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Ald Leon Van Wyk – 100 DAYS IN OFFICE


While a “First 100 Days” programme is a reflection of intentions and achievements in the period of coming into office after elections, the success of the Action Plan is determined by the synchronisation of the leadership, management and teamwork of the Administration with the political manifesto for the future vision of the municipality.

The George achievements to date represent the continuous improvements flowing from the Turnaround that commenced on 22 May 2020 with the election of a new Mayor. The initial impetus to effect changes gained impetus with the introduction of Dr Michele Gratz as acting municipal manager on 1 January 2021 (month 1 of phase 2) and new directors who have significantly contributed to the mindset shift and the resultant strategic and systemic changes within the organisation that requires the ongoing development of cultural and work ethic changes over a longer period of time.

The ”First 100 Days” broadly represent the snapshots over months 12 to 14 since the Turnaround commenced under new management.

Much emphasis was placed in the first 11 months in undertaking capital expenditure on time; improving service delivery through continuous improvements; removing incompetent officials and employing skilled officials in key positions; applying for and accessing grants including the ground-breaking BFI (Budget Facility for Infrastructure) facility.

The highlighted milestones are grouped in Categories to differentiate from ongoing daily service delivery functions. The credit and gratitude for these achievements are attributed to the Acting Municipal Manager, Directors and staff in the various Directorates who have worked tirelessly to ensure completion of the projects aided by the diligence, enthusiasm and inputs of the Mayco team and councillors.

Operations (inclusive of Strategic, Financial Sustainability and Internal):

  1. Council constituted on 22/11 and Mayco appointed on 26/11;
  2. Dealt with (22 Nov 2021) flood damage and major repairs to infrastructure;
  3. Application of R270m has been submitted for Disaster Funding after flood of 22/11 was declared a disaster;
  4. BFI (Budget Facility for Infrastructure) projects of almost R1,2bn were approved and 1st tranche was gazetted in November;
  5. Obtained clean audit for year ended 30 June 2021;
  6. In process of reviewing Municipal Spatial Development Forum;
  7. Adjustment budget approved to cater inter alia for changes flowing from the BFI project and flood damage;
  8. Held a strategic session with Mayco and Administration where focus was placed on discussing critical changes and how they would benefit the municipality, communities and future prospects for George; followed by a strategic foresight session with Prof Morne Mostert;
  9. Vandalism remains a huge problem and we are looking at technology (with suppliers providing presentations) to address this;
  10. Discussing plans to extend CCTV camera system and to appoint additional Law Enforcement officers;
  11. Reviewing need to improve Revenue generation, enhancement, collection, use of technology and data analytics to better fund expenditure needs;
  12. In process of reviewing macrostructure to ensure a more efficient and “leaner” structure;
  13. Approved Disaster Management Plan;
  14. Post of Municipal Manager has been advertised;
  15. Immovable Property Policy has been reviewed;
  16. Adopt a Spot Policy has been submitted to Council and been workshopped;
  17. Informal Traders policy is being reviewed;
  18. Working on a new economic growth and development strategy;
  19. In negotiation with Western Cape Government  to take over “York Hostel” building to create more office space in CBD with Council scheduled to approve by March and property transfer earmarked for end June;
  20. Service charter booklets are being printed to inform each resident about what services they can expect from municipality and timelines for attending to complaints  (Western Cape Government have printed 30 000 now followed by further 30 000 after April);
  21. Delegations are in the process of being reviewed;
  22. George is booming and we are experiencing an influx of semi-gration residents from elsewhere in search of a better quality of life;
  23. Ongoing communication with stakeholders including fortnightly Mayor’s newsletter in George Herald;
  24. By-laws and applicable fines are being reviewed;
  25. Street naming policy being reviewed;
  26. For the first time in years all the Directors and MM were assessed mid-year;
  27. Neighbourhood Development Programme Grant application for Thembalethu has been approved and planning is underway.

