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Mayor’s newsletter for George Herald of 6 October 2022

On behalf of our Mayoral Committee (Mayco) and Councillor team, I want to recognise, praise and thank all our hard-working municipal employees for their determination, dedication and commitment to the tasks that they undertake daily and often over weekends as well. We would not have come so far over the past 21 months without the team effort of the directors and their supporting staff who are so ably led by Dr Michele Gratz as municipal manager.

Our objective has been to tackle the refurbishment and expansion of infrastructure while improving the standards of service delivery. This has been a focused effort with huge pressures on individuals to constantly drive the changes that are needed to implement state-of-the-art practices. To achieve this, you need new ideas and a work ethic that is diligence and performance-driven. New and existing employees have seized opportunities to introduce data-driven methodology and productivity. As councillors, we applaud and thank the team for the ongoing work efforts week by week that are being undertaken. We, therefore, take note and appreciate that throughout the organisation from the maintenance, technical, cleaning and refuse teams through to the administrative, professional and management teams that there is pride in the work being done.

The reference to infrastructure links to a recent SA Property Owners Association (SAPOA) conference held in Cape Town. During a panel discussion, it was stated that local government competence, maintenance of infrastructure and corruption were the three biggest challenges facing infrastructure in South Africa. Their survey covering the 15 largest metropolitan and intermediate cities (George comes in at no.19) revealed that the state of municipal infrastructure including roads had worsened over the past 5 years for all the cities except for Cape Town. Property developers viewed future projects and investments in the Western Cape positively whereas they foresee significant declines in investment in the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Free State followed by the other Provinces due to the failure to adequately provide for the maintenance and bulk infrastructure timeously.

This survey reinforces the efforts that we are undertaking in George to position ourselves as attractive for investment and employment.

We applaud a recent Business Chamber event where the formation of a group of companies was announced that results from the collaboration between investors and operators of training academies.

I have been approached by a young businessman who is keen to collaborate with contemporaries in the under-40 age group. Secondly, it has been suggested that we should inspire our restaurateurs to “up their game” in terms of meal and service offerings to coincide with the forthcoming holiday season. We plan to shortly engage on both these projects. As always comments and suggestions are welcome at: