National Spatial Development Programme: briefing

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

22 May 2006
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PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
23 May 2006
NATIONAL SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)

Documents handed out:
National Spatial Development Perspective presentation
Governance, Policy and Research presentation
Committee report on Budget Vote 5
Committee report on Annual Reports

SUMMARY
The Department of Provincial and Local Government met with the Committee to provide reasons for the government initiative to forge greater alignment amongst sector departments to promote meaningful development. Key aspects of the National Spatial Development Perspective policy were outlined. The national space economy was described. Integrated Development Plan hearings had produced important findings and progress on the Plan’s engagement process was outlined.

Members asked numerous questions including whether a single NSDP document was available, practical examples of the envisaged policy, the need for competent NSDP units at the municipal level, international examples of similar development models, practical examples of urban renewal programmes, the need to include provincial government in development initiatives and the importance of expanded job creation projects.

MINUTE
National Spatial Development Programme (NSDP) presentation

Mr H Mohamed (Presidency Policy Unit) provided reasons for the need for greater alignment in order to promote government efficiency. The NSDP was an overarching national spatial framework to guide government responses to developmental needs. Key modalities were outlined and practical implementation steps explained. Detail was provided on the strategic purpose and current initiatives to achieve alignment. Important questions related to the policy were conveyed and key objectives discussed. Relevant statistics on the national space economy were elucidated.

Governance, Policy and Research Programme presentation
Mr Y Patel (Department of Provincial and Local Government -Head of Planning) provided background on the concept of the developmental state and key development trends. The National Space Economy was described and strategic plans outlined. Strategic infrastructure development would be promoted. The results of Integrated Development Plan hearings were communicated. Progress on the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) engagement process was explained. A plan of action to strengthen development planning had been devised.

Discussion
Mr P Smith (IFP) asked whether a NSDP policy document was available as a single source of information. Practical examples of envisaged changes proposed by the policy were requested to place the presentations in a particular context.

Mr B Solo (ANC) suggested that Members participate in future planning summits to assist with knowledge dissemination. Certain local government structures had no NSDP unit established to drive the process.

Mr M Lekgoro (ANC) asked whether national strategies aligned to IDPs were linked to industrial development zones. He asked whether studies of similar policies in other countries had revealed workable models to apply locally.

Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) noted that the Constitution should guide the formulation of the structural framework underpinning the NSDP. He asked whether completed IDPs would be included in the framework and whether adequate community participation had taken place. Ineffective community consultation had occurred due to centralised arrangements. Various development needs had to be included into IDPs to generate a holistic approach to development. Practical examples of urban renewal programmes were requested.

Mr W Doman (DA) asked how the credibility of IDPs could be improved. Increased monitoring of provincial governments was welcomed. He asked whether municipalities would be engaged on an individual basis.

Mr D Powell (Deputy Director-General) declared that the IDP engagement process was underway. Many District municipalities had spatial development frameworks in place that were not being utilised. The linkage between local government and sector departments was necessary to achieve results. Competent development plans had to concentrate on many interconnected issues such as education and transport. Provincial sector departments were involved in spatial development plans. IDPs were being assessed on a continuous basis and a concerted effort was required to achieve results. Local government should pursue development opportunities on a massive scale in an increased timeframe.

Mr Mohamed stated that an NSDP document was available and could be made available to Members. A CD on the NSDP was available that contained relevant information on comparative models. Spatial development perspectives would facilitate alignment. A shared understanding of the policy was needed to maintain progress.

Mr Powell concurred that Members should be involved in the Growth Development Summit to acquire knowledge about the process. The Local Economic Development strategy would be discussed at public hearings.

Mr Patel declared that significant progress was occurring on the ground and a number of urban renewal examples could be provided. Broader consultation with communities was needed to advance the process. Specific units had to be created within municipalities to promote spatial development. Extensive community participation had occurred. IDPs would be incorporated over a long period of time.

Mr Mohamed stated that the Business Trust and the Department were involved in various urban renewal node projects. A socio-economic profile of nodes had to be compiled before relevant investments could be made. A national workshop involving districts and metros would be conducted on 31 May to facilitate appropriate development strategies.

Mr Solo claimed that experience on the ground portrayed an alternative picture and more focus should be placed on the provincial government level to facilitate progress in IDPs. Examples of inadequate transformation at the local government level were commonplace. Improved service delivery at the local government level had to occur.

Mr Likotsi highlighted the pervasive lack of capacity at the local government level. Enhanced management skills would reduce the prevalence of budget rollovers. Economic development had to be brought closer to communities. The previously-disadvantaged had to benefit from job creation initiatives.

Mr Smith asked whether the spatial perspective was used as a guideline to allocate funds and make decisions on infrastructure spend.

Mr Mohamed replied that the intention of the NSDP was to guide the allocation of funds. Spending should be informed by a specific area’s economic growth potential. Research was required to identify an area’s macro-economic profile.

The Chairperson stated that two national workshops on community participation had recently been conducted by the Department and IDP planning at the municipal level was a priority. A deeper community participation in the planning process had to occur. A recognised sustainable development definition was in place that arose from the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Development should include social, economic and political dimensions. The Committee would closely monitor implementation of the policy to ascertain progress and acquire a holistic picture of development actions. Members adopted two Committee reports without amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.


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