The Department of Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) has confirmed a long-range plan in the development of Port St Johns as a new coastal city.
During a keynote address at Port St Johns Local Municipality Strategic Planning Session, Director-General, Avril Williamson said this could be realised through the District Development Model (DDM) as a key element to realising the full potential.
In a statement, the department said the strategic planning session presented an opportunity for reflection on the performance of Port St Johns and to reimagine its future within the context of the District Development Model.
“The municipality is in an important position as it is located within the pilot site launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa – the OR Tambo District Municipality – in 2019”.
Williamson reflected on the endowment of Port St Johns, which is rich with a pristine coastal line, complemented by fertile land. The municipality is home to diverse flora and fauna under state and communal ownership as well as a rich history and heritage.
“Comparatively, Port St Johns and the entire district have untapped potential and an unmatched potential for ecotourism and diversified marine biology” she said.
Williamson further spoke about the spatial construct of 600kms between eThekwini and Buffalo City, which does not have a city in between and could be an integral part of the coastal belt plan linking Alexander Bay to Kosi Bay with inland and other hub development.
She emphasised the institutionalisation of long-range planning through the District Development Model as a key element to realising the potential of a new coastal city as well as the importance of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) which are more central to people development service provision and good governance.
“To this end, the IDPs and One Plan have to be integrated to have a positive impact on communities. The OR Tambo DDM Hub is important as it is an extension of the CoGTA support system and a resource capacity for all municipalities in the OR Tambo district particularly as it pertains to shared services to facilitate integrated planning across the three spheres of government”.
“The hub champions the development of master plans for water, electricity, and sanitation and road infrastructure to drive inclusive and integrated development for the community of Port St Johns“.