District Development Model a 'golden opportunity' - Deputy President

Friday, March 24, 2023

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has told the National Assembly that the District Development Model (DDM) presents the best way to assist municipalities to function more effectively and optimally.

The Deputy President was addressing the National Assembly for the first time in a Question and Answer session in the house on Thursday.

“The [DDM] has, in the main, been designed to ensure the delivery of services to communities in an integrated manner. In our view, the DDM is a golden opportunity to partner all spheres of government and civil society to address critical challenges confronting the people at local level, including attending to service delivery hotspots across the country.

“Through the implementation of the whole of government approach, the Presidency working with the Department of Cogta [Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs] and all relevant role players will continue to fast track the resolution of all existing service delivery challenges by developing and implementing targeted action plans involving all spheres of government,” he said.

The Deputy President added that throughout the year, “beyond providing political leadership”, he – together with the departments of Cogta, National Treasury and Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation – will be zoning in on “issues of good governance as they have been consistently flagged by the auditor general”.

“We will receive and strengthen inter-governmental relations to assist municipalities whose governance protocols are weak – resulting in a lot of financial leakages and, in some instances, collapse of the provision of basic services to communities.

“This calls on us to become more proactive and as such, compel us to develop early warning and quick mechanisms to areas where there are service delivery failures,” he said.

Deputy President Mashatile added that municipalities also require to be capacitated for these local government to be able to deliver services “more effectively”.

“What will fundamentally help us to turn around the situation, will be the full implementation of an improved District Development Model approach by implementing [it],” he said.

Jagersfontein disaster

On a question related to service delivery at the Kopanong Local Municipality where the Jagersfontein dam disaster occurred during September last year, Deputy President Mashatile said government continues to keep a close eye on that municipality.

The municipality was identified as a service delivery hotspot and a dysfunctional municipality in the 2021 State of Local Government Report.

“When the disaster occurred through the collapse of a dam wall in Jagersfontein…government moved with speed to ensure that the situation does not get worse than it already was.

“We are pleased to report that water supply in the Kopanong Municipality was restored to full capacity as part of the rapid response intervention by the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Bloem Water board.

The department and the water board in that area deployed water tankers for three months, the operationalisation of water treatment plants was completed, bulk water supply was restored and power restoration was conducted.

Mashatile said that since then, the municipality has not paid its account to the water board for bulk water supply – leading to the withdrawal of full water services.

“This has finally led to a decision by the company to once again restrict water at 30% to all nine towns in the Kopanong municipality.

“As government we remain committed to intervening in resolving the impasse. In this regard, the [DWS] is playing a coordinating role in ensuring that all stakeholders…are planning together to find a permanent solution in restoring water and waste water infrastructure,” he said.

Mashatile announced that DWS and Cogta are consulting with the Free State government to invoke Section 139 of the Constitution “which will be a targeted intervention on the water and sanitation affairs of the municipality”.

“Improvement in the delivery of services at local government level, including the provision of water and sanitation, is a critical aspect of our development agenda. It is for this reason that we are planning to conduct a series of outreach programmes with special focus on service delivery challenges at local government level.

“This is aimed at turning around the situation for the betterment of our people. We have included Kopanong as one of the areas we will also visit in the coming weeks,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za