Piloted District Development Model in three district municipalities; Policy Framework on the Integrated Planning to improve institutionalisation and harmonisation in the planning system; with Deputy Minister
Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
09 November 2022
Chairperson: Mr T James (ANC)
The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration met with the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), and with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), to receive briefings on the Policy Framework on the Integrated Planning to improve institutionalisation and harmonisation in the planning system and on the piloted District Development Model in three district municipalities.
The DPME took the Committee through the Policy Framework for Integrated Planning. It indicated that the Policy Framework had been developed over time and worked at putting various types of planning policies and frameworks into a single framework and seeing how the integrated frameworks operated together to improve the achievement of the development results. The Policy Framework for Integrated Planning represented an important building block in the efforts to build a capable developmental and ethical state in line with the National Development Plan 2030 and the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2019-2024.
The DPME also highlighted some of the aims of the Policy Framework and some of the challenges experienced during the process of the Policy Framework. As a way of addressing the issues of the framework, the Department established what it referred to as the theory of change to improve the development outcomes.
CoGTA presented the District Development Model and the progress made thus far. The presentation was a joint effort between the DPME and CoGTA, with highlights, and valuable experiences and lessons gained from the three pilot sites which had put the CoGTA on a good path and a firm foundation to strengthen the institutionalisation of the DDM.
CoGTA presentation gave an overview of the key message from the November 2020 presentation to the Portfolio Committee. It gave a recap on the objectives and principles of the District Development Model. The presentation touched on the three pilot sites, providing background and the progress made.
The Committee Members were given an opportunity to raise their concerns and comments in relation to the two presentations respectively. There was a robust discussion from the Committee Members with comments made on both presentations. Concerning the presentation from the DPME, concerns were raised about the offices of the Premiers capabilities and capacity to drive planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the implementation requirements in the planning cycle, including the alignment of plans and resources. The Committee voiced its reservations about technocratically managing and constructing the system to just make the planning flow.
The Committee sought clarity on the role of evaluation units across the public service in monitoring the implementation of the DDM. Was there any set of indicators for the policy framework to measure the performance of the model across all districts to ensure uniformity, and how often would the expected deliverables be reported on.
The Chairperson outlined the agenda and stated that the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation would brief the Committee on the Policy Framework for Integrated Planning to improve institutionalisation and harmonisation in the planning system. The policy would be used to develop the Integrated Framework Bill, which was renamed the National Planning Development Bill in 2022. The DPME, in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, would also be briefing the Committee on the comprehensive report on the piloted District Development Model in three district municipalities. The District Development Model was presented on 4 November 2020, and the presentation focused on the model itself and not the pilot project. The Departments would be presenting the lessons learned to determine the efficacy of the model.
The Chairperson also indicated the apologies of the day from Mr Obed Bapela, the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Mondli Gungubele, Minister in the Presidency, Mr C Sibisi (NFP), Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP), and Dr L Schreiber (DA).
He handed over the virtual platform to the Deputy Minister to share opening remarks before the presentation.
The Chairperson experienced connectivity issues but quickly returned to the platform.
There was an apology registered on behalf of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, who could not attend the meeting due to other commitments.
Opening remarks from the Deputy Minister
Ms Pinky Kekana, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, introduced the team that would be presenting and indicated that it was led by the Deputy Director-General, Dr Annette Griessel. She apologised for her inconsistency throughout the meeting as she was to be in two meetings which would have been occurring simultaneously.
Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation briefing
Dr Annette Griessel, Deputy Director General: National Planning Coordination, Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), indicated that she would be presenting the Policy Framework for Integrated Planning. She highlighted that the Policy Framework was developed over time, and it worked at putting various types of planning policies and frameworks into one single framework and seeing how they would operate together to improve the achievement of the Development results.
The report would focus on the rationale and on where planning came from within the Democracy, the importance of Integrated Planning, the aims of the Policy Framework, lessons learned from other countries, applicable planning legislation, policies and frameworks, the problem statement, theory of change, and finally the Policy recommendations.
The Policy Framework for Integrated Planning represented an important building block in efforts to build a capable developmental and ethical state in line with the National Development Plan 2030 and the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2019-2024. It also took to build on existing progress in the planning system to address gaps in the public policy and planning landscape. The purpose of the Policy Framework was to strengthen integrated planning toward achieving the country’s development goals.
