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Mayor’s newsletter for the George Herald of 7 December 2023

As we enter our busy holiday period, readers will probably have noticed the preparations being made to ensure that our visitors have a pleasant stay. From the beginning of December, there is a daily season preparedness meeting to ensure that all our services function optimally. Once again, we are enduring loadshedding and doing our best to operate within these constraints. This year beachgoers will notice that we have partnered with the NSRI who will be managing the teams of lifesavers on duty at our beaches.

Over the past couple of weeks, George has been called upon to assist Knysna Municipality where difficulties have been experienced by the municipality in transporting refuse to the regional landfill site and in providing water to households where there have been supply interruptions. This has meant that we have sent in some of our refuse compactors and water tankers to assist a neighbouring municipality.

George takes enormous pride in ensuring that our core services function effectively and that when repairs are necessary, they are undertaken in the fastest possible time with the proviso that the applicable faulty parts can be sourced rapidly.

Readers may be interested to note that the Western Cape Government has recently released the MERO report for 2023-24 for the province which is the Municipal Economic Review and Outlook.
This report follows the Census 2022 report which has revealed that the Western Cape’s population has grown to 7,4 million with the City of Cape Town at 4,8 million people. The substantial increase in population has raised the demand for basic services, housing, education, and health services. George as well as the Province will be addressing these challenges in the coming months. While unemployment has decreased, it is evident that the informal sector is largely responsible for job growth.

In terms of the Gross Domestic Product per Region (“GDPR”), the Cape Metro, George and Drakenstein are the biggest contributors to growth with George growing at an estimated 3,3% in 2022. The GDPR for the Garden Route for 2021 is R57,3 billion with George at R22,8 billion or 40% of the region and 3% of the Province. The 2022 population of George at 294929 is 35,2% of the region’s 838457 persons. As of 2021, there is an indication of 73193 persons being in employment with an estimated job gain of 4650 for 2022.

It is interesting to note that in respect of the regional tourism performance bed-nights occupied in 2022 had recovered to 72,9% (13,32m) for the Cape Metro when compared to pre-Covid-19 in 2019, whereas in the Garden Route, the recovery was at 74,7% (6,8m).

Readers interested in obtaining the full report are welcome to email

Ald Leon van Wyk
Executive Mayor of George