Depressed economy under discussion

2016-03-16 06:00
DELEGATES attending the lekgotla of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality (JTG) at the Red Sands Resort earlier this month. Photo: Supplied

DELEGATES attending the lekgotla of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality (JTG) at the Red Sands Resort earlier this month. Photo: Supplied

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THEissue of the depressed economic climate prevailing throughout the country and the world, which also affects municipalities, was recently put in the spotlight.

Concerns on this topic were discussed at the lekgotla of the John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) District Municipality at the Red Sands Resort outside Kuruman on 3 and 4 March.

The objectives of the lekgotla included reporting on the programmes and activities of various state entities, municipalities and provincial government departments towards the provision of services to communities in and around the district.

Impending job cuts at mines have become a clear matter of concern within the JTG District. Mining is the key economic driving force here and the lekgotla concluded that the current conditions necessitated the need for economic diversification and participation. As a result other economic sectors need to be given extra attention and resources to close the gap that will result.

Kumba, Anglo American’s submission at the lekgotla, outlined the factors that had led to the decision for the restructuring of personnel and operations. The main factor remains the decline in the demand of their commodities, especially iron ore.

Attendees of the lekgotla included mayors, councillors, managers and officials of various municipalities, government departments, the premier’s office, Eskom, Salga and civil society. The parties submitted their plans and programmes, outlining achievements and challenges encountered in the past financial year and plans for the 2016-’17 financial year and beyond. A need for more communication and cooperation among the various entities became evident during deliberations.

Gerrie van der Westhuizen, manager for IDP and planning at the JTG District Municipality, encouraged the state entities to align their programmes to utilise resources towards effective service delivery.

“The effective coordination of programmes and cooperation between various state entities cannot be overemphasised. Cooperative and inclusive governance aimed at sustainable development is essential,” said Van der Westhuizen.

Cllr Sofia Mosikatsi, executive mayor of the JTG District Municipality, also informed delegates that the District Rural Developmental Plan had already been adopted by council and it was perceived to be the best and most comprehensive in the whole country.

The departments discussed the need to grow the district economy, in line with the National Developmental Plan (NDP), which is in essence a 30-year developmental blueprint for economic growth, job creation and subsequently the elimination of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

In conclusion, Mosikatsi pleaded that cooperation continue to take place among state organs in the planning and execution of programmes to address the imbalances of the past, with an effort to deal with issues of poverty, inequality and unemployment while accelerating the delivery of services, and with specific bias towards the rural and impoverished areas and communities.

A draft IDP document will be submitted to council at the end of March and the final one by the end of April.

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