Regional and Local Economic
Development Initiative

Business School’s Young Researchers ready to Contribute to the Growth of LED

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s (GSB&L) Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative (RLEDi) celebrated the graduation of eight of its young researchers.

Ms Thobeka Radebe, Mr Senzo Majola, Mr Lisborn Khoza, Ms Phindile Mkhize, Mr Naman Ramadhar, Mr  Isaac Khambule, Ms  Sinethemba Mthimkhulu and Ms Ziphozihle Titi are all looking forward to using their newly acquire knowledge to contribute to the development of KwaZulu-Natal’s local economic development (LED) which is the rationale behind the initiative.

“Renewable Energy production as a means for Local Economic Development in eThekwini Municipality”, was the title of Radebe’s dissertation. The research explores renewable energy development as means for LED.

‘Renewable energy resources are widely seen as means to address the challenges of climate change and energy in security and can be of key importance in the development of a sustainable society,’ said Radebe. ‘The findings address the ways in which renewable energy adoption can play a part in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The eThekwini Energy Office wishes to use my research for their future projects.’

The qualification has already yielded benefits for Radebe as she recently secured a position as an Environmental Management Intern at the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

“Assessing stakeholder’s perspectives on the challenges faced in measuring employment at the Port of Durban” was the title of Ramadhar’s research.

‘My research looked at the challenges faced in measuring employment for the port of Durban. The Port of Durban contributes vastly to local employment, directly and indirectly. The multiplier effects are even greater. However, even considering the future expansions proposed in the maritime sector and port operations, current employment estimates are rather inadequate. My study aimed to investigate, document and suggest recommendations to solve these problems. The findings revealed that current information is largely inadequate which cannot produce significant data that can aid further growth or assist in policy planning,’ said Ramadhar.

Majola’s thesis was titled: “Evaluating Stakeholders’ Perspectives on the Implementation of the 2012 Business Retention and Expansion Recommendations at Isthebe”.

Khambule’s research explored “Local Economic Development as a Social Dialogue: A Case of Enterprise ILembe”.

Titi’s studies investigated the challenges and successes of manufacturing Small Medium and Micro Enterprise in the Downstream Aluminum Centre for Technology.

Khoza said possessing a Bachelor of Community and Development Studies degree and an Honours in Public Policy degree made a qualification in LED the obvious choice.

His thesis titled: “An Investigation of Participation and Accountability on LED Projects within the Hibiscus Coast Municipality”, explored LED projects with the Municipality from the perspective of assessing public participation within LED processes and projects.

‘After handing in my thesis for examination, I joined the Human Science Research Council as a research Assistant. This April I was promoted to researcher. I can say my career is taking-off, I’m expanding my knowledge and experience in terms of personal growth and development,’ said Khoza.

“An Investigation of Local Governments in Ensuring LED Projects implementation: A Case Study of Vulamehlo Local Municipality”, was the title of Mkhize’s dissertation.

The research investigated how municipalities are coping with the new assigned role of implementing LED projects and also involved finding out what measures they are taking to ensure that they fulfil this role as LED implementation is considered to be one way to tackle South Africa’s societal problems such as poverty, slow economic growth and unemployment.

‘The study revealed that Vulamehlo municipality faces different challenges that hinder their ability to implement LED,’ said Mkhize. ‘These include lack of funding, lack of consensus from leadership and lack of commitment from the LED involved community beneficiaries. I think this qualification increases my chances of employment as some of the employers understand that doing research requires one to be disciplined and focused,’ said Mkhize.

The title of Mthimkhulu’s thesis was: “An Examination of Business Perspectives on the Role of the Umhlosinga Development Agency”. She said the work had broadened her knowledge about the challenges of a development agency located in a predominately rural district.

‘The findings of my study point to the financial challenges that development agencies face and how these further contribute to challenges of human resources and the actual manifestation of economic development of a locality.  Further education of stakeholders of LED was one of the key factors that could result in meeting the objectives set for an agency.’

Thandiwe Jumo