|A shared vision for growth places
political power in the hands of local
Mandela's five-year term as President of
South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the country
faced the scars of its past and began a
successful healing process that focused
on forging a single national identity. When
President Thabo Mbeki came to power in 1999,
he extended this further to include the
economic realm and shifted the countrys
focus from reconciliation to transformation.
Realizing that full recovery was dependent
upon bringing economic power to the countrys
black majority after decades of marginalization,
he promised to reduce poverty and stimulate
economic growth through greater government
involvement in the economy.
At the time of South Africas first
nonracial elections in 1994, only 50 percent
of the country had access to electricity,
and access to clean drinking water and proper
sanitation were problems for many areas.
Parts of the country were historically
neglected, especially in the rural areas
and the former black areas in the urban
centers, comments Fholisani Sydney
Mufamadi, Minister of the Department
of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG).
As a result there are sizeable infrastructure
backlogs in these areas. Now we have a plan
to increase the pace at which that backlog
Minister of Provincial & Local Government
Mr. Mufamadi terms a shared vision
for accelerating growth, the authorities
have drawn up a comprehensive plan for strong
government presence throughout the nine
provinces and 284 municipalities. The plan
aims to boost basic infrastructure services,
including universal access to clean water
and proper sanitation by 2010 and to electricity
by 2012. In addition to providing opportunities
for private sector involvement and creating
jobs, this system also places political
power in the hands of local communities
that have long been denied direct involvement
in the democratic process.
of local government is new. We introduced
it in December of 2000 so it is only five
years old, explains Mr. Mufamadi.
He says that it took some time to put the
administrative systems in place to ensure
that people who were historically alienated
from government processes were able to participate
for the first time in municipal government.
His departments 2005-2010 strategy
is focused on capacity building and includes
programs such as Project Consolidate, a
two-year support program for local governments.
We need to make sure that municipalities
develop the necessary capacity to implement
huge budgets, to draw up local economic
development plans and to manage programs.
South Africas diverse regions, the
government is hoping to reduce rural poverty
and to counter the urban drain that has
resulted in six cities producing nearly
45% of the countrys economic product.
its Municipal Infrastructure Grant, DPLG
will oversee $2.5 billion in infrastructure
development funds throughout the next few
years that is intended not only for social
infrastructure but also economic development.
|President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki has
brought national pride and international
the first year that we have been operating
with the grant. The idea is that when we
invest in infrastructure it is firstly to
address poverty, but it is also to foster
economic growth, says Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela,
DPLGs Director General. As we
cannot provide all the resources to fund
economic development, we will be looking
for opportunities to create public-private
INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN AIMS TO BOOST
BASIC SERVICES AND CREATE PPPS
focus also forms part of South Africas
preparations for its hosting of the 2010
soccer World Cup. Infrastructure development
for the games will be spread throughout
the country, according to Mr. Mufamadi,
who adds, Our intention is to give
people around the country as much opportunity
as possible to benefit from this event.
There will be about 64 games so that is
enough to be shared by all the provinces.