English: Local economic development is a critical challenge for much of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in South Africa. This article aims to examine the limits to successful local economic development (LED) in South Africa which emerge from the ‘disconnect’ between business development and LED. One reason for the disappointments surrounding 15 years of LED planning relates to this “disconnect” between business development and LED planning. This issue is now acknowledged as national government has launched a series of initiatives to develop the connections between enterprise development, on the one hand, and local economic development, on the other. The discussion points to four themes, namely the improved market confidence of the private sector in local government; the capacity to identify opportunities for and to exploit competitive advantage; the need to build a business environment friendly for private sector investment, and the intensification of enterprise support at local level for the development of small businesses.