PCC backs district-based model for service delivery

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) has endorsed a new district-based model for development that will synchronise planning by all spheres of government.

The district-driven model is directed at turning plans into action and ensuring proper project management and tracking. The model will involve citizens and civil society in the development of South Africa’s 44 municipal districts and eight metros.

“This is the key outcome of the first meeting of the PCC of the sixth administration, which met in Pretoria on Tuesday, convened by President Cyril Ramaphosa,” said the Presidency in a statement.

The PCC’s endorsement of the Khawuleza (“hurry up”) District Coordination Service Delivery Model follows overwhelming support for the new approach by joint committees of Cabinet and by Ministers and Members of Executive Councils (MINMEC).

The model will also be submitted for approval by Cabinet at its meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The new model will be piloted in the OR Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape at a time that will be identified in due course.

Tuesday’s meeting took place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and was co-chaired by the President and Deputy President David Mabuza.

The meeting brought together Ministers in The Presidency; the Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Directors-General of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Finance and Public Service and Administration; the nine Provincial Premiers and provincial Directors-General; Executive Mayors of the eight metros as well as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) President, Deputy President and Chief Executive Officer.

“The PCC deliberations at the Union Buildings gave effect to the commitment by President Ramaphosa in the June 2019 State of the Nation Address that the council’s agenda would be refocused to sharpen and strengthen cooperative governance and implement a well-coordinated and coherent national programme of action.

“Across the 44 districts and 8 Metros in the country, all developmental initiatives will be viewed through a district-level lens.

“Development will be pursued through single, integrated plans per district – one district, one plan - that will outline the role of each sphere of government as well as the role of communities and civil society sectors in each district,” said the Presidency.

In a bid to ensure coordination, the PCC said this will require that national budgets and programmes are spatially referenced across the 44 districts and eight metros.

This will take effect from the 2020/21 Budget cycle.

Similarly, provincial government budgets and programmes will be spatially referenced to districts and metros in the respective provinces, while municipalities will express the needs and aspirations of communities in integrated development plans for the 44 districts and eight metros.

“This shift in planning is expected to narrow the distance between citizens and engender active participation by citizens in development, and enable long-term planning as well as responses to immediate ‘burning’ issues.

“This new dispensation seeks to change the face of rural and urban landscapes by ensuring complementarity between urban and rural development, with a deliberate emphasis on local economic development,” read the statement. 

The PCC also received presentations outlining the alignment of draft provincial growth and development plans with the national priorities listed in the June 2019 State of the Nation Address as government’s areas of focus for the current political term. - SAnews.gov.za ���

Basic Education gives matriculants a second chance

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Basic Education Department has invited all candidates who wrote and did not the pass the May/June Matric examination that took place this year to register for another opportunity to sit for the exams.

“Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has approved that Senior Certificate (SC) candidates, who wrote the June 2019 examination and failed, as well as those who were absent with a valid reason, be allowed to write the November 2019 Examinations.

“It should be noted that the opportunity is open only to Senior Certificate (SC) candidates and not to National Senior Certificate (NSC),” said Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

The department outlined the criteria for learners who were absent with a valid reason:

  • In the case of illness, a copy of the medical certificate must be provided.
  • If there was a death in the immediate family of a candidate, the candidate must produce a death certificate.
  • For any other reason or circumstance beyond the control of the candidate, an affidavit must be provided. The valid reason(s) contained in the affidavit may be subjected to evaluation and verification by the Head of Examinations or a delegated examination official. 

“Candidates that were absent with a valid reason and register online, must present the document/s supporting the reason/s for their absence to the nearest circuit, district or provincial office.

“The supporting documents cannot be uploaded online,” said Mhlanga.

The department said it will not allow candidates, whodid not turn up to write without a valid reason, to sit for the exam. 

Eligible candidates can register to write the exams by logging online on to the DBE website www.education.gov.za

Online registration will only be available from 4 September 2019 at 08:00 and will close at 24:00 on 11 September 2019.

“The online system will only allow candidates to register for subjects that they wrote and failed or were absent. Hence, candidates will not be allowed to register for subjects they did not write in June 2019 or for any subject for which they achieved more than 30% or 40% in the case of Home Language,” said Mhlanga.

Candidates who do not have access to the online system may register at the nearest examination centre, circuit, district or provincial office.

Manual registration at circuit, district or provincial offices will open on Monday, 19 August 2019 and will close on 4 September 2019 at 16:00.

“In order to register both online and manual, candidates must provide an email address at which they can be contacted and a cell phone number, so that further details regarding the examination can be communicated via email or cell phone,” said Mhlanga.

