Mayors in DA-led municipalities have made submissions to the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), rejecting the government’s District Development Model (DDM) regulations that were gazetted last month.
The party’s Cogta spokesperson, Eleanore Bouw-Spies, on Sunday said the message from the mayors was that the DDM and its regulations were unconstitutional as it undermined the constitutional and legal framework underpinning the separation of governance between the three spheres of government.
“This creates significant compliance risk for municipalities as they are still required to fulfil their legislated obligations under Chapter 7 of the Constitution and comply with sector specific statutes such as the Municipal Finance Management Act,” Bouw-Spies said.
In the submission to Cogta director-general Ashley Losch, the DA mayors said the official opposition agreed with the broad consensus that the local government sector was in deep crisis.
“While the draft DDM purports to streamline local government processes through One Plans in order to improve service delivery, the DA does not agree with the underlying policy premise of the DDM and by extension the proposed regulations,” reads the submission.
The submission also said the three pilot sites on the DDM produced lacklustre outcomes.
“It is deeply concerning that the government is intent on going forward with the implementation of the DDM.
“In fact, in the three pilot sites there hasn’t been a marked improvement in service delivery outcomes, vertical governance cooperation or institutional capacity to improve efficiency.”
The submission also said the DDM was in violation of the Constitution as provided for in Section 151(4) because the regulations advocated for a system of central planning overseen by the executive, especially the President and members of cabinet.
Bouw-Spies said her party rejected the policy idea behind the DDM and by extension the DDM regulations.
“Our objections are centred on the premise that the DDM is an attempt by the national government to centralise the governance of all municipalities in South Africa.
“It is, as its central philosophy, a central planning policy that will force municipalities to align their budgets and adhere to government controlled ‘One Plans’.
“In addition, the DDM will add another layer of bureaucracy which will slow down decision making and worsen service delivery outcomes,” she added.