20 May 2021 Media Release: Participatory governance central to the success of Garden Route DM’s New Integrated Human Settlements Plan

Media Release: Participatory governance central to the success of Garden Route DM’s New Integrated Human Settlements Plan

For Immediate Release
20 May 2021

The President in the 2019 Presidency Budget Speech (2019) identified the “pattern of operating in silos” as a challenge which led to “to lack of coherence in planning and implementation and has made monitoring and oversight of government’s programme difficult”. The consequence has been non-optimal delivery of services and diminished impact on the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and employment. The President further called for the rolling out of “a new integrated district-based approach to addressing our service delivery challenges and localise procurement and job creation, that promotes and supports local businesses, and that involves communities….” The President is aware that such an approach will require for “National departments to have district-level delivery capacity together with the provinces … provide implementation plans in line with priorities identified in the State of the Nation address”.

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is one of the 48 District Municipalities identified for launching the One Plan strategic initiative. This is supported by the National Development Plan (NDP) and is based on intergovernmental cooperation between the different spheres of public authorities to bring services and developmental programmes closer to the people. This initiative will create an environment where long-term sustainable socio-economic integration in the Garden Route becomes a reality.

According to the GRDM Human Settlements division, “Socio-economic integration in the context of human settlements relates to the review and redress of old spatial planning distortions that ensured historical race-based settlements patterns, which made it difficult to attain long term socio-economic integration”.

“The intent is to pursue and implement, through a collaborative approach, spatial planning reprioritisation in the use of government assets and properties.”

For transformation to happen, a participatory governance and cooperative approach with all stakeholders is needed. In anticipation, the GRDM has met and consulted with national government departments as well as their agencies to prepare and align with this reality. To this end, it has initiated various workshops with all seven (7) local municipalities in the Garden Route to build a common understanding of how best to prepare for this. In addition, it will ensure collective ownership and structured coordination between the different government departments and municipalities in the Garden Route.

The GRDM Human Settlements team presenting to external stakeholders at Knysna Municipality.

Other than redressing the injustices of the past, the needs of low-income households need to be addressed, which is why it is important for long term socio-economic integration to happen. It is for that reason that the Western Cape Provincial Government and Local Government in the Garden Route remains committed to meet the Human Settlements mandate (see the previous article).

The consultative sessions by the GRDM are crucial in enhancing common coherent understanding and commitment to the new housing approach. One of the key discussion points at these sessions is introducing a new Draft GRDM Integrated Human Settlements Plan. This Plan relates primarily to how the housing model and realisation of it in well-located areas, deemed as Priority and Restructuring Zones, will become a reality.

It should be noted that the four targeted catalytic towns of Bitou, Knysna, George and Mossel Bay will be the focal points in the implementation of the new Priority Human Settlement and Housing Development Areas (PHSHDA) as gazetted by the national government. According to the GRDM’s Human Settlements Management team, Ms Shehaam Sims and Mr Joel Mkunqwana: “The Integrated Human Settlements Plan will include targeted development projects and related housing programmes in well-located areas now defined as Priority and Restructuring Zones within the jurisdiction of the Garden Route.”

According to Sims: “At a higher strategic level a myriad of plans need to be integrated, which include the Garden Route Growth and Development Plan, Integrated Development Plans, Spatial Development Frameworks, District Development Plan, South Cape Corridor Development Initiative, Priority Human Settlements and Housing Development Areas and the overall plan – now to be launched as the One Plan.”

“It is a complex process and requires strategic preparation and think-tanks from all corners of the human settlements arena to work together with one common goal in mind,” said Simms.

Mkunqwana says the “Integrated Human Settlements Plan must be guided and align to the goals and objectives of the ‘One Plan’ concept of National Government”. The National and Provincial Governments are both obliged to be other spheres of government partners committed to co-planning, co-budgeting, and co-implementation to make the One Plan a feasible proposition.

All the three spheres of government and their agencies will therefore be guided by the District Development Model (DDM) /Joint District Metro Approach (JDMA) {as defined by the WC Provincial Government}, Priority Human Settlements and Housing Development Areas (PHSHDAs) which will eventuate into the One Plan overall strategic intervention as aligned and guided by the National Development Plan (NDP).

From a human settlements perspective, all these three strategic interventions are geared towards complementing each other towards the eventuality defined as the One Plan strategic concept. The district spaces are seen as focal points of government and private sector investment, with the GRDM expected to play an enabling role towards such a conducive delivery environment.

The GRDM and its’ 7 B Municipalities and government partners and stakeholders have therefore geared themselves for an exciting period of new strategic interventions that will complement efforts to change the lives of targeted low-cost communities for the better.

Editor’s note

The legislative and policy guidelines for integrated human settlements include the following:

  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and Regulations
  • The Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act no. 1 of 1999);
  • The Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act no. 32 of 2000);
  • The Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act no. 56 of 2003);
  • The Housing Development Agency Act, 2008 (Act no. 23 of 2008);
  • The Housing Act, 1997 (Act no. 107 of 1997) as amended;
  • The Rental Housing Act, 2021The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977;
  • The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, 2005 (Act no. 13 of 2005);
  • Municipal by-laws;
  • Social Housing Act, 2009;
  • The Supply Chain Management Policy of the Implementing Agent;
  • The Annual Division of Revenue Act; and
  • The National Human Settlements Policies and Programmes together with the Implementation Guidelines for the Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements.

Feature image credit: Ryan Kova, Bitou Communications