The Department of Cooperative Governance recently concluded its three year Network of Tuscan and South African Local Governments (NETSAFRICA) partnership which was funded by the Italian government. Its aim was to consolidate the role of local institutions in the realisation of effective policies and services to alleviate poverty and improve community access to basic services.
NETSAFRICA is a network of Italian and South African local governments aimed at promoting partnerships, exchanging expertise among partners and strengthening targeted institutions using a “practitioner to practitioner” approach.
Under the NETSAFRICA partnership four municipalities were supported to enhance their capacity to formulate policies and implement initiatives to alleviate poverty and improve people’s, within the selected municipalities, access to basic services within the context of the National Framework for Local Economic Development.
In November 2007 the Government of Italy and the Regional Government of Tuscany undertook a joint assessment mission to identify possible areas of cooperation between the two countries.
In 2008 the programme’s proposal was approved with an overall budget of € 4 million and this marked the official beginning of the programme which resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2009.
In the conference held in Pretoria recently to mark the end of this partnership, the delegates from both countries reflected on its successes.
Under the NETSAFRICA partnership, four municipalities - Buffalo City Metro, OR Tambo District Municipality, Ekurhuleni Metro and Metsweding District Municipality - were supported.
In Buffalo City, the partnership improved the ward-based planning system which capacitated ward 15 and 40 communities to pro-actively identify their own developmental needs and engage their municipality through a participatory approach. The municipality was also assisted with its pilot project to promote agricultural cooperatives.
In OR Tambo District the partnership contributed to the development of local informal trade at Lusikisiki and the learned lessons will be shared with all municipalities in the district.
In Ekurhuleni the NETSAFRICA partnership is assisting with the testing of a model aimed at improving municipal waste services by involving Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) in the two pilot areas of Wattville and Actonville.