Infrastructure focus:

  1. 20Ml WTW tender awarded. Civil works alone valued at R 263m. Also awarded tenders for upgrading of sewerage pump stations. In the process of upgrading the Old WTW;
  2. 4 stormwater projects completed: Conville, Parkdene, Thembalethu, Borcherds/Lawaaikamp with the next 4 due to commence on 01/03 as part of significant expenditure in under-developed areas;
  3. Construction of Outeniqua 10Ml WWTW is proceeding well that will significant upgrade waste-water treatment capacity for both public and private sector housing;
  4. Street upgrade of Market St to the value of R 30m which is major route for many Go George buses continues to proceed well;
  5. Request for Proposals was advertised for renewable energy from independent private producers which closed on 24 Jan 2022;
  6. 300kW solar panel PV plant already operational at the main municipal building and have now appointed consultants to commence with further project which will be a large solar panel plant which can produce 10MW. We are also looking at hydroelectric power. Have received a grant from Municipal Energy Resilience Fund and study is underway to plot a “roadmap” for renewable energy projects;
  7. Retrofitting of traffic lights and streetlights has commenced to convert to more efficient LED;
  8. Delivery of 10MV Protea Transformer has taken place with commissioning soon;
  9. Intensive maintenance programme for electrical infrastructure has commenced to improve reliability of the electricity network;
  10. High mast lighting in Thembalethu which has not been operational for many years has been fixed;
  11. Preparations done to enable Request for Proposals for electrification of informal settlements to be advertised in early March;
  12. Tender for 400kW PV plant for Outeniqua WWTW will be advertised in early March;
  13. Provision for generators at major sewerage pump stations to deal with load shedding included in Adjustment Budget;
  14. Approved provisions for formal electrification of Thembalethu Area 8C as part of UISP.

Impact on Economy and Jobs:

  1. Conscious season preparedness programme resulted in a very successful holiday season with businesses reporting excellent turnover and vast improvement on previous year. 1 Blue Flag beach and 2 pilot Blue Flags. Strict control at beaches with confiscating of alcohol. Tried to assist businesses with permitting applications for pavement trading, free vehicle 10-point safety checks and pointsmen to regulate traffic;
  2. Hosting of successful social sporting and lifestyle-oriented George Tens festival over 3-5 December;
  3. Approval of Film Policy to introduce framework for filming at locations across George;
  4. Approval of land sale for construction of World Class Tennis Facility;
  5. Held 1st competition standard swimming gala in 10 years at Conville swimming pool; have secured further gala events including a 5-day provincial event in March which will attract many visitors to the town;
  6. Old Car Show was once again a huge success and attracted over 11000 visitors and exhibitors, broadcast internationally on YouTube;
  7. Planning underway for hosting major school sports events for 6000 participants including Barefoot Champs, over end-March, early-April;
  8. An Events Policy has been drafted;
  9. Economic Recovery Plan strategy has been completed;
  10. Memorandum of Uunderstandings or Service Level Agreements: Garden Route Film Commission, George Business Chamber (focus on communication, mentorship and skills development, red tape reduction, unlocking opportunities for collaborative growth) and ongoing relationship engagements with Wesgro and WC Economic Development Partnership;
  11. Grant funding received for development of an enterprise development node in Pacaltsdorp;
  12. Grant funding received for automation of various processes to ensure ease of business. Once these are fully implemented, they will be replicated to other municipalities;
  13. Sweating Council assets/ properties for development and economic growth: Council approved Safari Braai land alienation to allow them to double their footprint, establishment of the only clay court tennis courts in SA;
  14. Increased capacity in Land Use Planning three-fold to accommodate developments and growth of city;
  15. Building Control outputs within legislated times frames 97%.

Improving life for citizens:

  1. Have installed 1st Uninterrupted Power Supply for traffic light at Mall and in next few months, 40 traffic lights will have uninterrupted power supply to alleviate traffic congestion during load-shedding;
  2. Construction for additional facility for motor vehicle registrations in Blanco has commenced and should be finished by end of June 2022, in addition to earlier establishment of bulk, motor dealer registration facility;
  3. Ward committees for the 2021-26 term have been established;
  4. George continues to run 123 soup kitchens and has just increased the allocation by R1m at the Adjustment Budget to improve the service to those in need; also facilitated collaboration of food/relief donors to make supplies available to regional food pantry based in George;
  5. Tender for the construction of the Compost facility has been awarded and construction will commence within the next month which will deal with all green waste;
  6. Electrification of some informal structures within limited budget availability;
  7. 124 houses handed over to beneficiaries in Thembalethu, Blanco and Pacaltsdorp during this period;
  8. Drafting the Human Settlements Sector Plan;
  9. Received funding to do a feasibility study for the development of Social Housing;
  10. Continued electrification of housing projects in Erf 325 (Eden Park) and Golden Valley;
  11. Installation of solar lights at Wilderness beach to improve public safety; and
  12. Festive lights upgraded by internal staff.

Inauguration date: 22 November 2021 to 1 March 2022 (= 100 Days)
Leon van Wyk, Executive Mayor, 1 March 2022