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The intricacies of local governance in local economic development : a case study of uThukela's traditional authority.

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The study investigated the role of traditional leadership in local economic development in contemporary South Africa. Utilizing the purposive sampling methodology, interviews were administered to the relevant participants in the uThukela District. LED Managers representing the six municipalities under the uThukela District were sampled alongside traditional leaders and respective mayors. The data collected was analysed by means of grounded theory analysis, which entails finding new meanings in the texts and linking the context into substantive formal literature. The research was motivated by the need for more literature on South Africa’s traditional leadership institution and its impact on development. Specific emphasis was placed on KwaZulu-Natal, which is a province crippled with a significant density of rural areas that have high indicators of unemployment and poverty and is therefore a good example to explore. The study further narrowed the scope, focusing on uThukela District; a region with a constituency in which three out of its five local municipalities are rural based, have an estimated unemployment rate of 68.5%, and also a ratio of 75% of the population residing in rural areas. The findings of this research therefore confirmed how relationships between traditional leaders and councillors affect progressive economic development in rural areas. The extensive need for the two to coexist in local government has been echoed by many; therefore the findings of this study will serve to inform whether developmental growth in rural areas requires active intervention from government in order to resolve the issues. Furthermore, the findings will hopefully contribute towards a better understanding of how the relationships between the two stakeholders impact economic development in rural areas.


Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville 2015.


Community development, Urban--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Economic development--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Local government--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Tribal government--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Theses--Leadership and management., Traditional leaders., uThukela District.