Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has signed the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development on Wednesday.
This follows the Presidential Minute and the Instrument of Full Powers which authorises the CoGTA minister with Full Powers to sign, subject to ratification of the Charter.
The Charter is a framework within which the countries are to develop their own regulatory framework based on decentralisation principles.
Article 15 of the Charter prescribes that local government or local authorities integrate gender, youth and disability issues in the overall process of formulating policy, planning for development and providing services, as well as in implementing, monitoring and evaluating development programs and projects.
Local governments or local authorities must also promote and ensure the equal and effective participation of women, youth and people with disabilities in public life, leadership and management positions on all matters relating to local governance and local development.
Dlamini-Zuma said that the Decentralisation Charter would enforce the efforts for the emancipation of women and the provision of services to all people especially in the rural areas.
“It is great that we are launching this charter during a month when we celebrate the contribution of women who bravely occupied the frontlines of the liberation struggle. 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,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma said that the signing of the Charter was an important milestone in fulfilling the aspirations and developmental ambitions of people.
“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, government had geared towards decentralisation, localised financing, and the spatial referencing of all development goals and projects.
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.
Dlamini-Zuma said that the signing of the Charter would help accelerate the implementation of the District Development Model as well as to strengthen the collaboration of the three spheres to work as one government.
“We are also confident that this Charter will assist us to illuminate the way towards progressive Pan-Africanism, by fostering exchanges and collaboration among our local governments. 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 added.