Polokwane Municipality is one of two municipalities in the country selected to participate in the Intermediate City Municipality Support Programme Pilot Project of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), the other being Umhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal.
This was announced by Cogta Deputy Minister Andries Nel during the municipality’s council meeting last Friday. Nel said that Polokwane will receive technical support to the approximate value of R4,5 million that will be made available through the World Bank. “As part of this arrangement, the municipality will be able to access top level global expertise to assist it with diagnostic analyses, spatial and land use planning, long-term infrastructure planning, a long term financial strategy and technical support in specific areas. The city will also have access to a suite of nationally developed tools from the City Support Programme (CSP) as well as other programmes that have been piloted in other metropolitan areas around South Africa,” Nel said.
According to Nel, Cogta will assist the municipality to revise and further develop the Municipal Spatial Development Framework which addresses spatial integration issues in the municipality and surrounding areas. Cogta is also committed to provide support to resolve critical issues relating to line departments’ programmes impacting on local integrated spatial development.
“The full programme is under final design at the moment, and it is intended that the design process will conclude in the first half of 2019 and will be implemented at scale in 2019. In the interim the two pilot municipalities have been selected for the implementation of pilot activities,” Nel said and added that the implementation of the pilot programme will be overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives from the municipality, the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, National Treasury and Cogta.
In conclusion, Nel said that Cogta believes that Polokwane Municipality is a worthy and relevant pilot municipality for this programme because it is urbanising at a high rate and it has many preconditions for increased economic growth such as its strong links to mining and tourism and wider connectivity to surrounding neighbouring countries and the presence of traditional authority areas.
Story, photo & video: BARRY VILJOEN