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Mayor’s newsletter for George Herald on 7 July 2022

The Council meeting held on 30 June 2022 brought to a conclusion a half-year during which Council approved a vast number of Policies and Strategies. That meeting involved 52 items covering almost 2500 pages.

At the outset I would like to congratulate and thank the management team led by Dr Gratz, each of the Directors, senior staff members and the rest of the team who researched and prepared each of these documents. As citizens we owe an enormous gratitude to this team for their dedication and determination to turn George around and to ensure that policies, by-laws and strategies have been updated to a benchmark standard.

A new set of staffing regulations for municipal employees has been introduced in legislation to take effect from 1 July. This meant a multitude of staffing policies had to be prepared and approved. We approved the land use items for three new water reservoirs to be constructed in Pacaltsdorp and Thembalethu. At Electro-tech, the renewable energy strategy, electricity master plan for the 66KV network and an approach for the electrification of informal areas was approved.

At Panning and Housing, a review report for the zoning scheme received attention, along with the policy on telecommunication infrastructure, problem premises, outdoor advertising, street naming, priority housing development areas, sustainable human settlements, emergency accommodation and the unlawful land occupation bylaw. Other items included the regional waste management facility, information technology, the appointment of a water leaks team, revised rules of order and delegation of powers.

Our management team has worked long hours at night and over weekends to complete these reports. Over the past few months as batches of these policies are completed, they have been dealt with by Council to ensure that progress takes place.

The Council meeting had to be managed for completion within the painful constraints of loadshedding. Residents will no doubt have noticed that many of our traffic lights are operating during loadshedding following a program to implement uninterrupted power supply systems at 40 intersections.

Over the past few weeks we have engaged at senior management level with a major optic fibre provider in an effort to improve communication regarding the timing of technical upgrades to that network. We have also met with significant property developers to identify their expectations. In early June, during a First Thursday engagement we suggested that a property development forum chapter be established in George. We are very proud that these stakeholders effected its establishment before the end of June.

Lastly, the South African Local Government Association has released a pilot perceptions surveys ranking the 19 intermediate cities. George is ranked as the best performing well ahead of Stellenbosch and Drakenstein, the next placed cities.