The season of planning of the Integrated Development Plan in local government is upon us, where all the stakeholders including communities and organized formations are expected to register their respective interest and footprint on the future plans and developments of the Big 5 Hlabisa Local Municipality for the coming financial year.

The five (5) year Integrated Development Plan that we adopt now in March 2019, which effectively marked the beginning of new term of the Integrated Development Plan. This process therefore forms the first IDP of the fifth generation and we have collectively determined the terms and conditions of our social contract together with you as our stakeholders, principals and partners. This Integrated Development Plan could not come at the most opportune time. This is made so in the light of the policy certainty and direction which come into effect and established through the adoption of the National Development Plan.

To give practical expression to the policy direction of the National Development Plan, as well as other National Priorities, the Big 5 Hlabisa Local Municipality through its Integrated Development Plan, has placed itself at the center of interaction with the stakeholders. This is done through various engagements and public participation platforms we have developed to obtain and ascertain community interests as well as their priorities.

During the period of public participation, communities, stakeholders and our partners were called upon to make necessary inputs which are geared towards making sure that the Integrated Development Plans are aligned to our collective aspirations and priorities with an objective of confronting the on-going challenges predicated on the triple axis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

All the efforts and foundation that we laid in the past years are beginning confirm the correctness of our policies, strategies and plans given the current strong and sustainable investment in the regional economy, as well as judging by the level of expansions, investment and development in the region by both Government and private sector and the consequent impact on the quality of life and economic growth in the region.

On the other hand we are working with different investors, to mitigate both permanent and temporary layoffs, thus ensuring the continuation and job security and production to meet the market demand. In the past local communities have raised concerns about too many ‘governments’ at local level and duplication created by two tiers local Government system and we have duly responded.

We have concluded an intensive consultation and public participation programme with our communities regarding the creation of single tier system of local governance in Big 5 Hlabisa and so far all the legal processes have been followed and complied with. Flowing from these engagements and submissions, it will be in the best interest of the communities that governance is consolidated into a single tier in Big 5 Hlabisa so that duplication, wastage, confusion and conflicting roles can be effectively eliminated and accountability as well as stability is achieved.

Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and Cooperatives remain the epicenter of our focus and development through heightening capacity building and access to other opportunity available in other spheres of Government and private sector to support SMMEs, Cooperatives and Emerging farmers. In partnership with the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform we intend developing an extra feasibility studies for possible Precincts and those feasibilities will be building on the successful work that we will achieve.

There are capital projects that will be kick-started in the next financial year to restore confide0nce to our communities and to attract more investors into our town’s thus creating ambience for further investment and growth in both towns. 3 In the short term critical challenge of youth unemployment that has been highlighted by both the National Development Plan and the Census 2011 results, will be receiving serious attention and in the short term we will be increasing intake in the Community Works Programme and Expanded Public Works Programme targeting poverty stricken Wards across the municipal area.

I call on all and sundry, to take the time out and have a go at this Big 5 Hlabisa Integrated Development Plan. In doing so, we will arrive at our envisaged future as one, walking hand in hand in seamless service of our communities.