Over a third of South Africa’s population live in the former homelands, and a large proportion of this group is economically marginalised. Many rural areas in the country still face massive service underdevelopment, including poor road infrastructure, a lack of basic services like running water, primary healthcare, sanitation and electricity. There are also rural areas, however, where transport links are good and where densification is taking place in the absence of effective land-use management and urban governance. Policies are required to bring households in these areas into the mainstream economy. These require urgent interventions. Many of the projects and initiatives of the NDPG since 2006 have been in rural areas.

While the NDP is wrapping up all projects not aligned to the new Urban network Strategy, the Unit has had to carefully review and assess the possible implications on all existing and new awards and projects to ensure that rural development remains a priority. After a detailed analysis, 31 NDP municipalities have been identified as part of the rural NDP portfolio. These 31 rural NDP Municipalities all have (i) committed and remaining NDPG funding, (ii) approved NDP business and (iii) project plans that have been implemented (closed-out), are busy being implemented (on-going) or are still to be implemented.

In terms of the way forward in light of the status-quo mentioned above, it is the NDP position that:
  • The NDPG is currently not making any new municipal awards nor registering new project applications for urban or rural municipalities.
  • The NDP will continue to work closely with its rural NDP Municipalities in the legislated timeframes until all the current and on-going projects are completed and closed-out.
  • The NDP is establishing partnerships with other National Departments such as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), to ensure a constructive, logical and seamless hand-over of any NDPG projects that do not fit in the Urban Network Strategy.
  • A two-stage transition process is proposed. The first stage being a hand-over of the management of the rural NDP municipalities to the most suitable partner to work as an agent of the NDP. The NDP will continue to act as the Transferring National Officer in managing the grant funding in relation to existing NDP business plans and projects of the 31 rural NDPG funded municipalities.
  • The end stage includes the establishment of a rural NDP grant and the transfer of the Transferring National Officer responsibility.

This transition process has already started and the NDP is working with municipalities in the rural NDP portfolio to take forward the specific projects