Evaluating local economic development in the City of Cape Town
Thesis (MA (Public and Development Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
Great pressure is placed on national government to initiate a way of achieving greater economic growth as well as alleviating poverty. A mandate has therefore been given to local government to play a fundamental role in achieving this. Local Economic Development (LED), a relatively new approach to development, is currently seen as a prominent strategy to tackle the problem of unemployment and poverty in South Africa and provide a bottom-up approach to economic development. It forms part of the economic and social development mandate given by national government to local authorities. However, although policies are in place, LED strategies have produced very few success stories for various reasons, such as the lack of capacity within municipalities as well as resource constraints. It is also alleged that LED is incorrectly interpreted and therefore also incorrectly implemented. Because of the presumed effects of LED in terms of economic growth and social upliftment, pressure is placed on municipalities to get appropriate strategies into place as soon as possible. A literature review is presented which covers the theory of LED by looking at the global perspectives of the concept and nature of LED, the history and concept of LED, the different LED approaches and strategies, and key actors within LED. LED is then evaluated within the context of development in order to establish a link between LED and poverty alleviation. LED is also evaluated within the South African context, specifically with regards to the policy context, the historical approach and the challenges to LED implementation in South Africa. An investigation into the background of the City of Cape Town served as the point of departure to evaluate LED implementation. The issue of regional planning for LED integration between urban and rural areas is also discussed. The challenges to economic and social improvement in the City of Cape Town are also highlighted and the current draft Strategy for Economic and Human Development in the City of Cape Town was evaluated. This was done to investigate the LED approach and specific interventions of the City of Cape Town Municipality in terms of the Comprehensive Approach Model, a model formulated in the thesis. This was done to establish whether it is likely to succeed or not, and therefore the thesis specifically explored the priorities and the fundamentals outlined by the Strategy. Thereafter its possible implementation was assessed according to the organisational structure and how it affects the operationalisation of the Strategy in terms of planning, the process itself, and the monitoring and evaluation of the process. Finally, the challenges to the Strategy were discussed and recommendations were made. From the literature review it is clear that LED should lead to much more than merely economic improvement; this insight reinforces the socio-economic role of LED development intervention strategies. What is also evident in terms of LED in developing countries is that the approach has to establish a strategy which deliberately focuses on pro-poor LED implementation. It is often the way that the process is executed that brings the social focus of LED into perspective.