New district model to be rolled out across South Africa by 2021

Government will speed up the roll-out of the District Development Model to 23 districts by the end of 2020, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The model aims to allow for more specific service delivery and budget considerations ‘at a district-level’.

Under the model, all three spheres of government coordinate and integrate development plans and budgets while also mobilising the capacity and resources of government and civil society, including business, labour and community, in pursuit of inclusive growth and job creation.

“We plan to continue with the roll-out of the model until we have reached all 44 districts and all eight metros.  We have agreed that in this year we will launch in 23 districts, with all 52 concluded by August 2021.

“This is a feasible time frame and must be adhered to,” Ramaphosa said at the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting on Friday (28 February).

Teething problems

Ramaphosa noted that the pilot projects in the OR Tambo District Municipality, Waterberg District Municipality and Ethekwini Metropolitan municipalities have had teething problems which government was also looking to address.

He pointed to persistent problems around lack of coordination, insufficient clarity on the rationale behind certain projects, and skills deficits to name but a few.

“We must accept that no two districts are the same.  The most critical need of one may be water reticulation, and in another it could be a shortage of primary schools,” he said.

“We can no longer apply a one-size-fits-all approach.  Once the district profiles are completed and gap analyses done we will have a clear line of sight.”

Reinventing the wheel 

While Ramaphosa noted that the new district model will help consolidate parts of government, he warned that it was not possible to constantly ‘re-invent the wheel’.

“We must wean ourselves off the habit of every year launching one project after another, with fancy names to even greater fanfare, only for them to lose momentum or even disappear a year later,” he said.

“Fixing the fundamentals means that we should make existing programmes work better, by injecting new resources or redesigning them or realigning them, instead of coming with something new when it is not necessary.

“We must apply ourselves with energy and vigour to implementing our national priorities within available resources, and this necessitates creative thinking,” he said.

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New district model to be rolled out across South Africa by 2021