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South Durban Basin
Programme Office
Cato Manor
Inanda, Ntumzuma & Kwamashu (INK)
Cato Manor Area Based Management

Cato Manor Locality Plan

To create an enabling environment for enhanced services through the co-ordination, facilitation and integration of services & resources, in order to empower people and improve the quality of life for all within the defined geographical areas of eThekwini.

The Cato Manor area comprises 2000 ha of undulating landscape located approximately 8kms away from Durban’s city center. Focus on developing physical platform to support growth has been the City’s main concern. Cato Manor ABM has also focused on stabilizing a turbulent socio-political environment which is presented by the social setting of the area, since it is a highly contested area due to its close proximity to the City center. The human development side of the equation has received increasing attention over the years as the infrastructure and social facilities are now largely in place. The development focus has shifted to engage more fully with the upliftment of local communities.

The Cato Manor ABM office has concentrated its efforts on social upliftment and economic development in a manner that reduces dependency, increases self-reliance and community cohesion, and facilitates cooperative partnerships amongst government, private sector and the civil society.

Cato Manor ABM has two focussed meta-outcomes for the development of the area, within the context of the Area Based Management and Development initiative, which seeks to ensure that:

Cato Manor residents’ social and economic circumstances advance in ways which lead to an improved quality of life as, is reflected by more positive life attitudes, optimism and self-esteem, and:

Cato Manor’s development contributes to the improved efficiency of the eThekwini Municipality.

Three sets of outcomes have been formulated to enable the achievement of these meta-outcomes. They centre on economic, social and physical development.

Outcome 1: Residents are able to function effectively in the local and regional economy.

Outcome 2: Residents have enhanced human capacity and experience stabilized environment

Outcome 3: Resources and services in Cato Manor are efficiently utilized

The outcomes identified in this business plan did not take into account the additional factors necessary to secure the outcomes listed above, namely; that the institutional and management capacity necessary to plan, mobilise and manage delivery would first need to be assembled and capacitated.  


The strategic focus for the ABM is to ensure that all projects are integrated to relevant line departments for sustainability purposes. Emphasis on building the capacity at the community level is key priority so that members of the community are able to interact with different service providers to ensure the success of their projects. 

Social Development, Institutional Development & Communications Overview 

At the inception of the Cato Manor ABM there was no social development plan for the area. This made it difficult for the ABM to define strategic focus areas and make informed decisions in order to achieve positive outcomes in Cato Manor. The development of a coherent and comprehensive social development plan for the area assisted in formulating appropriate responses to key development issues of the area such as crime, health and recreation. It must be considered that the city has limited expertise and capacity to fully deliver on its extended social mandate and the provincial departments, whose key mandate it is, also have capacity problems. Thus, the involvement of non-governmental organizations and the mobilization and empowerment of the local community were key strategies that the Cato Manor ABM adopted to realise its goals.  However, in all projects, the ABM has ensured that the developmental process involves all key and relevant line departments within the municipality, looking at areas of common interest, avoiding duplication and maximising the utilisation of limited resources. The ABM has also ensured effective participation of other key stakeholders outside the municipality to fully attend to issues falling within their mandates.  Some of the provincial departments involved are the local SAPS, District Welfare Department, Health Departments; the Department of Education and Correctional Services Department.

In facilitating effective and sustainable social and community development, the following strategic programme areas have identified and projects are being implemented to contribute to strategic delivery:

Creating well informed and responsible citizens

Skills development played an important role in ensuring that Cato Manor residents are informed well enough to assume their role as responsible citizens. 

The skills development project contributed towards ensuring that all projects developed the capacity of beneficiaries in a sustained manner. Skills development and capacity building interventions were all implemented with the support and guidance of the Skills Development Unit. This was to ensure that all statutory requirements were adhered to and that interventions would add value to the lives of project beneficiaries.  

Creating a safe and stable environment

A major challenge with the integration of the Cato Manor community within the Greater eThekwini Municipal Area is in ensuring the safety of the residents of Cato Manor and the communities around it. In facilitating this various initiatives were implemented including crime mapping, the community policing forum, CEPTED interventions, road safety as well as safety awareness programmes. 

Social stability in Cato Manor was achieved through programmes that sought to integrate communities and fostered more cohesive neighbourhoods. The formulation of a community- based Sport Council responsible for developing and implementing a multi-code sports development programme is a vehicle utilized to achieve the aims of stability. The Sports Council functions through the support of the different sports federations and the Municipality’s Sports Department.

