Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, has called upon all accounting officers of government institutions to ensure they are represented on the regional development coordination committees (RDCCs) by senior regional officials who are knowledgeable about their sectors and regional programmes, and are able to clearly articulate the position of their respective institutions.
Shaningwa further called on nominated representatives to be fully committed to the activities of RDCCs by regularly attending meetings and providing input and feedback as required.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sylvia Makgone, at the launch of a training manual for development committees in the capital on Friday, Shaningwa said it has been observed with concern that in many cases very junior staff members of sector ministries are assigned to serve on regional development committees, and as a result “they add very little or no value to these committees, thus rendering these important instruments of development ineffective”.
“While acknowledging some limitations in some of these committees, concerns have also been raised by regional councils regarding the lack of cooperation from sector ministries in the regional planning processes. It has been observed that ministries plan in isolation without engaging or consulting regional councils and other relevant sub-national structures,” Shaningwa lamented.
She said that the ministry recognises the need and urgency for improved and well-coordinated development planning at regional and national level. This, she said, can be achieved by addressing the most binding constraints to development planning and by exploiting the instruments at their disposal.
As one of the identified solutions to address challenges, a decision was taken to produce the training manual for regional development committees. It contains useful information on aspects such as the composition, duties and functions of development committees, the national development planning and implementation framework that impacts on and within which these committees have to operate, as well as other issues that are relevant to and will enhance the understanding and work of the committees.
“The manual is intended to ensure that all the members of development committees in our respective regions have requisite knowledge and understanding of their roles and the development planning process. It is therefore expected that all development committees are activated, functional and empowered for the development of our beloved country,” said Shaningwa.