On Saturday, 05 September 2020, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma launched the Waterberg District Development Model (DDM) Hub and introduced shared services capacity.
As one of the pilot spaces, Waterberg district is working towards achieving the goal of building a capable, ethical and developmental state characterised by service delivery to communities.
This DDM working visit gave tangible expression to section 154 of the Constitution which enjoins the national and provincial spheres to support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their affairs, exercise their powers and perform their functions.
To this end, the DDM approach advocates for the institutionalisation of District Hubs for shared services, capacitated with the necessary expertise for communal usage.
The Waterberg District Hub introduces expert capacity comprised of Engineers, Development Planner, a Financial Specialist, and the Hub Manager. The engineers we are bringing will complement and work with the already deployed ones from the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA). To ensure that there is adequate support and that all spheres play their role, a project manager will lead the coordination function linking all stakeholders. This specialised capacity will go along way to augment existing skills in each local municipalities of Waterberg District.
This additional capacity will assist to coordinate national as well as provincial support in response to shortcomings that have been identified through the Waterberg district profile.
Our inherited economic structure and patterns of ownership have compounded the undesirable levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality which led to exponential rates of migration by our people to urban and semi-urban areas in search of a better life. This less than ideal situation which is further exacerbated by perennial challenges facing our municipalities can be avoided through the creation of a conducive economic environment in all areas.
The Waterberg district has the potential to be an economic hub of the province, but we have to work hard in addressing the key challenges that have been identified as hindrances to development in this district. These challenges that have to be addressed are:
Governance and Political instability; Poor service delivery; Administration challenges and Financial management.
In recent days, the trust between government and communities has been eroded, even more, owing to the abuse of special procurement allocations necessitated by national COVID-19 response strategy. Acts of corruption must be shunned upon with the disdain they deserve, especially as far as they relate to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) meant to save lives.
From the discussions at the engagement by delegates representing various sectors, the DDM is definitely a catalyst for our development founded on the principles of integrated service delivery and bringing government closer to the people. However, for the DDM approach to achieve the intended socioeconomic impact, we need to engender gender-responsive budgeting to narrow the inequality gap because when we invest in women we invest in the growth and development of society.
For Waterberg to achieve inclusive sustainable development, we need to exploit the geographical positioning and well-endowed mineral and agrarian typography of the district as outlined by the district profile.
The profile has given us a blueprint to reimagine Waterberg through leveraging on the potential economic value-chain embedded in agro-processing, domestic and international tourism, wildlife, game farming, mining, energy generation and many other opportunities.
As we embark on this long-term developmental trajectory we must invest in research and development as well as social partnerships with traditional leaders, civil society, women and youth formations in particular, as well as business through the Public-Private Growth Initiatives.
During this time of the pandemic, we have adopted the DDM approach as a vehicle for an integrated and coordinated COVID-19 response plan. To this effect, we have managed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus nationally and we have seen Waterberg moving from being the provincial epicentre to the level of manageable cases.
Regrettably, this period has also exposed challenges that women still face in our communities. We have seen during the lockdown period, GBVF reported cases increasing at an unacceptable speed and this should concern all of us. In this regard, we call upon all men and boys to stand with women in pursuit of Generation Equality.
In re-imagining the current Waterberg, we should be guided by our long-term plan and capitalising on low hanging fruits that can be tapped into so as to improve the lives of our communities. In implementing DDM and ensuring that all role players play their part, we have an opportunity to translate our plans into tangible socio-economic benefits for the people of Waterberg.
Going forward, the DDM will be institutionalised through regulations. This will assist to ensure that we address the shortfalls in local government to ensure that it is able to leverage opportunities for integrated planning required by the DDM. The one plan should be an expression of plans of municipalities as outline in the Integrated Development Plans (IDP), national and provincial spheres programmes which are linked to the budgets to ensure that funds are available for implementation.
Government is also working on repurposing and rationalising the municipal grants to deliver services like the maintenance of infrastructure within the context of the DDM. All of this should find expression in the one plan of Waterberg as part of the key initiatives prioritized by stakeholders across the three spheres with more emphasis placed on changing lives. This is because the one plan is a collaborative product that is premised on all of society’s active participation involving not only the government, but all sectors.
Now that the District Hub has been launched, it is important that it becomes a means of coordinating planning and ensuring shared municipal support in an integrated manner. This will definitely go a long way to achieve the delivery we want as part of implementing DDM.
This launch of the hub signifies unlocking the potential of the district with women being an integral cog to transforming our economic structure. Through deliberate and targeted skills development programmes as well as harnessing innovation from tertiary institutions we can catapult the district to greater economic heights. Working with traditional leaders we should accelerate access to land especially for women, and similarly working with the business we must diversify the economic structure of the district.
“Now is the time to act and implement our plans so that we can unleash the district’s economic potential for community-wide beneficiation”, said Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
By all playing our part, we can transform district spaces for inclusive socio-economic growth and development, district by district.
Enquiries: Lungi Mtshali Cell: 082 088 5060