n Journal of Public Administration - Women caught between a rock and a hard place : an empirical investigation of local economic development initiatives in Cato Manor, Durban

Volume 47, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article critically examines the achievements and limitations of the local economic development (LED) programme spearheaded by the Cato Manor Area Based Management Programme of eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. This was a five-year pilot project, which began in 2003 as part of a broader City's Area Based Management and Development Programme. The evidence suggests that the fundamental goal of a location-specific LED, which is to integrate social and economic development, has proven difficult to achieve. While adequate human, institutional and financial capital was deployed, the impact of this intervention remained minimal. Observations indicate that the major constraints are a direct result of technocratic macro-economic policies that are imposed on local government. Inevitably, these promote rushed development that overlooks women entrepreneurs' knowledge and skills. As a contribution to contemporary discourse on LED, this article adopts a critical theory to locate the missing link. Hence, the findings allude to the limitations of a neo-liberal capitalist model in espousing the values enshrined in South Africa's Constitution vis-à-vis participatory development for the betterment of all South Africans. In conclusion, the article advocates for citizen action as a viable option to promote social and economic development for women entrepreneurs in Cato Manor.

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