Further details on some of the previous policies and legislation as a part of the background of the framework would be discussed later in the presentation.
The rationale of the policy, as stated, was that it provided a framework for an improved, coherent, predictable, and integrated planning system within and across all spheres of government as well as with social partners. The framework also provided the basis for ensuring that planning systems and instruments better contributed to policy coherence, achieving South Africa’s development goals, and improving the lives of the citizenry. It promoted better coordination, collaboration, and alignment of planning within the framework of short, medium, and long-term planning.
Different waves of planning reforms existed in the country’s planning system since the inception of Democracy. The first wave consisted of setting the foundations of planning between 1994 - 2000. The second wave was the driving coordination and intergovernmental relations from 2001 - 2008. The third wave consisted of the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Centre of Government from 2009 -2019. The fourth wave was the advancement of the institutionalisation of planning for development from 2019 and beyond.
Despite the progress made with the framework, several challenges were encountered in the planning system. Planning instruments did not sufficiently prioritise policy interventions and development goals and translate those into measurable outputs, outcomes, and impacts. There had been a lack of coherent planning policies and legislation to harmonise the planning system, and a lack of alignment of planning frameworks guiding state-owned entities.
Integrated planning would assist government in ensuring that planning legislation, policies, and frameworks were coherent and coordinated to deliver on government priorities. It would enable government to improve synergies and eliminate the duplication of efforts in providing services to the people of South Africa. Integrated planning harnesses multiple efforts and resources towards optimising results, outcomes, and development impacts while providing for customisation and prioritisation at the sector, provincial, local, and program levels.
The framework aims to promote improved integration and harmonisation of planning across the planning system, including national, provincial, local government, and state-owned companies. The framework also aimed to improve the coherence of the existing policies, frameworks, and legislation that guided integrated planning which would improve planning and enhance the implementation of programmes and the delivery of results.
Some of the key functions of planning at the centre of government included, but were not limited to: the planning cycle and five-year development plans, the capacity to diagnose developmental challenges and set priorities, and policy coordination design and implementation and alignment of line ministries with central planning instruments.
The international benchmarking case studies were available in the main policy document.
The presentation indicated a high-level depiction of the problem with the planning system. The main issue was that there was inadequate integration in the current planning system in a manner that ensured policy coherence and optimised implementations and results toward the achievement of the country’s medium and long-term development goals.
To address the issues, the Department established what was referred to as the theory of change to improve the development outcomes.
She outlined some of the outcomes of the theory of change and some policy recommendations. She said long-term National Development Plans were reviewed and revised every ten years based on extensive research and consultations across the three spheres of government and with social partners. National sector and cluster plans had to be aligned with the medium and long-term development plans. There had to be an enabling environment for undertaking development and institutional planning.
The Department had undertaken considerable consultation on the Policy Framework, which was listed in detail in the presentation.
Ms M Kibi (ANC) welcomed the presentation by the DPME. She asked whether the offices of the Premiers are well capacitated to drive planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the implementation requirements in the planning cycle, which also includes the alignment of plans and resources.
She said that the move toward digitised and analytical frameworks had to be fully supported to assess plans across the spheres of government. She asked whether the Department had the power to produce evidence-based and result-based planning and budgeting across the three spheres of government.
One of the aims of the framework was to build on existing progress to address gaps in the planning system. Ms Kibi asked for clarity on the existing gaps in the planning system which led to the development of the policy framework.
She asked whether Cabinet had adopted the policy framework for implementation in the three spheres of government. Were the provinces aware of the policy framework and had it been institutionalised and incorporated into their planning development model if they were aware of it?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) welcomed the presentation from the DPME and made a few remarks on it. He said that some of his comments were based on his previous working relationship and experience in the provincial government of the Western Cape. He said his position in the Premier's office gave him a unique and valuable insight into how the system worked, making one appreciate the planning and evaluation process. There were complexities involved in government planning given that there were mandates derived from various quarters, namely the Constitution, legislation, and other parties. He also mentioned that at a local level, the inputs from IDP consultations needed to be considered. There were complexities involved in the processes, as priorities and intentions had to be embedded in departmental budgets and APP, or else they would be null and void. The biggest government problem was that whatever got lost on the agenda never got done, and those were operational concerns and delays that the Committee continued to face. There was often informal territoriality within departments and informal hierarchies that dampened progress within the departments. Those issues had to not be underestimated.
