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Mufamadi: Parliamentary Media Briefing, February 2003 (20/02/2003)

20th February 2003

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Date: 20/02/2003
Source: Ministry of Provincial and Local Government
Title: Mufamadi: Parliamentary Media Briefing, February 2003


PARLIAMENTARY MEDIA BRIEFING, BY THE MINISTER OF PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, MR SYDNEY MUFAMADI, ON THE INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (ISRDP) AND THE URBAN RENEWAL PROGRAMME (URP), 20 February 2003

Background:

President's State of the Nation Address - Confirmed our determination to push back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment. This determination finds expression in a number of programmes; of prominence amongst these are the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme (ISRDP) and Urban Renewal Programme (URP).

You will be given a document, which indicates what we have been doing in each of the 21 nodes, but you will notice from the beginning that these nodes have a number of common features. These features speak to the urgent necessity for us to work systematically towards ending the legacy of decades of neglect. These are areas where poverty is at its most endemic; there is poverty of income, which derives from the unavailability of employment opportunities. These areas either have no decent social and economic infrastructure, or where it exists it is either in a state of decay and/or collapse. The urban nodes are pockets of poverty characterised by all manner of problems including overcrowding and high incidents of crime.

All in all, it is estimated that the nodes are home to 10 million people. Successful implementation of these programmes will alter previous allocative patterns. In the past, these areas were allocated disproportionately low resources. They have now been targeted for continuing state attention, which guarantees a better life for the people in these areas.

Sustainability:

The two programmes are conceived as ten-year initiatives. This explains why we are insisting that anchor projects must be conceived within the context of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of the municipalities concerned. We are also insisting that these projects must fit into the Provincial Growth and Development Strategies (PGDS) of the respective provinces. The synchronisation between local anchor projects, municipal IDPs and provincial PGDS is an indispensable condition for the sustainability of the two programmes.

It bears emphasising that another element without which the sustainability of these programmes cannot be guaranteed is robust local institutional capacity. We have had to meet the challenge of simultaneously putting in place basic local government systems while taking on board the management of these two programmes. To that extent government made available R65 million for institutional capacity building in the 13 ISRDP nodes. We have also established Planning Implementation Management Support (PIMS) centres with the immediate aim of using them as a support base for the development of local project management capacities.

In the State of the Nation Address, the President made reference to government's intention to create a public service echelon of multi-skilled community development workers. The need for the cultivation for this kind of cadre ship is most apparent in the development nodes. We are also looking at using the PIMS centres as a base for the provision of institutional support and training to Community Development Workers.

Infrastructure:

A total of 350 anchor projects have been identified. These straddle a number of sectors. In the ISRDP for instance, 68% of the projects are infrastructure related 18% are focused on economic development while projects focusing on social development and capacity building make up 10% and 4% respectively. This trend is similar to the URP where 66% of the projects are infrastructure related, 21% economic development and 6% are social development.

Emphasis on infrastructure has to do with our intention t create conditions for sustainable local economic development. In the process of constructing infrastructure jobs will be created, some permanent others temporary. The permanent jobs will arise out of the continuing need for infrastructure maintenance.

The President also spoke of the need to intensify the social grants' registration process and simultaneously take steps to reduce dependency and extricate poor people from conditions of underdevelopment and entrenched poverty. Given the prevalence of poverty in the nodes, we must expect than many of the prospective beneficiaries of these social grants will come from the nodal areas. However, the modest rate at which our economy is currently growing cannot sustain the relief assistance we seek to give. Government's intention to launch an expanded Public Works Programme (PWP) will ensure that we draw significant numbers of the unemployed into productive work. The expanded Public Works Programme will also add to the resources, which are being allocated towards development in the nodal areas. More importantly, the Public Works Programmes will provide jobs to people who would otherwise have to continue to rely on social grants.

For the current financial year, R960 million is allocated to the implementation of anchor projects in rural nodes. R2.1 billion is allocated to municipalities that are home to urban renewal nodes and part of this will be used for the implementation of anchor projects in the urban nodes. Coupled with the proposed expanded Public Works Programmes and other grants that will be given particularly to local government, this will result in more impetus being given to the implementation of the two programmes in nodal municipalities.

Conclusion:

We have given you a document, which gives you an indication of what is being done in each of the 21 nodes. You will notice that in essence the work, which is being done in these nodes, is giving effect to a number government's policy goals:

i) In many of the infrastructure related projects use is being made of local contractors. This has the effect of empowering people who were marginalized from the mainstream economy. It is also generating local incomes, which will strengthen the revenue base of these municipalities that are currently without decent revenue.

ii) The creation of infrastructure will also help to improve the quality of services that are delivered to the people.

By way of conclusion, we want to emphasise that although uneven, progress has been steady and both programmes have moved decisively into the implementation phase.

Issued by Ministry of Provincial and Local Government
20 February 2003
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