Assessing the sustainability of local economic development projects in the Emakhazeni Municipality
This study investigated the sustainability of Local Economic Development (LED) projects in the Emakhazeni Local Municipality in the Nkangala District of Mpumalanga Province. The investigation was accomplished through qualitative research methods of data collection and analysis. Semi-structured in-depth personal interviews were conducted with three different stakeholders; small business operators, mining companies supporting LED projects through their Social Labour Plans, and Officials of the Emakhazeni Local Municipality, Nkangala District Municipality involved with LED. The research revealed that although LED encourages public, private and civil society sectors to establish partnerships to collaboratively find local solutions to common economic challenges especially the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and, inequality there are ingrained weaknesses and challenges that negatively affect the sustainability of SMMEs and sponsored LED projects in Emakhazeni. The study concludes that sponsorships of LED projects from government and mining companies in the area have to be backed up by efforts from municipalities, mining companies and project recipients to improve themselves. Municipalities must be adequately resourced to deliver services to SMMEs and LED recipient projects while recipients have to be adequately equipped to manage LED projects through training and mentoring. LED project sustainability is achievable if certain enabling factors are taken into consideration when implementing them.