President Cyril Ramaphosa
Photo by: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday by focusing on service delivery and other challenges at a local government level, government could create a more conducive environment for business, investment and job creation.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the Presidential Imbizo, in Mpumalanga, adding that, when implemented effectively, the District Development Model (DDM) would narrow the distance between the people and government.
Under the DDM, national, provincial and local government coordinate and integrate development plans and budgets and mobilise the capacity and resources of government and civil society, including business, labour and community, for inclusive growth and job creation.
He said municipalities are the engine rooms of government.
“When they are run well, when there is effective provision of basic services, and when municipal competencies like granting permits and authorisations happen efficiently, businesses are able to grow and expand,” he said.
But when municipalities are dysfunctional it directly affects businesses and it affects employment.
Ramaphosa explained that when permits are not granted on time, this results in lost productivity and delayed plans. Unreliable supply of water or electricity results in revenue losses and increased operational costs, he added.
He said, unfortunately, in a number of municipalities in the country, businesses have been forced to either close down or relocate because of these challenges, saying government does not want to see that happening in Mpumalanga.
Ramaphosa noted that the DDM represents an all-of-government approach, with integrated and responsive planning, budgeting and implementation to leverage the endowments of the respective districts for the benefit of communities.
He said the DDM gives effect to government’s ambition to strengthen its municipalities as part of building a capable, ethical and developmental State.
He said Mpumalanga’s business community should guide government on how it can better align its economic planning and activities under the DDM, noting that Mpumalanga is an important province to the national economy, as it is at the centre of the country’s energy industry.
The province also boasts natural resources such as large tracts of arable land, abundant water and vast reserves of mineral deposits.
Ramaphosa said despite these many endowments, Mpumalanga has high levels of unemployment. In districts like Ehlanzeni, poverty levels are as high as 72%.
“The task before us, therefore, is to use Mpumalanga’s comparative advantage in terms of economic endowments to overcome poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Ramaphosa said.
Having entered a new phase in government management of the pandemic through the lifting of the national state of disaster, government’s focus is now on driving a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery that creates more jobs, the President said.