ICT readiness of the municipality to promote LED to the community of Mandeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
Hlongwa, Ronald Ntokozo.
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The current study is based on the experiences of the local municipalities in implementing local economic development. The case study is related to Mandeni municipality which is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The study is predicated on the notion that the increased availability and accessibility of information and communication technology (ICT) holds an increased potential to place municipalities at a higher level where they are mostly to promote their local economic development activities. However, this has not been the case in Mandeni Local Municipality. The main aim of the study is to investigate factors that prevent the ICT readiness of the Mandeni Local Municipality so as to promote local economic development. A qualitative methodology predicated on the phenomenological approach was chosen for this study in order to gather information from participants with regards to the perceived challenges. The study adopted purposive sampling in order to select a sample of the senior management of the municipality to take part in the study. An interview guide was used for data collection. A thematic data analysis was conducted where emerging themes were grouped together and then analyzed. The study revealed that non alignment of relevant legislative frameworks with the municipality’s integrated development plan (IDP) was one of the factors which are undermining developmental efforts in this municipality. It further revealed that critical skills were not optimally used as a result of disjointed business processes. The study also found that the municipality did not efficiently allocate resources for effective delivery. In addition, the study established that there was a general lack of responsibility by those who should be playing monitoring role. In view of the mentioned challenges the following recommendations are made: (i) the integration of ICT as a mainstream function and integral part of the municipality activities. (ii) To review municipal policies and business processes in order to set clear objectives of the role of ICT in the IDP. (iii) To ensure strategic collaboration with stakeholders who have resources and explore Private Public Partnership mechanisms on ICT projects. (iv)A focused training is proposed for councillors on ICT solutions. (v) A business reengineering and change management is needed focused to management team as well as the workshops and awareness to the larger community for their role and participation on LED issues.