Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Tuesday declared that the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic had exposed the weaknesses and deep fault lines in basic services, infrastructure, poverty and hunger, as well as in economic activity across rural areas, townships and semi-urban areas.
She was addressing a Ministerial round table on the District Development Model and the role of provinces and metros in driving infrastructure development.
This follows the launch today of the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa, organised by the Investment and Infrastructure Office within The Presidency.
The District Development Model is an integrated planning model for cooperative governance which seeks to be a new integrated, district-based, service delivery approach aimed at fast-tracking service delivery and ensuring that municipalities are adequately supported and resourced to carry out their mandate.
In her address, Dlamini-Zuma referenced the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which was created at the time of transition to democracy by government to look at growth, development, reconstruction, redistribution and reconciliation in a unified programme.
“The key to this link is an infrastructure programme that will provide access to modern and effective services such as electricity, water, telecommunication, transport, health, education and training for all our people, amongst others.
“The programme will both meet basic needs and open up previously suppressed economic and human potential in urban and rural areas. In turn this will lead to an increased output in all sectors of the economy by upgrading our infrastructure and human resource development which will enhance export capacity,” she said, adding that this was what government promised in 1994.
The District Development Model seeks to bring basic services closer to South Africans, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dlamini-Zuma said.
The Model also hopes to also ensure that the infrastructure built not only services the district it is in, but also reaches between districts, commercial centres and neighbouring countries.
“The South African economy cannot be an island, divorced of the economy of the continent. We must always remember that we are part of the ecosystem of the continent and that the future is intrinsically linked with the aspirations of South Africa and all of its members. It would be good to have set-out priorities and projects," Dlamini-Zuma said.
South Africa can better integrate its programmes in line with the continent, she said, if projects are clustered in line with the African Union's Agenda 2063 – Africa's blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future – and with priorities of the African Development Bank.
“If we are to integrate Africa, we must also have infrastructure that integrates Africa, whether it is roads, rail, sea, port and information technology,” she said.