SUMMARY: RURAL DEVELOPMENT:
Rural development is a broad concept that engages agencies across the public and private sectors. It requires of all agencies in national and provincial government, state-owned enterprises and the private sector to also contribute in their areas of responsibility. In this regard, municipalities have to ensure effective basic services provisioning, leveraging municipal spending to create local jobs, and facilitating local economic development (LED), for all, including rural communities, in their areas of jurisdiction. It should be emphasised that municipalities are not solely responsible for addressing the enormous challenges of rural poverty and rural development. Indeed, the sustainability of rural municipalities themselves is dependent on overall government policy on rural areas, and the development of rural economies.
Development in rural areas requires:
- Sourcing for development: helping rural people set the priorities in their own communities, through effective and democratic bodies, by providing the local capacity and access to funds for them to plan and implement local economic development;
- investment in basic infrastructure and social services: the provision of physical infrastructure (eg housing, water and power supplies, transport) and social services (eg basic health care and schools);
- Enhancing employment opportunities by unforsure income by broadening access to natural resources (eg arable and grazing land, irrigation water, forests);
- restoration of basic economic rights to marginalised rural areas by establishing periodic markets as the organising spatial and temporal framework for development;
- resource conservation: investing efforts in the sustainable use of natural resources; and
- justice, equity and security: dealing with the injustices of the past and ensuring the safety and security of the rural population, especially that of women.
The Constitution shifts the responsibility for rural development to local government, as it is seen as the elected government body:
- that takes ultimate responsibility for service delivery;
- with which CBOs,(Community Base Organitations) representatives from local fora, local business representatives and other stake-holders consult for the purpose of assessing needs and priorities;
- that mediates competing interests in resource management, project planning or the provision of services;
- whose function it is to coordinate the work of the different departments and follow through requests for funding or implementation to the appropriate provincial and national bodies;
- with responsibility for ensuring that the needs of poorly organised local people are also taken into account.
The powers of municipal government are set out in section 156 of the Constitution. A municipality (ie an organ of local government) has executive authority in respect of, and has the right to administer, the local government matters listed in Part B of Schedule 4 and Part B of Schedule 5, as well as executive authority and the right to administer any other matter assigned to it by national or provincial legislation. Where a municipality has the right to administer a matter, it may make and administer by-laws in respect of those areas.
Although the Constitution confers the above powers on municipalities, the role of national and provincial government remains important as well, especially with regards to support and enabling Municipalities to fulfill its role and to ensure that municipal structures have the capacity to perform their functions.
Rural development is funded by all three spheres of government, partly by rural people through payment for services and local taxes, and partly by the private sector through collaborative partnerships with government. Rural Development Unit, cannot provide direct services to rural and farming communities as such action would result in service delivery within already existing line functions. It therefore has to play a facilitative and coordination role for – information, opportunities and monitoring of expenditure and upliftment in rural areas (ensure focus for rural areas).
The Rural Development Unit will act as an initiator, facilitator, coordinator and catalyst in rural development interventions and service delivery in Drakenstein, affecting and informing the operations of most line departments such as Human Settlements, Planning Services, Engineering, Community and Social Services, LED and Tourism. This implies the following:
Iitiator: The Unit will initiate interventions/ strategies in rural areas as part of an integrated approach.
Facilitator: The Unit will play an active role in the facilitation of access to opportunities and services for communities and will also facilitate interventions in areas where the Municipality has no expertise/ funding but has identified other sector departments/ stakeholders to contribute to Comprehensive Rural Development for area.
Coordinator: The Unit will coordinate strategies, policies and mobilise resources from stakeholders to contribute to the objectives of the rural development programme.
Catalyst: The Unit will play a change agent role and assist in the complete transformation of the rural space in terms of policies, programmes and projects for the ultimate aim of achieving vibrant and sustainable rural communities.
FRAMEWORK FOR STRATEGIES/ PROCESSES TO FOLLOW TO ENSURE PRIORITIES AND NEEDS ARE ADDRESSED:
- Conceptualisation of rural development – Defining the Role of Rural Development in Local Government for Drakenstein Councillors and Officials, participation in district-level rural development fora, liaison with provincial and national government ito expectations, support, realities and implementation action, alignment with Strategic Objectives
- Planning for and implementation of high-level, strategic Rural Development projects – development of strategies, by-laws and programmes to ensure implementation of community based projects
- Continuous liaison with the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to ensure that the following matters affecting the implementation of their mandate are addressed
- Establish, facilitate and participate in various representative role-player Taskteams and commissions or local Rural Development Agency supporting objectives for Rural Development (investigations, advice and recommendations in terms of implementation, etc)
- Continuous liaison with Directorates and technical internal departments with regards to service delivery requirements and implementation
- Develop and maintain relevant databases – client needs/ requests and responses, information, especially with regards to: services and programmes, support available (National and Local government), funding opportunities, development, etc
- Conduct stakeholder analysis and environmental scans
- Drive Rural Development awareness campaigns
- Review, develop, integrate and implement existing proposals for rural development and transformation – refer to: Rural Development Strategy, Area Based Plan for Drakenstein, elements of the CRDP, Towards a Strategy for Tenure Security and Settlement for Drakenstein draft document
- Projects Management to achieve objectives and implement rural development strategies
MEETING THE CHALLENGES AND REQUIREMENTS IN SUPPORT OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT:
• Confirmation of powers and functions of local government in Rural Development
• Confirmation of political will to implement and realize the mandate (Councillor’s workshop on IDP – identified Rural Development as one of 16 focus areas)
• Absence of implementation processes/ guidelines for new National and Provincial Policies affecting alignment of objectives, targets and deliverables
• Conceptualisation, integration/ mainstreaming of rural development internally
• Funding and agreements with relevant stakeholders and role-players in support of Rural Development priorities
• Research, planning and implementation support
• Adequate resource availability (capacity of Rural Development Unit to deliver) – budget, staff, systems and processes for implementation in absence of programme specific guiding principles/ documents currently
• Strive for synergy and alignment of programmes , functions and resources of spheres of government and various directorates
• (also note National Development Plan 2030 vision for Rural Development)
• Readiness and willingness of rural and farming communities to participate
• Stakeholder/ role-player interest and participation/ strategic partnerships