Mr Mbhele raised his reservations about technocratically managing and constructing the system to just make the planning flow because there would always be obstacles that it faced. He asked whether there should be a paradigm shift, one which would provide a facilitation approach of an optimal ecosystem with the relevant stakeholders as opposed to the government planning and implementing roadmaps on its own. He suggested that there should be a synergised plan that encouraged collaboration and facilitated the roles of the different players. He said there should be collaboration in implementation, resource mobilisation, and implementation of the efforts on the ground.
He asked for clarity on how the policy framework could complement the inter-governmental relations framework Act. He indicated that when the South African Police Service in Cape Town remained under-resourced and the Metro police filled in the gaps, it did not help when the police minister stigmatised those efforts.
Ms M Ntuli (ANC) welcomed the presentation from the DPME. She said that she was covered by Ms Kibi in most of her questions and concerns. She asked for clarity on whether the policy was in alignment with the Inter-Governmental Relations Framework Act, and if the Department could elaborate on the angles that had been intertwined thus far.
Ms C Motsepe (EFF) asked whether the Department had thoroughly planned out before introducing the policy framework and if the policy would indeed make an impact in the Department. She said the Committee appreciated the efforts made which would be in the best interest of the country. She asked for clarity on what made the Department confident that the policy would be effective, corruption free, and fully accountable.
Response from the DPME
Dr Griessel thanked the Committee Members for the comments and questions. Regarding the question from Ms Kibi on whether the Premiers’ office was well capacitated to drive planning, monitoring, and evaluation, she said that the Department remained of the view that the entire planning system was not fully capacitated. She said that historically there had been an emphasis on monitoring, but not on planning. The Premiers’ office had often raised the issue with the Department, and it was an issue high up on its agenda to work with both the DPSA and the Premiers’ office to have a scientific evaluation of the requirements of planning at a provincial level. She agreed that there needed to be better planning capacity across all Government spheres.
She agreed with the suggestion to have a fully digitised framework to assess plans across the Government. She indicated that one of the Department's projects was to look at the automation of planning in order to eliminate the manual labour that was involved in planning systems.
There was a lot of evidence-based planning, in that some of the requirements were that the Department would have to do an annual situational analysis as it undertook its planning. There needed to be a systematised knowledge hub. The results-based management and outcomes-based approaches had been with the government for the last ten years, but the Department believed that it had not entirely been institutionalised. Departments often felt they had control over the development of a report and no control over the number of jobs created. The DPME continued to work with the departments to produce those results-based indicators. The Department of Health had implemented the results-based indicators successfully and other departments were still lagging. The issue of results-based budgeting was something that National Treasury had been evaluating, i.e., spending reviews.
A research study was conducted, which was a diagnostic of the state of planning at the national and provincial levels. The study underlined some of the challenges and gaps, and one such was that planning instruments had not sufficiently prioritised policy interventions and had not translated the development goals. The key parts of the improvement plan had to be implemented in the planning of the departments. Provincial and national departments had not adequately disaggregated their plans within a particular district scale.
The DPME had been in consultation with the provinces on the Policy Framework, and it considered, existing policies and legislation applicable at the municipal level. The DPME had an implementation plan that would take effect from the current quarter.
She agreed with the points raised by Mr Mbhele and said that the DPME worked closely with all the provincial governments, and there were indeed considerable complexities within the system. Unpacking the different processes and looking at how the pieces fit together, there could certainly be an improvement made to the planning system. Certain issues could not be solved through planning systems alone, such as organisational culture but the planning system could assist in addressing the issues. How all departments approached planning had been technocratic, not disputing that there were no bottlenecks. Part of the responsibility of public service was to ensure that bottlenecks were unclogged and to address the existing issues.
The DPME was of the view that the position of the current government already addressed the concerns raised by Mr Mbhele; there was a focus on building an ecosystem to address the issues faced within the government departments. The National Economic Development and Labour Council is one of the bodies that play a critical role in driving the ideas of synergy. The DPME fully agreed with the Committee Members on the ideas of collaboration.
