Thursday, 26 August 2021

Durban: South Africa’s signing of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development will help to accelerate the implementation of the District Development Model.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the Charter would also strengthen the collaboration of the three spheres to work as one government serving the diverse needs of society.

The Minister made the remarks during the signing and launch of the African Charter in Durban on Wednesday.

“We are also confident that this Charter will assist us to illuminate the way towards progressive Pan-Africanism, by fostering exchanges and collaboration amongst our local governments,” she said.

She reiterated that the South African government remained committed to the African Agenda. These include strengthening of the African Union and supporting efforts to promote democracy, peace, stability, and development in our Continent, she said.

“We look forward to inviting all of you again when we celebrate the eventual ratification of this important Charter, which we have no doubt will be very soon,” she said.

Dlamini Zuma said government’s system was geared towards serving the needs of citizens.

“We have the ultimate responsibility to ensure the voices of our people inform everything we do. The institutions of local governance are amongst the most effective instruments for our people to be active participants in improving their lives,” she said.

She said the signing of the Decentralisation Charter was as an important milestone in fulfilling the aspirations and developmental ambitions of the public.

In taking forward the June 2014 commitments made by the Heads of State and Government in Malabo, she said government was recommitting to the African Charter on Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development.

“For us this instrument is critical to the realisation and harmonisation of local action with national, regional and continental plans including the Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area,” she said.

Through the recently adopted District Development Model, she said government had geared all of government and society towards decentralisation, localised financing, and the spatial referencing of all our development goals and projects.

The New District Development Model builds on the White Paper on Local Government (1998), which locates the role of local government as critical in “rebuilding local communities and environments, as the basis for a democratic, integrated, prosperous and truly non-racial society”.

“This model is a practical Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) mechanism for all three spheres of government to work jointly and to plan and act in unison,” she said.

The model consists of a process by which joint and collaborative planning is undertaken at local, district and metropolitan spheres together by all three spheres of government resulting in a single strategically focussed Joined-Up plan (One Plan) for each of the 44 districts and 8 metropolitan geographic spaces in the country.

She noted that it was significant that the charter was being launched in August, the month in which women are being celebrated for bravely occupying the frontlines of the liberation struggle.

She said: “This struggle for women to have full participation in all areas of human endeavour, be it political, economic, social, academic, judiciary, scientific, research, cultural to name but a few.

“We also seek to reverse the legacy of the subjugation and oppression of millions of our people, blacks in general and Africans in particular, the majority of whom are women who bear the brunt of poverty, hunger, landlessness, economic exclusion and inequality and many other problems.”

She said women continue to face a different struggle, that of gender-based violence. This week reports of the brutal murder of Nosicelo Mtebeni, a law student at the University of Fort Hare, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend.

“We condemn her murder and call for justice, a successful conviction, and the strongest sentence for her murderer.” she said.

The Minister said the decentralisation charter will enforce the efforts for the emancipation of women and the provision of services to all people especially in the rural areas, majority of which women, children and youth.