“One District, One Plan and One Budget” in Action as Department of Agriculture Launches MUNI-MEC Forum
The North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NWDARD) is in favor of a whole-of-government approach as it spearheaded the launch of the Muni-MEC forum, a structure aimed at involving the three spheres of government in the integrated planning to transform the province’s agricultural sector. The launch which took place today, May 16, 2022, was an effort by NWDARD to officiate partnerships to facilitate a transparent process of planning, coordinating and implementing agricultural services at the local level. This forum, which will be led by MEC Desbo Mohono, is made up of representatives from the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, NWDARD as well as all municipalities in the province, in particular members of the municipal committees for agriculture and rural development, settlements as well as infrastructure.
Following a series of MEC stakeholder meetings during the month of April 2022 between the Ministry and municipalities, it was determined that there was a need for all three spheres to work together to expedite services. NWDARD concluded to set up a forum to help achieve a common goal of revitalizing agriculture at the local level.
Speaking at the launch, NWDARD Chief Mr. Thupi Mokhatla said the forum is part of the District Development Model, an operational model to improve cooperative governance aimed at building a capable and ethical development state. He further asserted that key deliverables of the forum would be to have a joint effort to identify community needs within the agricultural sector, alignment of response plans, budgeting and implementation of these. this. This, he said, would essentially result in a single plan that would reach many people and result in better benefit for communities.
MEC Mohono, passionate about coordinated government efforts, especially on agricultural services, said the process that resulted in the launch of the forum was a fully consulted product. She also pointed out that the projects as they are implemented in the different municipalities must be the product of the efforts of the three spheres of government. “The Muni-MEC forum is purely launched in the context of eliminating and erasing the silo mentality of the three branches of government. Seamless coordination of government work and projects will help accelerate developments, eliminate red tape as all decision makers converge from all spheres of government,” said MEC Mohono.
She further reiterated that the forum will need to be at the forefront to impact local communities. “North West Province’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and many other facets of the sector. The major mission of this forum in partnership with the municipalities will also be issues relating to the profiling of skills and education levels, current trends in employment and growth as well as potential backlogs of growth with a view to unlocking the potential within municipalities,” Mohono added.
Municipalities across the province through various Executive Mayors, Mayors AND CMMs, who also attended the launch, expressed their unequivocal support for the forum. Among others, these representatives of the municipalities appreciated the initiative of MEC Mohono and hailed the forum as an appropriate vehicle to bring services to the communities. Cllr Itumeleng Moarabi, MMC Local Economic Development of Ngaka Modiri Molema District, among other representatives, also welcomed the initiative and stated their confidence in a partnership “that will bring transformation in the agricultural sector.”
As part of the launch, the forum adopted terms of reference as well as a Muni-MEC operating framework. The forum will also be in two parts, namely the Muni-MEC which will constitute the MEC and the MMC; and the Technical Muni-MEC which will include the HoD, Mr. Thupi Mokhatla as well as Chief Directors and Directors of participating departments and municipalities. The terms of reference detail the composition and functions of the committees, the roles of each stakeholder group as well as the schedule of meetings.