South Africa’s National Development Plan aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 to create a country where every citizen can embrace their full potential. In response our province developed a Provincial Growth and Development Plan that is deliberately aligned with the NDP and is aimed at uniting the people of KwaZulu-Natal behind a common goal of creating a prosperous province for future generations. It was subsequently agreed that for the province to realise these goals each District Municipality need to develop a District Growth and Development Plan (DGDP). uMkhanyakude District was one of the first districts to take up this challenge of developing a DGDP to integrate and align the intentions of the NDP and PGDP on the one hand, with the activities of local government operating at the coalface of implementation and interaction with constituent communities on the other. The aim of our DGDP is therefore to translate the Provincial Growth and Development Plan into a detailed implementation plan at a district level, inclusive of clearly defined targets and responsibilities.
We recognise the need to actively involve various communities and role players in this process and to draw on their wisdom and experience in the preparation of this plan. Our journey thus started with a District Growth and Development Summit held during October 2013 and conducted under the banner of “Growth, Development and Delivery Excellence”. The summit was very well attended and provided critical inputs for the subsequent phases of the process. I am glad to submit to you the final result of our combined efforts in the form of the uMkhanyakude District Growth and Development Plan. The key elements of this plan include:
- A synthesis of the priority development issues and challenges in the district based on extensive consultation with stakeholders and a comprehensive technical analysis
- A long term development vision and clearly defined strategic goals and objectives to pursue this vision
- Monitoring indicators and quantified targets to measure progress and outcomes
- An institutional framework for the ongoing management and implementation of the DGDP
We set ourselves a vision that we believe will not only inspire the current but also the future generation of residents of UKDM. In this vision we see the UKDM in 2030 characterised by a high quality infrastructure network supporting both household needs and economic growth. We envisage a strongly growing economy that will result in the creation of decent employment opportunities for all residents of the district and an improved overall quality of life. We envisage the optimal utilisation of our abundance of natural resources while maintaining and improving the integrity and quality of our physical environment. We see excellence in the service provided to our communities. We set ourselves ambitious but clearly defined goals to vigorously pursue this vision:
- Expanded district economic output and increased quantity and quality of employment opportunities
- Enhanced quality of district human resources
- Improved quality of life for all
- High quality infrastructure network to support improved quality of life and economic growth
- District characterised by integrity and quality of its physical environment and underpinned by a coherent spatial development pattern
- Excellence in governance and leadership
These long term strategic goals are further underpinned by 35 strategic objectives and detailed implementation strategies for each objective. We are however mindful that a plan is only as good as its implementation. Our DGDP thus includes a monitoring and evaluation framework to provide a methodical and synchronized approach for evaluating the implementation and impact of the proposed objectives and interventions of the plan. The indicators and targets will provide a clear picture to all role players of the impact and benefits of the plan and serve as the compass for our journey towards 2030. To have a meaningful impact the DGDP must be both owned and driven by the state machinery and social partners – including the private sector, organized labour, organisations of civil society, the academic and research sector, and specialist interest groups. Our district was the first to establish a District Development Planning Commission during 2012 and it is envisaged that this body will compliment both the National and Provincial Planning Commissions and play a key role in providing guidance for the implementation of the plan.
We recognise the need to intensify our efforts to unlock the potential of our district and its people. I therefore commit myself and the leadership of the district to implement the DGDP and invite you to join us in this effort.
I thank you!