Assessing the implication of local economic development initiatives on job creation in South Africa : a case of Polokwane Local Municipality

04 Mar 2021

The purpose of the paper is to assess the implication of Local Economic Development (LED) initiatives on job creation in South Africa. The aim of this paper is to determine the extent in which LED initiatives are effective in South African municipalities. The paper reflects on LED initiatives in Polokwane Local Municipality and assesses its contribution to job creation and poverty alleviation within the Municipality. LED was introduced to mitigate unemployment and poverty in South Africa. It has been two decades since the inception of LED in South Africa. However, there are still dire socio-economic conditions in the country. This paper is empirical and employed quantitative research approach. The paper used random sampling technique in which 370 questionnaires were distributed to beneficiaries of LED in the Municipality. The findings of the paper revealed that there is low rate of job opportunities created through LED initiatives and LED awareness in the Municipality is low as only half of the participants know the role of LED unit in the local economy. The paper argues that there are still high unemployment rates in South African municipalities with many individuals living in dire economic conditions despite the inception of LED. The paper therefore recommends that local municipalities must review the current LED initiatives and come up with reformed LED initiatives that will have high impact on creation of job opportunities and poverty alleviation. The paper further argues that there is also a need for agricultural and industrial park LED initiatives that will contribute to vast creation of jobs in the Municipality. Keywords: Local Economic Development, Poverty, Unemployment