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​LED is the legal responsibility of the South African government to ensure that a conducive environment is created for robust and sustainable economic development; and that the quality of life of local residents is improved through the provision of basic services, employment creation and poverty alleviation. This derives from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, Chapter 7, Section 152, which mandate devolves to the local government sphere by virtue of its proximity to the population.

The Ugu District, like most other rural districts in the country faces the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The spatial profile of the district displays a dual space economy; with a largely urbanised coastal zone that is performing reasonably well and a largely impoverished rural interior falling under the Ingonyama Trust with some large commercial farms and a large number of struggling subsistence farmers.

Manufacturing, Tourism and Agriculture are considered as the mainstay sectors and largest contributors to the investment, employment and production in Ugu. The services sector and retail trade have also shown growth potential over the past couple of years. However, agriculture and manufacturing have been shedding jobs over the past five (5) years owing to among other factors, international competitiveness, the global economic downturn and restrictive legislation which has affected agricultural investment appetite.

Through its long-term plan, the District Growth and Development Strategy Ugu District Municipality embraces a vision which envisions that “By 2030, the Ugu District will be a leading tourism destination and agricultural and manufacturing hub where jobs are created and everyone benefits equally from socio-economic opportunities and services”. The strategy is based on the shared understanding of the inter-relationships amongst communities and the challenges facing the district economy as a whole.

Accordingly a pivotal role is reserved for he Ugu District Municipality LED Unit together with its local municipality counterparts, the District Development Agency and the South Coast Development to facilitate achievement of PGDP Goals and objectives and to intensify efforts to mitigate the scourge of poverty, joblessness and inequality.