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A Case Study of Local Government Implementation of the Ward Based Local Economic Development (LED) Program

N. L. Nxumalo


L.D. Naidoo

N. L. Nxumalo 1

L.D. Naidoo 2

  1. Management College of South Africa 1

  2. Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa 2

on Google Scholar
on PubMed

Pages: 1-23

DOI: 10.18488/journal.74.2018.51.1.23

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Article History:

Received: 09 January, 2018
Revised: 16 April, 2018
Accepted: 20 April, 2018
Published: 25 April, 2018


The local economic development (LED) had been in existence prior to the advent of democracy in 1994 government. At that time there was a strong focus on the agricultural sector. The apartheid government at that time fully supported the LED initiatives but not all citizens of South Africa benefited from that support. The Acts and policies of the apartheid government such as the Group Areas Act forced black people to move out of places with resources and placed them into areas with poor resources. After 1994 the South African government adopted LED as a strategy to deal with the disparities of the past such as poverty, unemployment, and poor standards of living. Several strategies were put into place to overcome the challenges that was as a result of the apartheid past. The Zululand district with similar intention of the post-apartheid government embarked on initiating the ward based LED program to deal with the consequences of the past. The status quo report of the Zululand district still identified high levels of poverty and unemployment and a slow growth in the local economy as a major concern. This study aimed to investigate the ward based LED program in order to establish if the program has made the achievement towards its objectives and also to establish what challenges are encountered by the local government in the implementation of the program. The study used a qualitative research method which was conducted with the adoption of one on -one interview as a tool for data collection. The researcher prepared an interview schedule of open ended questions to allow the liberty and a flexible expression of perceptions, experiences and understanding of participants on the phenomenon under investigation.
Contribution/ Originality
This study contributes to the existing literature of Local Economic Development (LED) in South Africa which uses ward base as a starting point. This study uses, an exploratory research approach which adopted a phenomenological (qualitative) paradigm. The study found that while the LED ward based program is a great initiative with very good intentions, the municipalities have to do some improvements in order to achieve the objectives of the program.


Local government, Economic development, Local government systems, Ward based programs, Democracy, Rural settlements



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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Both authors contributed equally to the conception and design of the study.

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