The West Rand District Municipality (WRDM) is located on the South Western corner of the Gauteng province. It covers an area of 4 095km2 and has a population of 820 994 (Stats SA, 2011). Characterized by a rich and diverse landscape, the WRDM is home to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, the Magaliesberg Mountain Range, the world’s deepest mineshaft and large open tracks of agricultural land. Access to the region is gained through the Lanseria International Airport and key road and rail linkages, including a highly active taxi-system. The WRDM consists of four local municipalities, namely: Mogale City, Merafong, Randfontein and Westonaria, as indicated in the map below.
The West Rand Development Agency (WRDA) was appropriately established through a Council Resolution. The WRDA is a Municipal Owned Entity (MOE), and in terms of its most current Service Delivery Agreement (2008), it is established and controlled by the West Rand District Municipality (WRDM) as a sole shareholder acting on behalf of the four Local Municipalities within the West Rand district. The Local Municipalities have committed themselves to fully support of the WRDA during the 2015/16 financial year, and a Shareholder’s Agreement to regulate this relationship will be concluded within 2015/16. The WRDA is regulated by inter alia the Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) and the Municipal Finance Management Act (Act 56 of 2003).
The WRDA was created as a focused response to the challenges faced by West Rand region municipalities in fulfilling their developmental local government role; and to be the economic development agency for the West Rand region. It was established for ‘the express and sole purpose of assisting the Municipality to achieve global standards of economic growth and development for all within the area of jurisdiction of the WRDM’. To this end, the WRDA undertakes to act at all times in accordance with the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) adopted by the West Rand Municipalities.
Note:The primary operational difference between the Agency and municipalities lies in the fact that the Agency is conceptualised as the manager and implementer of projects, without a direct role in policy formulation, which is the primary role of municipalities. On the other hand, municipalities would have a lesser role in project implementation and management, and be more involved in the setting of policy and issues related to community involvement and participation and localised development interventions.
Acknowledged as an important agency by the Executive Mayor of the WRDM, the WRDA Service Delivery Agreement further outlines the primary mandate of the WRDA as follows:
- To monitor and implement key strategic economic development projects in WRDM's area of jurisdiction;
- To act as the economic development agent for the West Rand area and to stimulate, facilitate, implement and support economic development and job creation projects and initiatives that will contribute to regional socio-economic development;
- To develop the unique opportunities in the West Rand that will ensure economic sustainability and competitiveness; and
- To focus on the visible implementation of economic projects that will significantly impact the regional economy and foster socio-economic and spatial development in the region.
It is within this context that the 2013/14 – 2017/18 Strategic Plan of the WRDA summarises the entities purpose and strategic intent as follows:
WRDA STATEMENT OF INTENT:
“To act as the economic development agency for the West Rand region, with a proactive focus to stimulate, facilitate, implement and support economic development and job creation projects and initiatives that will contribute to visible regional socio-economic and spatial development.
Its task is to develop the unique opportunities inherent in the West Rand that will enhance the economic sustainability and competitive advantage of the region.”