Abstract: The United Nations Millennium Development Goal [MDG] (Goal 1; Poverty reduction) in South Africa had not achieved all of its set targets. There are still economic disparities complemented by a wide ranging pollution-tounemployment ratio creating gender-differentiation in poverty outcomes. MDG Goal 3 (Gender equality and women empowerment) also existed in isolation and was not explicitly aligned with other goals. The post-MDG review led to the establishment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Goal 1: poverty elimination and Goal 6: gender equality). In order to eradicate poverty and advance economic empowerment of households, the Local Economic Development (LED) programme has since been implemented in South African municipalities. The aim of the article is to explore the missing element of gender in development policies and goals. The purpose therefore is to align gender to local economic development in municipalities. A qualitative research design was planned to gather relevant information. A review of LED documents explores the gender exclusion in the LED processes. Gender differences, inequality, unequal access to resources, and unequal employment opportunities may lead to economic collapse. The article offers recommendations for improvement.