Social change and Bredasdorp

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The purpose of this study is to ascertain the effects of the Overberg Test and Evaluation Facility on a rural town. Bredasdorp, the town in question, up until the announcement of the proposed Overberg Test and Evaluation Facility had developed historically on the basis of the natural needs and requirements of a rural community. Bredasdorp thus, provided services and facilities for its and the surrounding population as a natural growth point and service-centre for complimentary economic activities - mainly of an agricultural nature. The introduction of the Overberg Test and Evaluation Facility impacted on the functioning of this local farming community. This study traces this social change on the various systems operating in the community. Specifically, this study looks on the areas of economic and social change as a result of demographic change in a community. It was hoped that the introduction of the Overberg Test and Evaluation Facility would have long-term influences on the character, make-up and functioning of Bredasdorp as a rural town. In-depth interviews were held with 30 old and new inhabitants of Bredasdorp to determine their attitudes with regard to the project as primary data. Documents such as census reports, Municipal and town planning reports, education related statistics, the Hey Committe report as well as official documents from Armscor were utilized for secondary data. Findings indicate that Bredasdorp experienced a demographic growth as a result of the introduction of the Overberg Test and Evaluation Facility. This demographic growth had a trickle-down effect on the infrastructure such as water reticulation, sewerage, housing, schools, business and community facilities. Adjustments were made by the various systems involved in the change process in order to accommodate the demographic change positively. The economic/militaristic development project at Bredasdorp can be seen as a positive influence on Bredasdorp and environs.

Bibliography: leaves 113-120.