26 November 2018
Lusaka learns from George
Trevor Botha, Municipal Manager recently welcomed a delegation of City Council officials from Lusaka, Zambia to George. The three high ranking delegates who were here on a fact-finding mission to review the GO GEORGE bus system as well as traffic management in George and a look at the timber economy in Knysna, included the Town Clerk for the Lusaka City Council, Mr Alex Mwanse who noted the extensive challenges the city has faced since the transition from a socialist model to one of a liberal economy.
“Our current public transport system in Lusaka has led to multiple bus and minibus operators with no proper planning in terms of routes. We want to develop a safe, reliable and affordable public transport system. It must be predictable and have a modernised ticketing system. This trip has given us much food for thought and practical exposure to a workable public transport system.”
The delegates were given a detailed background into the establishment of the George Integrated Public Transport System(GIPTN) including challenges and successes of the project to date. “ With George being a smaller non metropolitan municipality it is important to note that the government funding available to GIPTN has at times been limited in comparison to the other metro’s in South Africa, but we have turned every penny carefully and thoughtfully to ensure we offer the best possible standards of public transport we can to our passengers”, said James Robb, GIPTN Manager.
Business Sweden are working towards assisting Zambia to rehabilitate and develop their transportation network. The countries railway network requires extensive rehabilitation and the plan is to decrease congestion in Lusaka City, with its over 2 million inhabitants, by increasing passenger movement via affordable and reliable public transportation including bus and rail systems. The GIPTN system is currently the second top performing bus system in South Africa and was identified by Business Sweden as an affordable emerging city model that can be replicated. The engagement with the Garden Route and Lusaka forms part of the Letter of Intent signed at the Investment Conference earlier this year between the District and Business Sweden, and will potentially culminate in further future collaboration between Sweden, Zambia and the Garden Route.
Pedro Oliphant, Economic Development Manager for George facilitated the meetings with the delegates together with Paul Hoffman of South Cape Economic Partnership and welcomed further visits of this nature. “ We want to continue working on building the profile of George to showcase the investment potential available. Trade delegation visits such as this one, broaden the horizons of George with local skill and knowledge exchanged for potential commercial access to another African market. We are a City with unlimited potential, with thriving business, insurance and financial hubs, world-class infrastructure, and a wide skills base – we are open for business. We believe that by driving George as an economically viable investment destination, we can help tackle the pressing issues of poverty and unemployment,” he said.
In the photograph from left, Lee-Anne Meiring, GIPTN PTOO; Trevor Botha, Municipal Manager; Bright Banda, HOD Engineering Services Lusaka City Council; Alex Mwanse, Town Clerk Lusaka City Council; James Robb, GIPTN Manager; Richard Kangwa, Ministry of Local Government, Zambia; Paul Hoffman, South Cape Economic Partnership; Chantel Edwards-Klose, Communications Manager and Pedro Oliphant, Economic Development Manager.Last published 26 November 2018