29 August 2020 - NO10
Mpumza, Mr GG to ask the Deputy President
Given that good relations between national, provincial and local government are essential in order to ensure successful service delivery, what steps has the Government taken to iron out any misunderstanding and/or misinterpretation so that the collaboration and coordination between the three spheres of government is underpinned by the attitudes and values of the developmental approach?
A salient feature of our constitutional democracy’s developmental agenda has been adding value to our people’s lives through the effective and efficient delivery of services and development to communities, coordinated across the three spheres of government with the view of maximising impact and creating cohesive and sustainable communities.
Since 1994, there have been several attempts to achieve this through the refinement of legislation, policies and implementation. Despite these attempts, in certain areas misalignment and patterns of working in silos have persisted, often resulting in inefficient patterns of infrastructure investment and blurred lines of accountability, making it difficult for monitoring and oversight of government programmes.
Simply relying on each sphere to align their plans to the others, has not adequately served its purpose in respect to strategic infrastructure investment and planning.
Following several years of implementing programmes aimed at improving service delivery and of maximising the impact of interventions on communities, we can say there are sufficient lessons we have learned that point to a need for more deliberate efforts at collaborating and coordinating across the three spheres of government.
In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the District Development Model, which is a practical realisation of our constitutional and legislative obligation to promote a cooperative government as well as provide support and oversight. The District Development Model aims to accelerate, align and integrate service delivery under a single development plan that is developed jointly by national, provincial and local government, as well as, business, labour and communities in each district.
The 44 districts and 8 metropolitan municipalities are meant to serve as development spaces, where the three spheres of government converge through targeted budgeting and a single plan. This would enable municipalities, communities and other key stakeholders to articulate the strategic support required from national and provincial government to improve prioritisation, spatial alignment of investment, and implementation. This signifies a shift from isolated planning and budgeting by the spheres to a practical intergovernmental relations mechanism for all three spheres of government to work jointly and act in unison, whilst creating a conducive environment for other development partners.
The rollout of this model has been informed and grounded by a comprehensive analysis of context, as well as, current and previous initiatives in order to adequately respond to the needs of the districts. Through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, much of the focus thus far has been on concluding the process of profiling the 52 district and metropolitan municipalities to aid in crafting of the “One-Plan”, drawing in multi-stakeholders.
This process has now been concluded and in the short-term, will allow for the reprioritisation of budgets to address the gaps identified.
Intergovernmental collaboration and coordination has been a central feature of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This period of pandemic response, has effectively necessitated that we urgently rollout the District Development Model. To this end, budgets have had to be reprioritised and members of the Executive who are also District Champions, were dispatched to embark on oversight visits to monitor provincial COVID-19 response plans.
Government is also making use of various other inter-governmental structures and fora to achieve policy coherence across all spheres of government. The President’s Coordinating Council comprising Ministers, Premiers, Executive Mayors, and the leadership of the South African Local Government Association, is one of these intergovernmental structures advancing the culture of co-operative governance and of addressing the lack of synergy between national, provincial and local government by presiding over and setting a mutual agenda for planning, policy making and law- making across the three spheres.
Further, in our delegated responsibilities as the Executive, we are engaged in a number of programmes to assist the President in his efforts to bring about inclusive economic growth and development to our people. These programmes are focused on addressing the multi-dimensions of poverty, and are aimed at ensuring the realization of an improved quality of life of all the citizens.
One such programme is our leadership of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Service Delivery, which is tasked with providing political oversight and leadership to ensure that key service delivery and development priorities are developed and implemented within the framework of the District Development Model.
Further work is being done through the Eskom Political Task Team to foster co- operation across the spheres in the recovery of municipal debt to Eskom and the recovery of debt owed to municipalities by government departments and organs of state to enable Eskom and municipalities to provide services continuously and sustainably.
These are just some of the deliberate steps taken by government to ensure collaborative and coordinated efforts in the delivery of efficient and impactful services and development to our people.