By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Photo Credit: GCIS.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says that government is pushing forward with its plans to strengthen the local government infrastructure and accelerate service delivery through the introduction of the District Development Model (DDM).
Speaking in his state of the nation address on Thursday evening (11 February), the president said that the model will bring all three spheres of government together to focus on key priorities and implementation of critical high impact projects.
"Working with both public and private sector partners, government is implementing a range of measures to support municipalities to address inadequate and inconsistent service delivery in areas such water provision, infrastructure build and maintenance.
"We are focusing on the appointment of properly qualified officials at a local level to ensure effective management and provision of services."
The DDM is being spearheaded by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who will oversee the roll-out of the DDM across 44 districts and the eight metros across the country.
In a September 2020 presentation, Dlamini-Zuma said that the new model will provide for a 'more tangible, common vision for development' of the country.
"By adopting a long term view and interconnecting the local economies we are able to re-imagine a better community, district and nation."
She said that government further plans to locate each district’s competitive advantage and 'utilise it for shared growth and prosperity'.
Key to the government’s plans is the introduction of ‘district hubs’ which will employ skilled people who will share their skills with local municipalities.
Some of the skills that will be targeted by these hubs include engineers, planners, ICT specialists and administrators, to the districts and local municipalities.
Each of the 52 districts have been profiled to identify the major development issues and what skills are needed.
The DDM will also lead to a drastic shift in the financial set up of the country, with the ultimate goal being to unify the finances of each district into a singular budget – known as the 'One Plan' and 'One Budget'.
Dlamini-Zuma has said that the DDM will also lead to the 'specialisation and reprioritisation' of every department, state entity and municipality’s plans and budgets.
The District Development Model is all about how we work together as one government in all our district and metropolitan spaces, even if each sphere, sector or entity has its distinct, interrelated and interdependent constitutional powers, functions and responsibilities.
"In this case working together means planning, budgeting and implementing as one, while we hold each other accountable along the process," she said.