South Africa has been a democracy for ten years in 2004 and it has been eight
years since government endorsed local economic development (LED) as part
of its strategy to transform institutions and society. The blue print for LED is
applicable on all spheres of government, from provincial governments right down
to municipalities. It seems that uncertainty exists as to what LED is all about. To
add to the lack of clarity, LED objectives duplicate national government objectives
for the economy, which fall within the specific functional areas of national government
departments. This article explores the progress made with LED, by the City of
Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (CTMM). Assuming that it may serve as a proxy
for LED activities by other municipalities, the article offers a critique on the LED
programme at CTMM, with important suggestions on how LED may be improved.
The most important is that municipalities should make a conscious effort to engage
communities in their LED programmes and follow at least an international model
such as the one suggested by the World Bank. Municipalities should also attempt
to utilise valuable resources effectively by not duplicating programmes in the functional
areas of economic development by national departments.