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The Department of Local Government in the Western Cape and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at addressing the backlog in the investment in infrastructure in the province. Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, chaired the meeting.

The session also included the French General Consul and the Head of the Regional Economic Department for Southern Africa. The Premier emphasised their willingness to expand cooperation with French partners.

The French Development Agency has been active in South Africa since 1994, and offers innovative financing solutions and technical assistance in the infrastructure sector.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, says partnerships and teamwork are critical to deliver the infrastructure solutions the province needs.

“Our municipalities have many challenges when it comes to infrastructure development. On the one side we have rapid urbanisation and high levels of population growth. On the other side we have serious financial and technical challenges. This is further exacerbated by the current economic environment and the reality of a drastic decrease in Fiscal Grant flows to municipalities. We hope the partnership with AFD will enable us to do even more.” 

The project aims to foster an enhanced integrated approach to municipal infrastructure development based on coordinated and sustainable principles. The programme comprises of two phases.

Municipalities are supported to identify catalytic infrastructure projects, which will then be taken from feasibility to bankability in Phase 1. AFD appointed GreenCape, as service provider, for the roll-out of Phase1. Work has commenced on this Phase and is making good progress. Phase 2 will look at the impact of these projects on the long-term finances of the municipality, which will support the project evaluation process and guide the most effective funding strategy options available to be considered by the municipality. 

“This approach includes efficient and dynamic governance that is crucial to the successful funding of those projects and programs identified for development by the SIDAFF program in targeted municipalities. The targeted municipalities at the moment, includes Drakenstein, Stellenbosch, Overstrand, Mossel Bay, Swartland, Breede Valley, George and Saldanha Bay Municipalities,” says Graham Paulse, the Head of the Local Government Department in the province.

A virtual Municipal Roadshow, to introduce the SIDAFF Programme to the eight beneficiary municipalities, was concluded in July 2020. “Most of the Municipal Managers indicated their overwhelming commitment to the Programme.”