Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer


The George Municipality in partnership with National Treasury initiated the Thembalethu Node 1 Development Project to create a vibrant sustainable community node in Thembalethu, which can attract new investment into the area and stimulate downstream economic activity.

The ward councillor of Thembalethu and Ward Committee for Ward 13 branded the precinct as “Ilisolethu”, meaning “Our eye” and supported a possible brand logo for the area.  The nodal area lies along Nelson Mandela Boulevard and includes the area referred to as the Thembalethu Central Business District (CBD).  Several workshops with councillors, the ward committee, municipal departments, and key stakeholders were held to identify potential projects and receive feedback.

“The node will be an asset of which the entire community can be proud,” says the Executive Mayor of George, Alderman Leon van Wyk. “This will transform the neighbourhood and be a catalyst for future growth.”

The planning for “Ilisolethu” has reached a stage where detailed plans for project implementation are being prepared. These include:

  • An investment plan which includes a selection of possible project- and investment partners;
  • A development plan which will place the identified projects on-site in an integrated manner and includes an analysis of the required engineering and road infrastructure to support a pedestrian-friendly Nelson Mandela Boulevard and an integrated node; and
  • An area management strategy which will set the scene to mobilize the positive participation of all the role-players and ensure that the node will be managed sustainably.

Mayor van Wyk says the George Municipality has secured funding from the National Treasury through the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Programme to initiate the technical investigation stage of the project. The objective is to facilitate inclusionary economic opportunities, create high-quality public spaces and link funders to catalytic projects which will benefit the lives of the residents of Thembalethu.

A service provider was appointed in September 2022 following a tender process. Since then, consultation, surveys and technical work have been conducted, which will result in plans and strategies for “Ilisolethu” to be presented to Council.

“We are greatly encouraged by the positive feedback we have received from community structures, and for the leadership of the Ward Councillor Simphiwe Toto and his Ward Committee,” says Ms Lauren Waring, Director for Human Settlements, Planning and Development in the George Municipality. “There is significant interest in the project and the feedback and further engagements will help us to refine the proposals for ‘Ilisolethu’.”

The first draft plans will be finalized by the end of March 2023, upon which further input will be invited.  This will take us closer to confirmation of the processes we must follow toward project implementation. The draft proposals, timeframes and cost will be presented to Council once the project elements have been defined. This project will enable the George Council to forge partnerships with state and private benefactors and activate an area management structure that will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the project plan.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative which will be a valuable community asset and benefit to the entire region,” says Ms Waring.

Iliso Lethu Before

Iliso Lethu After