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast Toll Road project manager, Craig McLachlan, said community members would be unaffected by the move and SMMEs could earn R4 billion from the project, as well as the construction of it.

The issue with the project

The underlying issue with this project implemented by SANRAL lacked the consensus of cultural evaluation, given the definition of M&E, as well as the relationship between the values which would cause the results to become implicit. The ecosystem of the programme which included SANRAL, government, non-profit organisations (NGOs), community members, and the beneficiaries need to decide on a value resolution for the overall nature of the programme. Creating public value as underpinned by the NDP 2030, should be efficiently achieved while ensuring that economic stability and job creation dependently influence beneficiaries, while avoiding issues of cultural constraint.

NDPs, Chapter 3: Economy and Employment

According to the NDP 2030, Chapter 3: Economy and Employment, the main objective is centred around the alleviation of poverty and reducing the levels of inequality in South Africa. It was noted that this would be achieved through productivity and growth, while key elements ranged from export, skills development, cost of living, investment in infrastructure, and the improvement of labour markets, among others. The chapter discusses the gross domestic profit’s (GDP’s) direct involvement in economic growth, while highlighting how South Africa is in a “low growth, middle-income trap" (NDP 2030, n.d., p. 110).

The NDP’s main premise for the programme is embedded in economic stability and job creation while promoting exports which the labour economy would absorb. Internal capabilities of Chapter 3 of the NDP 2030, would be focused on results that were immediate which in turn create public value. “The NDP 2030 explains that given South Africa’s misfortune, the country included natural endowments as well as a strong fiscal position allows a strong and deep financial services sector, quality universities, and a small but sophisticated services industry” (NDP 2030, n.d., p. 111)”.