Failure of govt's district development model blamed on ANC infighting

While Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been largely silent on whether the initiative actually works, some experts said that it had been a dismal failure.

Posters at the launch of the ANC elections manifesto at Church Square in Pretoria on 27 September 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - African National Congress (ANC) infighting has been cited as one of the reasons for the government’s failure to implement its district development model to help uplift municipalities.

A local government expert said that while the much-vaunted district development model had potential, it had failed so far.

It was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019 and adopted by Cabinet.

With the municipal elections just weeks away, the ANC can’t claim success when it comes to its district development model which is supposed to see greater cooperation between the spheres of government.

While Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been largely silent on whether the initiative actually works, some experts said that it had been a dismal failure.

Local government expert, Professor Jaap de Visser, from the University of the Western Cape (UWC)'s Dullah Omar Institute, said that nothing had happened in the 10 years since the model was first touted.

"That will be a good thing if the district development model will give new momentum to national government actually taking notice of what is happening in local government and attend these (municipal integrated development plan) IDP engagements and align this municipal infrastructure plan and that will be a good thing. But again it’s nothing new. This was supposed to happen in 2000."

He said that the ANC's infighting has had a detrimental impact on many communities.

"The ruling party is really struggling to get its act together at local government level. There’s huge infighting, factionalism in various municipalities in the North West and the Eastern Cape where it’s really a case of the ANC devouring itself," Visser said.

He added that local, district and metro municipalities and provincial governments had been working in isolation.

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