The District Development Model is a service delivery-planning instrument to narrow the distance between citizens and government with the aim of delivering integrated services.
A senior official from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Mohlatlego Rabothata told the two-day virtual-based 15th Public Sector Innovation conference that the model is an operational approach for improving cooperative governance aimed at building a capable, ethical developmental state.
Digital transformation was on top of the agenda at the conference hosted by the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) under the theme: “Leveraging Innovation to Enhance the District Development Model.”
The District Development Model is aimed at responding and addressing challenges by bringing all spheres of government closer to the people with the view to foster an integrated approach to governance.
“This is a method by which all three spheres of government and state entities work in unison in an impact-oriented way, where there is higher performance and accountability for coherent and effective service delivery and development outcomes.
Expresses jointly agreed outcomes and commitments as an entire government plan (“One Plan”) in relation to each space over short, medium and long-term.
“A One Plan is an Intergovernmental Plan setting out a long-term strategic framework to guide investment and delivery in relation to a specific district or metropolitan space. It is a collaboratively produced by all three spheres of government informed by existing plans of all three spheres of government,” he said.
Deputy Director-General responsible for Information Society and Capacity Development at the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Mlindi Moshologu said harnessing skills development should be the cornerstone for government’s efforts to enhance digital transformation in the public service space.
“Skills development is one of the most critical building blocks considered by government as part of their efforts to enhance the digital transformation.
“Given the widespread use of digital technologies across the administration, competencies are needed to properly drive the digital change,” he said.
Moshologu said technologies are increasingly complex, diverse and with a fast-paced evolution that requires governments to increase efforts to keep the skillsets of public servants updated, but also to anticipate the needs associated with emerging change.
“More than being reactive, government increasingly need foresight and anticipatory capacities to manage the competencies and capabilities of the public sector workforce and organise themselves accordingly.
“The fast-changing environment where government operate, has also transformed the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses with regards to how they interact with the public sector or can access public services.
“To address the change underway, a creative, flexible and adaptive public sector workforce with a citizen driven mindset is required to drive an innovative public sector with the capacity to tackle the disruptive challenges of the 21st century and respond to the changing need,” he said.
Digital transformation at glance
Deputy Director-General Moshologu said the paper-based, analogue government is ineffective, inefficient and largely fail in addressing complex societal needs.
“These technologies are more efficient, effective and need an entirely new type of expertise in public sector as well as new ways of looking at public management and interaction with the public.
“We must have a digital government supported by connected, agile and flexible public officials in 10 years’ time,” he said.
The digital government
He further described digital government as the use of digital technologies, as an integrated part of government’s modernisation strategies with the view to create public value, which relies on a digital government ecosystem.
According to Moshologu, the digital government concept represents a fundamental shift in the way any government is embracing the service delivery imperatives from setting measurable administrative goals to improving public service delivery.
Public Service and Administration Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo who delivered the keynote address at the opening of the conference echoed his sentiments.
“We have little to no choice, but to strive towards a public sector that inspires, incubates, and adopts innovation because if we do not, the consequences can be dire for any government and its people.
“Technology and innovation are not the future; they are the now. They exist today and will improve tomorrow and well into the future,” she said.