On Monday, 15 March 2021 the Director-General (DG) of the Department of Cooperative Governance, Ms Avril Williamson delivered the keynote address during the Port St Johns (PSJ) Local Municipality Strategic Planning Session on behalf of the Minister of COGTA, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The strategic planning session presented an opportunity to reflect on the performance of PSJ and to reimagine its future within the context of the District Development Model (DDM).
The PSJ local municipality is in an important position as it is located within the first pilot site launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa – the OR Tambo District Municipality. During her keynote address, the DG reflected on the endowment of the PSJ, and a pristine coastal line complemented by fertile land which is home to diverse flora and fauna under state and communal ownership, as well as a rich history and heritage.
Comparatively PSJ and the entire district have untapped potential and an unmatched potential for ecotourism and diversified marine biology. The DG further spoke about the spatial construct of 600KMs between eThekwini and Buffalo City which does not have a city in between and could be an integral part of the coastal belt plan linking Alexander Bay to Kosi Bay with inland and other hub development.
As part of the way forward, the DG emphasised the institutionalisation of long-range planning through the DDM as a key element to realising the potential of a new coastal city. She emphasised the importance of IDPs which are more central to people development service provision and good governance.
To this end, the IDPs and One Plan have to be integrated so as to have a positive impact on communities. The OR Tambo DDM Hub is important as it is an extension of the CoGTA support system and a resource capacity for all municipalities in the OR Tambo district particularly as it pertains to shared services to facilitate integrated planning across the three spheres of government.
Moreover, the DG emphasised continued support of the pilot and PSJ through the Hub which is championing the development of master plans for water, electricity, sanitation and road infrastructure to drive inclusive and integrated development for the community of PSJ.
DG Williamson appreciated the opportunity to attend the session which is crafting the way forward for PSJ guided by the DDM and wished the municipality and all its stakeholders well as they deliberate and charting the way forward.