The Policy Framework gave expression to the constitutional imperatives of cooperative governance. The DPME worked closely with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) to promote inter-governmental relations and collaborations within the planning space.
There were instances where narrow political interests that overrode the interests of the citizenry and it was an issue that needed to be looked at carefully.
The DPME had adopted an approach where there needed to be an overall agreed strategy aimed at achieving sustainable results while having corrective action based on the immediate results. If the policy framework was implemented effectively, it would improve the quality of life of South African citizens. A significant number of issues still needed to be worked on.
Opening Remarks from the Director-General of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General, CoGTA, highlighted that the Department's last appearance before the Committee was in November 2020 and the focus was on the objectives and principles of the District Development Model (DDM). The initial discussions on the implementation plan were between CoGTA and the DPME at the time. She indicated that the presentation would be a joint presentation, with highlights, and valuable experiences and lessons gained from the three pilot sites which had put the Department on a good path and a firm foundation to strengthen the institutionalisation of the DDM.
She proceeded to introduce the presenter, Mr Ashley Losch.
Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs briefing
Mr Ashley Losch, Inter-Governmental Advisor, CoGTA, took the Committee through the implementation overview from the three pilot sites of the District Development Model. He outlined some of the key points that the presentation would address.
He presented that there was a joint presentation in November 2020 that was made to the Committee, and it was aimed at giving the Committee an overview of the DDM. The presentation also focused on the role of the DPME in the DDM, and the progress made. The presentation also highlighted the case study of the DDM concerning the work in the Harry Gwala District.
The DDM was a new integrated planning model for cooperative governance that sook to foster an integrated and district-based delivery approach aimed at fast-tracking service delivery and ensuring that municipalities were adequately supported and resources to carry out its mandates. It validated local government as an epicentre for development.
The DDM implementation approach consisted of four phases. It was established between August 2019 and March 2020; the piloting phase occurred between August 2019 and March 2021. Currently, the DDM is in its institutionalisation phase which began in April 2021 and was to end in March 2025. CoGTA would be reviewing the underpinning strategic objectives and focus areas for the current phase of institutionalisation of the DDM, and the sustainability phase based on lessons learned. The fourth phase consisted of Sustainability which was forecasted for April 2025 and onwards.
The President assigned the coordination of the DDM to the Minister of CoGTA. Among other objectives, the Department was expected to enable integrated planning and delivery in all district and metro spaces.
The DPME had a planning and oversight function, which included both the national and provincial departments. The Presidential Steering Committee on the DDM was chaired by the DPME’s Planning Coordination.
The DDM’s technical support hubs were conceived as a functional network of support and a facilitation system for inter-governmental planning, budgeting, and implementation concerning the district and the metropolitan space. Specifically concerning the development, approval, and implementation of One Plans.
The OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape, the eThekwini Metropolitan area in KwaZulu- Natal, and Waterberg District in Limpopo were announced as the three DDM implementation pilot sites in August 2019, through a Cabinet resolution. The pilot sites collectively contributed more than 10% to the GDP of the country and housed more than six million people.
The DDM’s coordination structures had been established and those structures would be strengthened to effectively manage the DDM institutionalisation in the pilots across the three spheres including participation by civil society and the private sector. There were current plans to institutionalise the Joint Programme Management Approach through IG clusters and work streams to ensure effective implementation of DDM and the One Plans.
Final One Plans had been developed for all three pilot sites and all three had been assessed by the inter-governmental One Plan Quality Assurance panel coordinated by CoGTA.
The DDM had to be fully integrated into the existing planning systems and not understood as creating an additional layer of planning. Achieving the DDM’s policy objectives requires utilising and improving the existing systems of the Government. Implementing the DDM should strengthen and promote better coordination and alignment at various levels.
Ms Kibi appreciated the presentation from CoGTA. She referred to the lack of participation of sector departments in the Development Plan mentioned in the presentation and asked for clarity on which departments had not been participating.
She asked for clarity on the interventions explored to ensure that projects were taken seriously by all role players in the DDM. She also asked for clarity on the interventions put in place to ensure better integration of projects, especially related to the provision of bulk infrastructure and budget allocation.
