Planning processes and stakeholder engagement undertaken by Johannesburg were discussed with students on the Absa Capital Internship Programme.
FINAL year university students with the Absa Capital Internship Programme learned about the City’s strategic planning processes and stakeholder engagement model at a session with the Johannesburg Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (Jike).
Tinashe MushayanyamaTinashe Mushayanyama from the CSUThe meeting took place at the Jike offices in the Metro Centre buildings on 6 July. Jike is a council unit responsible for sharing information about the City with visitors, researchers and other municipalities.
Thandi Msibi, the leader of the delegation, explained that local government was one of the bank’s key partners and therefore was well-placed to drive the socio-economic development discourse she believed was necessary.
“We want to interface socio-economic development discourse with communities, and we need to get this going while people are still young,” she said.
In this vein, Tinashe Mushayanyama from the central strategy unit spoke about the City’s strategic planning processes with regard to the Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) and Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
The unit is “responsible for crafting strategies for the City and cascading these into business plans”, according to Mushayanyama.
Although a GDS is usually known internationally as a City Development Strategy, the function is the same. “A GDS is located in a specific political and development context and usually serves to more effectively drive service delivery,” he said.
Strategies and plans
Joburg has had a number of strategies in place since 1999, but the first proper GDS was approved in 2006. It replaced all previous efforts at strategising. It’s most important focus was reconciling all previous policies and structuring regular cycles of long-, medium- and short-term development.
A number of principles were pinpointed to guide the GDS, and they were still in place. These were: the proactive absorption of the poor; balanced and shared growth; social mobility and equality; settlement restructuring; sustainability and environmental justice; and innovative governance solutions.
Combined, these values inform the City’s vision that it would continue to lead as South Africa’s primary business city.
The GDS acted as a package comprising these principles and vision, an analysis of development trends and long-term goals and interventions. “It sets the strategic course for the long term and makes some of the bigger, overarching decisions,” he explained.
Bafana Bafana Seripe from the Speaker's Office talks about the City's stakeholder engagement modelThere was a need then, to translate this into a five-year IDP. Interestingly, while an IDP was required by law, a GDS was not. However, the City felt it was a necessary guiding document. “The GDS needs to fit seamlessly together with the five-year IDP, and in turn, business plans.”
To ensure that both the GDS and IDP achieved their aims, there was a performance management system in place to review what had been done. Reviews needed to be done every year, but the City had also recently completed an extensive review of the past five years.
Reviews needed to be carried out as scarce resources required management, apartheid legacies still needed to be addressed and there was a budding list of challenges, such as an increase in climate change and natural disasters, as well as problems with education and a lack of growth in the number of highly skilled people.
There were various challenges that the GDS and IDP hoped to overcome, namely low levels of equality, issues of corruption and a funding gap. “There is also a need to promote participation and communication with citizens,” Mushayanyama said.
Bafana Seripe from the Office of the Speaker picked up on the theme of public participation and spoke of the City’s stakeholder engagement model.
The City’s public participation programme was informed by the Constitution and Municipal Systems Act, which called for openness, transparency, accountability and the creation of a culture of participation.
This led to the creation of community-based planning in 2006. “It aims to demonstrate service delivery at ward level throughout the city, and serves as a mechanism to mobilise community action and harness local resources to support local government,” Seripe said.
Through community-based planning, residents were given the opportunity to comment on draft by-laws within 31 days and to petition. “It is a way of ensuring that people’s views and needs are attended to. However, it doesn’t guarantee that the petitioner gets what he or she wants,” he warned.
“The petition must relate to a matter within the legal competence of the council in terms of the Constitution.”
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