Ugu South Coast Development Agency Ugu South Coast Development Agency

District development agencies as special purpose vehicles for economic development in KwaZulu-Natal

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This resolution was made at a September 2012 Cabinet Lekgotla and almost a year later it is finally taking effect with SALGA KZN and CoGTA KZN as the coordinators of this process. This was given effect through a development agency workshop held by CoGTA KZN on 16 – 17 August 2013 following SALGA KZN’s knowledge sharing session on development agencies in June and district one-on-one meetings a month later.

The workshop was led by the MEC of CoGTA, Honourable Nomusa Dube and supported by the Chairperson of SALGA KZN Cllr SW Mdabe, who is also the Mayor of the most successful development agency in the province, Enterprise iLembe. The workshop was attended by representatives from all 10 districts in the province and on the first day the HoD of CoGTA Ms N Qhobosheane gave a status quo of agencies in the province which revealed that only three districts (iLembe, Sisonke and Umkhanyakude) currently have development agencies.

Expert presentations were made by Mr Stuart Bartlett from the IDC’s Agency Development Support unit who said that: “I must commend the province of KwaZulu-Natal for the leap they have taken in establishing province wide development agencies and noted that although the IDC no longer funded agencies, it is still committed to providing funding for individual projects.” Ms Phila Xuza, Executive Director: Economic Development and Planning at SALGA National (former CEO of one of the country’s most successful development agencies, Aspire) made a presentation on district development agency realities. She emphasized the importance for agencies to be established for a particular purpose and not for the sake of having them and that agency CEOs have to make sure they serve the parent municipality and not exist in isolation.  She added that “as SALGA we are committed to giving agencies the support and advice that they need”, as such SALGA plans to pilot a six months Professional Development Programme for Regional Development agencies in the province.

The first day of the workshop concluded with the launch of the Enterprise iLembe Winery which has created local jobs. On the second day the private sector was given a platform to map out what they expected from development agencies and shared some of their experiences as role players in local economic development.

The workshop is a culmination of a series of interventions undertaken by SALGA KZN to support and advice district municipalities in the establishment of development agencies. On 27 – 28 June, SALGA KZN held a knowledge sharing session on the establishment of district development agencies where districts were given insight into the establishment, operations and funding of a development agency and also introduced to the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP); a catalytic project for the agencies. The Chairperson of SALGA KZN, Cllr Mdabe made special visits to those districts which required extra assistance with the establishment of district development agencies such as Hibiscus Coast Development Agency which is a local agency in Ugu District and needed to be migrated to a district agency.

The workshop held last week concluded with the following resolutions:

  • There is widespread agreement that there should be district development agencies;
  • By November 2013 a framework must be developed clarifying roles and responsibilities of  the agency, institutional arrangements, and operational structure, and guiding the distinction between the role of the agency and LED unit;
  • Establishment of a task team which will be led by CoGTA and SALGA; and
  • In addition to the visits undertaken by SALGA, CoGTA together with SALGA should undertake visits to each district.