The presentation highlighted that there were departments wherein the inter-governmental framework would be used as a tool to measure the implementation of One Plans. She asked whether DPME was the only department to monitor the implementation of the DDM and asked for clarity on the role of evaluation units across the public service in monitoring the implementation of the DDM. Were there any set of indicators for the policy framework to measure the performance of the model across all districts to ensure uniformity, and how often the expected deliverables would be reported on?
Mr Mbhele welcomed the presentation from CoGTA. He said that the intention would never be to undermine the efforts of the officials who have been a part of driving the processes and systems, as they were merely the policy implementers and not the initiators. The Committee had to perform its rigorous oversight of those issues.
He indicated that his response to the presentation by CoGTA was one of panic and confusion because it looked like a rearrangement while a ship visibly sank. He said he was struggling to see the value-add and practicality. It sounded as though there was a lot of uncertainty within the CoGTA.
He referred to the ground pilot site in the eThekwini Metro. The media had exposed, in the past, the infrastructural and service delivery failures in the Metro. He asked where the DDM had aligned, harmonised, and assisted with that issue. He said that if real-time issues were not being dealt with on the ground, there was no work being done. It would be understandable if perhaps it was still in the early stages of the process.
He asked for clarity on how Operation Vulindlela was harmonised.
Ms Motsepe asked for clarity on the criteria used to prioritise the provinces regarding the DDM. COGTA should provide the reason for excluding other provinces, because the three spheres needed to work simultaneously.
Response from CoGTA
Mr Losch said that CoGTA had undertaken several support initiatives in spreading the message of the DDM to all the departments, through various engagements. Through the Ministry, COGTA engaged with other Ministers and Deputy Ministers to understand the DDM concept, objectives, purpose, and how to institutionalise the DDM within the respective departments. There had been a hands-on support approach to a select number of national departments that CoGTA had worked with in building DDM objectives and principles.
The Department had reorganised itself to focus on providing proper DDM support to the provinces and districts, for example, the establishment of provincial support teams which provided technical guidance and technical support to their respective provinces and various districts and metros. The work done by the Department in the past few months had started to bear fruits, one or two departments had started to embrace the DDM and those departments had started thinking through how to incorporate the DDM into their strategic plans and processes. There were other initiatives through the Presidential DDM steering committee chaired by the DPME and co-chaired by CoGTA, that looked at work streams that would support the departments and strengthen the DDM’s contribution. This formed a part of the intervention of getting commitments from sector departments into the One Plan, and it made reviewing and updating the One Plan quite critical. While in that process, the lessons learned and the experiences gained from the previous One Plan development and formulation process were being responded to and addressed. The approaches were being used to ensure that sector departments were not just participating through the various DDM structures but there was also a commitment from those departments. He highlighted that those processes took time, and the implementation was still a learning process for all parties involved.
All the departments across the three spheres of government and the stakeholders had to date contributed and provided insight into the DDM’s indicator monitoring system. The project had not belonged to CoGTA or the DPME only. He stated that tweaks were being made to the system so there was no finalised system yet. It was hoped that the implementation of the DDM could be monitored every quarter culminating in quarterly and annual reports using the set of indicators.
He stated that the Department had been able to bring the development of the DDM vision and objectives in line with what was required in government in real time. The eThekwini case was a good test case where the Department managed to bring what was required on hand into the DDM frameworks. There was no disjuncture of what would be in the One Plan and what was required in terms of immediate support and interventions in that space.
Mr V Rabothata, Director, CoGTA responding to the question on the value add of the DDM, said that for the first time through the DDM, all three spheres of government, including the private sector that operated in the 52 districts and metros would have had a common understanding of the challenges that were at play in the district and metro space. The understanding would inform the development of the One Plan referred to in the presentation. The One Plans were intergovernmental plans jointly developed by the three spheres of government for a particular district or metro. The Department was of the view that the introduction of the DDM would ‘practicalise’ the inter-governmental relations in the country, by facilitating integrated learning, facilitating integrated budgets, and integrated implementation.
The meeting was adjourned.
James, Mr TH
Gondwe, Dr M
Kekana, Ms PS
Kibi, Ms MT
Malomane, Ms VP
Maneli, Ms ST
Mbhele, Mr ZN
McGluwa, Mr JJ
Mgweba, Ms T
Motsepe, Ms CCS
Nothnagel, Dr J
Ntuli, Ms M M
Pilane-Majake, Dr MC
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