Candidates who want to register to upgrade their results will only be able to do so in June 2020. – SAnews.gov.za :

Bright future ahead for young female scientist

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

As the country celebrates Women's Month, a young female scientist from the Department of Water and Sanitation has secured a Doctoral Scholarship to study at the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation at the University of Twente in Netherlands.

Mbali Mahlayeye will be jetting off to Netherlands in September. This comes just months after her return from the Netherlands where she participated in an information sharing programme organised by the Dutch Government to showcase the Dutch expertise on drinking water and waste water.

Mahlayeye, a Remote Sensing Scientist holds an Honours in Geology and Master of Science in Geo-informatics degrees from the University of Pretoria. 

Her Doctoral studies will focus on developing methods and algorithms that will aim at bridging the technological gaps that exist in the agricultural sector of acquiring information for decision-making using remote sensing.

“The subject matter of my PhD is very close to my heart as it will focus on food security, monitoring agricultural lands and crops using earth observations,” Mahlayeye said.

The 29-year-old joined the department four years ago as a graduate trainee and has since acquired the knowledge and expertise in the fields of geography, geosciences and related branches of science and engineering.

“My time with the department has been an absolute learning curve. I was involved in projects that addressed drought, forestry and agricultural matters. I was also afforded an opportunity to interact with young minds from developing countries in the Netherlands in a Dutch Visitors Programme on water and sanitation issues in March this year,” Mahlayeye said.

Women deserve equal opportunities as men

She noted that her scholarship with the University of Twente comes at an opportune time as South Africa commemorates Women’s Month.

“I am a feminist at heart and I believe women deserve equal opportunities as men. This opportunity, more than anything, symbolizes how far we have come as women and what we are capable of achieving,” Mahlayeye said.

As much as she is excited to pursue her studies overseas, Mahlayeye said she is going to miss her family in South Africa. 

“When I received the approval of the scholarship, I could not believe it. I had to pinch myself several times just to ascertain myself of the reality. I will be emigrating to Netherlands for four years and I understand that this will not be without challenges, but I am comforted by the love and support I am receiving from my family and friends,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za 

New project funding process for MDDA

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) is implementing a new project funding application process to streamline the agency’s application process, enhance efficiencies, and enable it to effectively deliver on its mandate. 

The agency made the announcement on Tuesday as its funding cycle for 2019/20 opened for applications. The closing date for funding applications is 4 October 2019.

“With some 15 years of the MDDA funding projects, we have reached the stage where we urgently need to review and reassess the process of and criteria against which we fund projects as the environment in which we are now operating is very different to that of the early years of the Agency,” MDDA Acting CEO Zukiswa Potye said in a statement.

The major change in the new project funding application process compared to the previous system is the introduction of a call for funding applications, with an application submission deadline (cut-off date).

All applications submitted by the cut-off date will be considered, with those applications that are successful and those not successful being informed timeously.

“This means that as opposed to the previous application process, which used the principle of first come, first serve when selecting projects for funding, resulting in an enormous backlog, the agency will not retain projects on a waiting list.

“Projects are welcome to reapply in the next cycle of board funding approvals if they feel they have addressed the reasons given for rejection by the MDDA,” the agency said.

Potye said the challenges that demand a new approach include the enormous backlog of projects accumulated with no prospect of being able to clear, given the agency’s limited funds.

“Such a backlog and the principle of first come, first serve has meant that in some cases we are required to select projects for approval that applied in 2012, which may no longer be compliant or have relevance in the current landscape.”

Projects considering applying for MDDA funding have been requested to consult the MDDA website (www.mdda.org.za) for details of the application process.  

Set up by an Act of Parliament in 2002 (MDDA Act No 14 of 2002), the agency funded its first project in 2004 and has to date supported more than 250 media projects, covering both community radio, print and small commercial print.

“While this has meant that it has contributed significantly to the transformation of the media landscape in South Africa, there are still communities, including special interest groups, such as the youth and those people with disability that are underserviced by the media.

“In addition, greater emphasis needs to be placed on correcting gender imbalances as well as equipping the sector for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  This has highlighted the urgent need for a more targeted approach by the MDDA to requesting project funding applications,” the agency said.

The MDDA is a statutory development agency deriving its mandate from Section 16 and 32 of the Constitution Act No. 108 of 1996, thereby providing for freedom of expression and access to information.

As a partnership between the South African government and major print and broadcasting companies, it promotes and assists in the development of community media and small commercial media in South Africa and the transformation of the media by providing support (financial and capacity building, etc.)

The agency also aims to raise public awareness with regard to media development and diversity issues, and to encourage media literacy and a culture of reading. – SAnews.gov.za

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