Enhancing capacity for self-reliance and restoration of dignity

The community development programme being implemented by the Cato Manor ABM has at its core the aim of ensuring that residents are self-reliant and are able to function effectively within the greater eThekwini Municipal area. The life skills and community support programmes have been contributing to this by capacitating women and the youth.

Improved health

HIV/AIDS is a major contributor to health problems in Cato Manor. The identification of this problem led to the formation of the multi-agency forum tasked with coordinating the collective efforts of different service providers working in the area. The forum has benefited from contributions by various external stakeholders that work within the health environment. This has led to the scope of the forum expanding to accommodate a broader range of health matters.

Integrated service delivery

Formation of a multi-agency forum created to coordinate crime prevention activities from a local government level.  This involves identifying and integrating existing roles and programs.  This forum was also formed to facilitate multi-agency cooperation around service delivery within the Cato Manor precinct, thus minimizing duplication of efforts and wastage of expenditure.

The establishment of a Cato Manor HIV/AIDS Multidisciplinary Service Providers Forum mandated with coordinating HIV/AIDS services. Such a structure is representative of all service providers and relevant stakeholders in Cato Manor and seeks to maximise their collective efforts through the implementation of an integrated programme and the promotion of collaboration.

Early childhood development 

The Cato Manor ABM, ECD programme is a pragmatic response to a situation in which a number of children in the Cato Manor area are cared for in informal child minding set-ups by local women with no formal training, knowledge and understanding of ECD provision. The programme aims to effect a paradigm shift in the early childhood provision in the area, from informal and unregulated to a formalized provision that is compliant with all sector prescripts and regulations. In spite of these perceived disadvantages and inappropriate conditions community members continue to entrust the care of their children to these women as a large majority cannot afford fee paying, private and formal ECD services. Hence CM ABM acknowledged that home based child minding service is an essential service for the local community and therefore puts measures in place to assist service providers to comply.

Against this background that the Cato Manor ABM has developed and implemented appropriate and sustainable responses to these challenges with the view of forging an improved quality of life for children. Part of these responses is the centre based ECD program that cares for more than 3000 local children. This program was initially operated in 10 purposely built, well-resourced premises that were leased to local women that had been running informal programs in their own households. However over the years the programme has grown in scope and has come to incorporate women that offer home based child-minding service in the area with a view of empowering them with necessary skills and expertise. This ensures that children are cared for under a safe, healthy and intellectually stimulating environment, and has an added benefit of good nutrition and care. Currently the number of centres in the programme is 30, across four wards of the Cato Manor area. Amongst many other positive spin off that accrue from this project is employment opportunities to about 300 local people, mostly women that are employed in these centres as managers, practitioners, caregivers, gardeners and other support staff. 

Local Economic Development overview: 

The Cato Manor ABM experience over the years was a concerted entrepreneurial development process which has yielded many lessons. 

These lessons are around ways of approaching local economic development whilst at the same time empowering local residents to take firmer control of their lives and for them to engage with the fast globalising economy of the city. This has been achieved through providing residents of Cato Manor with opportunities, which help them to engage in the city’s formal and informal economies.  

The opportunities were created following the design of a local economic development framework which recognises the dual nature of the economy of the area. The framework has been designed to create jobs and income opportunities for all aspirant entrepreneurs and residents as well as to attract outside organisations which would support other economic enterprises in the area.  Its key principles are to:

Make the most of the locational advantages

Maximise local participation and ownership

Create an array of economic investment opportunities ranging from the very small to the large

The framework recognises internal poverty levels but simultaneously acknowledges the need to market and integrate the economy of the area within that of the broader municipal area and beyond. The combination of poverty eradication with a market-based approach is key to the success of the local economic development programme in Cato Manor. The programme helps in ensuring that all levels of economic activity are supported, from survivalist “backyard” operators to provision of operating space as well as creating a hierarchy of opportunities.  Attention is also given to addressing issues raised by local businesses in the need to access affordable finance and relevant skills training.  

The Cato Manor Local Economic Development Framework is a multi-pronged, ladder approach which supports survivalist entrepreneurs through to SMMEs.  It pprovides opportunities and capacity building for individuals, co-operatives and emerging firms through projects and follows a multiple sector approach that includes urban agriculture, retail, commercial, manufacturing and services. The sector approach is facilitated through various programmes and projects.


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